The annual MAPPS Federal Programs Conference will be held, Apr. 1-2, in Washington, D.C. with presentations by federal agencies, the Obama Administration, and members of Congress. The conference will also include visits to the U.S. House and Senate by MAPPS members. 

MAPPS member firm principals will hear presentations by federal agency officials on programs, budgets, and requirements for the acquisition of geospatial services, data and products by contract from the private sector that are on the horizon. The association will also host a series of liaison meetings with key agencies. These small group discussions between agencies and the private sector focus on issues affecting the relationship between the government and private geospatial firms.

The keynote address will be presented by Randy Willis, Manager, Air Traffic Strategic Operations, in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Mr. Willis will discuss the current plan for the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace, the opportunities available to private sector firms for system and safety procedure testing through the six recently announced national test sites, and how private geospatial businesses can become authorized to engage in commercial UAS operation. 

MAPPS members will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 2, visiting some 200 Congressmen and Senators. 

The geospatial firm principals will be advocating for the enactment of a bill to provide a cadastre-based inventory of federal land, legislation to provide program authorization for a current NOAA project providing digital coastal and ocean geospatial information to decision makers for balancing environmental protection and economic development, legislation limiting on government agency and university competition with private enterprise and legislative recommendations on how to better utilize geospatial technologies to enhance America's highways and intermodal transportation systems.

Among the members of Congress who will speak to MAPPS members during the two-day conference will be Senator David Vitter of Louisiana,  Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan and Rep. Todd Young of Indiana. 

"Since 1991, MAPPS is the only organization in the geospatial community that hosts a conference of this kind," said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. "Our members gain valuable insights into business opportunities with federal agencies and advocate for the geospatial profession in Congress. MAPPS members have a significant and positive impact on public policy by educating elected officials on geospatial applications and the professional services available from the private sector."

 Among the agencies participating in the conference are the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Departments of Interior, Energy, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, as well as USGS, US Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, Forest Service, BLM and the Census Bureau.