Few situations are more frustrating in the business world than the feeling that you’re facing a monumental challenge alone.

Join forces with other businesses confronting the same challenges, however, and the issues quickly become more manageable. New perspectives can shed light on problems from a different angle that hadn’t been considered previously. Better connections can provide an easier path to the endpoint, and complementary skill sets can improve strategy and agility. There is strength in numbers, and firms that tap into this strength are better prepared to succeed in today’s dynamic markets.

This truth was recently evidenced at the MAPPS Winter Conference in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., where more than 150 representatives of private geospatial firms met to collaborate on a wide range of issues, from health care reform and human resources to technology and market trends.

During a roundtable session, firm owners, principals and partners discussed topics of mutual concern. For example, firms hoping to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) commercially in a few years are being impeded by misdirected privacy legislation. Participants emphasized the need to work together to get government agencies and the public to understand the difference between real-time surveillance, privacy and government activities on the one side, and mapping, archiving, public information and education on the other.

Another roundtable examined the authorizations that will come before Congress this year to identify potential opportunities for provisions that could lead to new business for the surveying and mapping community, such as the need for accurate mapping to support the Pipeline Safety Act. In yet another discussion, participants highlighted reforms to existing programs that could save government agencies money, thus freeing up funds to pursue other economically beneficial activities that involve surveying and mapping.

According to John Palatiello, executive director of MAPPS and president of the public affairs consulting firm John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. (JMP&A), these and other issues will be pushed forward at the MAPPS Federal Programs Conference, which is being held March 12-13 in Washington, D.C. In a move that is expected to further strengthen the advocacy of the surveying and mapping profession, the NSPS announced in mid-February that it has retained JMP&A to manage the organization’s government affairs in Washington.*

Achieving results takes time. Consider the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (or MAP-21) Act, which was signed into law in 2012 after years of lobbying efforts by MAPPS and resulted in recommendations of the association’s FEMA task force being included in the enacted legislation. Although the wheels of progress turn slowly, the momentum created by working with others toward a common goal is far greater than what any one firm can achieve alone.


* For more information about the MAPPS Federal Programs Conference and other MAPPS initiatives, visit www.mapps.org.