The winter meeting of MAPPS had many of the trappings members have come to expect, but the event agenda was adjusted to provide an opportunity to describe some significant changes in the structure of the organization and what they will mean going forward. Brian Raber, MAPPS president, explained the new structure, which separates the association and event management, legislative affairs, and accounting/legal functions. Stringfellow Management Group has taken a role of association and event management. Prime Policy Group will provide support for legislative efforts, and the board will continue to oversee the association functions until it moves forward on selecting a new executive director.

As the country waited for President Donald Trump to present his first State of the Union address, MAPPS was discussing its political agenda as it held a meeting for its political action committee to discuss its new direction. For the 30-plus members present, the new emphasis on a more bi-partisan and tighter focus on key issues clearly resonated. When the discussion shifted from strategy to support, members present committed to just under 20 percent of the political action committee funding goal in less than 30 minutes.

In his opening remarks on Monday morning, Raber had pointed out that not only do members see value in the organization – the only association representing private-sector geospatial firms – but government stakeholders also see value in MAPPS. With the dramatic growth occurring in the geospatial market right now, Congress and governmental agencies need to develop a better understanding of the role of geospatial professionals play in many facets of the economy and public welfare. As one member described it, the message is about geospatial data for the public good.

Raber described MAPPS as being spread too thin on the legislative front and promised a more bi-partisan approach which would prioritize efforts on the best interests of members. Expanding on that, he emphasized MAPPS efforts would support interests of small companies, not just big companies.

Throughout the discussion, Raber and other board members reiterated there is still a lot of work to be done, but the foundation has been laid for MAPPS to embark on a new strategic direction which will deliver value to a variety of stakeholders.