Geospatial, surveying and engineering professionals in the United States increasingly view international work as the next frontier for market development for their firms. Many principals, owners, marketers and business development professionals confront a myriad of questions on “going global.”  These include, how does a firm break into the market? What resources are available to aid those firms willing to take the leap? Who are the potential clients and what kind of projects do they have? How are international project competitions and procurements conducted?

Answers to these questions, along with information on potential partnering opportunities, will be presented at the Geospatial & Engineering International Conference on Nov. 13-14 at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria, Va.

MAPPS, the national association for private sector geospatial firms, is hosting the conference, which will highlight aspects of developing business opportunities outside the United States, such as how, why and where firms can plan an international strategy. 

One of the biggest resources and advocates for firms to export their products and services is the federal government. Agencies, including the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Commerce Department and International Trade Administration will discuss resources “Uncle Sam” makes available to U.S. firms. These agencies were charged by President Obama in his 2010 State of the Union address to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.


The conference will feature government agencies and nongovernmental organizations managing, funding and assisting firms in the global market. Sessions will enable attendees to understand how projects are funded, the engineering and geospatial products and services that are in demand, requirements to complete projects and how to know about upcoming business opportunities.

“The conference program is designed to provide business development and senior-level executives in geospatial, surveying and engineering firms the insight they need to understand the global market,” says Brian Raber, conference program committee chairperson from Merrick & Co. in Greenwood Village, Colo. “Whether your firm is exploring the idea of doing international work or already (has) been conducting business oversees, the sessions are designed to provide rich content, consulting resources and partnering opportunities for firms to work in a global environment. Having so many funding and assistance agencies presenting will give attendees first-hand knowledge of the numerous resources available within the United States.”


Conducting business outside of the U.S. includes understanding cultural differences and traditions. Terri Morrison, author of “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in More Than Sixty Countries,” will be the keynote luncheon speaker. Morrison will lead attendees through interactive cross-cultural experiences that could make or break international business deals.

Conference attendees will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with a variety of U.S. agencies, conference speakers, consultants and sponsors. This opportunity is designed to be an introduction to potential partners, clients and firms that provide services for those working in the international market.

“MAPPS is excited to host this unique and timely conference that melds together the geospatial, surveying and engineering disciplines,” says John Palatiello, executive director of MAPPS. “Our membership has indicated the international market is a robust and growing opportunity for business growth. One of the hurdles to entering and expanding in this emerging market is an understanding (of) where the work is and how to capture it. The goal of this conference is to educate the community on identifying those opportunities and knowing where the resources are to support global exporting.”

 MAPPS’ partners for the conference include the Association of American Geographers, American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Construction Industry Round Table, Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association, National Society of Professional Surveyors and Urban and Regional Information System Association.

Information on the program and registration can be found on the conference website,