Next week’s National Surveying, Mapping and Geospatial Conference has landed a keynote speaker who is arguably in the hottest of hot seats at this time in the profession’s history.

2015 National Surveying, Mapping and Geospatial ConferenceOrganizers with MAPPS and NSPS announced that Jim Williams, manager for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) office of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will address the conference at lunch on Tuesday, April 14 at the Hilton Hotel in Crystal City, Va. He will speak about the recently-published notice of proposed rulemaking issued by his office, including regulations and policies that will affect surveying and mapping firms that want to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the commercial market.

“MAPPS has worked with Mr. Williams and his staff for several years to assure that business and societal benefits of using UAV/UAS for aerial surveying, mapping and imagery are recognized and empowered in FAA policy,” said John Palatiello, MAPPS executive director. “UAV/UAS technology is the future of the mapping, surveying and geospatial profession. It is imperative that geospatial firms have the ability to operate UAV/UAS,” added Palatiello. “Mr. Williams understands this, and his office’s policies have reflected his understanding of our community as an important stakeholder.”

Organizers with the Collaboration: The Map to the Future conference are “honored to have Mr. Williams join us,” said Curtis Sumner, NSPS executive director. “We look forward to hearing how he sees the future of UAV/UAS, and how it will affect the business and professional practice of surveying and mapping. His addition to the conference strengthens an already outstanding program.”

Full registration for the conference is required for admission to the keynote luncheon. For more information on the conference, to be held April 13-16, visit the event’s official website.



The Management Association for Private Photogrammetic Surveyors based in Reston, Va., MAPPS is the only national association of firms in the surveying, spatial data and geographic information systems fields. MAPPS member firms are engaged in surveying, photogrammetry, satellite and airborne remote sensing, aerial photography, hydrography, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. Associate members are engaged in the manufacturing and/or supplying of geospatial equipment, services, supplies, hardware or software to geospatial services firms, many of which are MAPPS member firms.


About NSPS

With more than 15,000 individual members primarily within the United States, the National Society of Professional Surveyors is the voice of the professional surveying community. Through its joint membership program with the respective state surveying societies, NSPS has a strong constituency base for communicating with lawmakers, agencies and regulators at both the national and state levels. NSPS also collaborates with a multitude of other organizations within the geospatial community to address issues of mutual importance. As the lead society for the evaluation of college-level programs seeking accreditation through ABET, NSPS is instrumental in assuring that prospective professional surveyors receive an education that is relevant to the role they will play in society. NSPS is the U.S. representative to the international organization for surveyors — FIG — placing representatives on the respective practice-area commissions. NSPS has a Certified Survey Technician (CST) program and a hydrographic surveying certification program, and offers competitions for both high school and college-level students.