Pennsylvania soon may be staring at a whole new world after the state house recently passed a bill that would create a geospatial coordinating council.

Sponsored by Pennsylvania state Rep. Bryan Cutler, the bill calls for uniform data standards and efficient geospatial policy in the state. The bill—called House Bill 1285—still must pass the state Senate.

“The net effect of this legislation is a safer Pennsylvania,” Cutler said in a statement on his website. “This legislation is vital to Pennsylvania’s emergency responders who rely on accurate mapping data to locate accident victims, hazardous sites and disaster locations. If emergency service providers have incorrect maps, it could add costly minutes to their crisis response times and could lead to the loss of life or the escalation of a catastrophe.” 

Pennsylvania is one of four states without a geospatial council, according to Mike Straub, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus.

An initiative to create a geospatial council in Pennsylvania has been ongoing since 2007, according to the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS).

This is the second time a bill calling for the creation of a geospatial council has passed the Pennsylvania House, but bill supporters are more optimistic this time because the bill passed unanimously.

The bill also has the support of MAPPS’ Pennsylvania chapter, PA-MAPPS, and several other organizations.

Straub said in an email that the Pennsylvania Senate is expected to consider the bill later this fall after the state legislature returns Nov. 12.