Washington D.C. - The annual MAPPS Federal Programs Conference opens today in Washington D.C., featuring presentations by Federal agencies, the Obama Administration, members of Congress and visits to the U.S. House and Senate by MAPPS members.

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

The keynote address will be presented by Anne Castle, assistant secretary of the interior for Water and Science, and chair of the Federal Geographic Data Committee. Castle oversees water and science policy for the department and has responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. As FGDC chair, she coordinates Federal agencies' geospatial activities. She has been a champion of the National Land Imaging Program, the nation's longest sequential moderate-resolution satellite imaging program provided by the Landsat series of satellites, now hosted by USGS.

More than 100 MAPPS members will be on Capitol Hill on March 28, visiting some 250 Congressmen, Senators and their staffs. The geospatial firm principals will be advocating limits on government agency and prison industry competition with their private enterprise establishments, enactment of a bill to provide a cadastre-based inventory of federally owned land and buildings, and legislation to coordinate and bring greater efficiency to Federal geospatial activities.

Among the members of Congress who will speak to MAPPS members during the two day conference will be Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Rep. Nan Hayworth, M.D. (R-NY).

"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. This is an extraordinarily productive and valuable annual conference. Since starting the Federal Programs Conference in 1991, MAPPS members have had a considerable impact with theses meetings."