The U.S. Government should "partner with the commercial remote sensing industry to leverage the latest available technology for the purpose of ensuring the continuity of Landsat data," MAPPS has suggested to the Bush administration.

In a letter to Dr. John Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House, MAPPS recommended that the U.S. Government proceed immediately to:

  • Fulfill users' needs with existing commercial imagery sources, following guidelines consistent with the new Commercial Remote Sensing Policy; and
  • Proceed with an updated replacement for Landsat 7, managed by NOAA/NESDIS.

MAPPS, an association of private sector geospatial firms, ranging from commercial satellite remote sensing operators to airborne image acquisition firms, to value-added mapping and image processing companies, said "the commercial remote sensing community is anxious to partner with the U.S. Government towards ensuring the continuity of Landsat data and furthering U.S. leadership in the associated technologies. MAPPS asserts that there is a commercial partnership business model for medium resolution data, and strongly urges the Administration to emphasize a commercial/government partnership model for a Landsat follow-on."

The association went on to note, "recognizing NASA's past troubles with the Landsat program and consistent with the agency's recently reconstituted mission, we recommend that NASA relinquish its role as operator of the Landsat follow-on program to NOAA/NESDIS. Given its expanding operational role in Earth Observations and its past success with cooperation among other U.S. Government agencies and with industry, it is appropriate for NOAA/NESDIS to manage this program."

Source: MAPPS, May 26, 2004