Speaking on behalf of the 3DEP Coalition, comprised of representatives of over 35 organizations from the surveying, mapping and geospatial industry; emergency response; environmental industry; and more, John Palatiello, president of John M. Palatiello & Associates Inc., urged full funding of the national LiDAR and IFSAR program that would enable the entire United States to be mapped with consistent elevation data with a seven-year repeat cycle.

"Congress should appropriate funds for the 3DEP program at its optimal annual level of $147 million," John Palatiello said in a testimony before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Palatiello called on Congress to fund 3DEP at $147 million either entirely through USGS, or through coordinated funding among several Federal agencies. Initiated in 2014, 3DEP now includes coverage of over 50 percent of the United States. 

"[The] USGS has identified more than 600 applications that would benefit from such enhanced elevation data. 3DEP will promote economic growth, facilitate responsible environmental protection and resource development and management, assist with infrastructure improvement, and generally enhance the quality of life of all Americans," Palatiello said. 

He noted that, "Among the applications that benefit from 3DEP data are flood risk management; infrastructure; landslides and other hazards; water resources; aviation safety; telecom; homeland security; emergency response; precision agriculture; energy; pipeline safety; climate and other areas." 

He said the updated topographic data will be essential to the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of any infrastructure assets that result from legislation that may pass Congress this year. He commended USGS for the development of a sound 3DEP strategy that includes an executive committee to coordinate multiple agency participants, a priority setting process that takes into account all partners' requirements, and developing a common denominator standard for data collection that most efficiently and economically serves the greatest number of users.

The USGS manages Geospatial Products and Services Contracts (GPSC) for private sector firms to perform a variety of surveying, mapping, and geospatial data acquisition and processing services. The GPSC is a suite of multiple-award, indefinite delivery/task order contracts, competitively awarded through the Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process under the "Brooks Act" (40 USC 1101 et. seq. and part 36.6 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), 48 CFR 36.6).

John Palatiello is president of John M. Palatiello & Associates Inc., an association management, government affairs, and consulting firm in the geospatial community. The firm previously managed MAPPS, the association of geospatial firms, for more than 30 years. Its current clients include the National Society of Professional Surveyors, Subsurface Utility Engineering Association, Maryland Society of Surveyors, Virginia Association of Surveyors, the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural & Engineering Services (COFPAES), and US GEO, a consortium of leading geospatial firms.

For more information, visit www.jmpa.us.