Reston, Va.-The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) today praised U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA) for introducing the "Imagery, Mapping and Geospatial Enhancement (IMAGE) Act" before Congress recessed on September 29, 2006.

The IMAGE Act (S. 4006) designates the Office of Space Commercialization (OSC), an agency within the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to actively promote and advocate Federal agency use and reliance on private firms for geospatial services, data and products. This designation has been deemed necessary for implementation of a 2004 NASA Inspector General report, the 2003 White House Commercial Remote Sensing Space Policy, and the 2002 CIA Memo by then-CIA Director George Tenet.

MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello expressed deep appreciation for Senator Allen's leader ship. "Senator Allen has consistently advocated on behalf of the private sector including the high-tech professions. MAPPS commends Senator Allen and looks forward to working with him to enact the IMAGE Act," Palatiello said.

The IMAGE Act was referred to the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. Senator Allen, a member of the committee, represents a state with a high concentration of geospatial firms, including a major cluster in Northern Virginia. U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, joined as an original cosponsor.

MAPPS emphasized that private geospatial firms in Virginia and across the nation stand to benefit from the bill. "The bill's enactment willlead to improved markets for geospatial firms at the Federal, state and local level. The OSC will become a watchdog and advocate for private geospatial firms," Palatiello commented. The IMAGE Act includes language "to encourage United States leadership in the development, application, and use of commercial space and airborne remote sensing and other geospatial information."

MAPPS is the oldest and largest association of private sector firms in the mapping, spatial data, and geographic information systems field in the United States. Formed in 1982, MAPPS has more than 160 private sector firms employing over 10,000 individuals in geospatial related positions. For more information about MAPPS, vis itwww.mapps.org.

Source: MAPPS, November 2, 2006.