The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) awarded Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island with the George E. Brown Jr. Congressional Honor Award in March.

ASPRS Executive Director James R. Plasker and Gary Florence, ASPRS past-president, met with Reed and presented him with the award. In addition to a plaque, the award consists of an opportunity for ASPRS to sponsor a geospatial sciences presentation to an elementary school, secondary school or university of the recipient’s choice.

Reed received the award for introducing S. 1938, a FEMA flood mapping reform bill. It included provisions such as acquiring current and accurate elevation data using LiDAR, mapping by watershed instead of political boundary and re-establishing the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC). Reed's reforms were included in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) bill enacted into law in 2012. 

The bill also included provisions led by Reed to require National Flood Insurance Program rate maps to use “the most accurate topography and elevation data available.”  This bill is unprecedented and is a model for geospatial coordination, as well as an innovative way of funding interagency and intergovernmental geospatial requirements, ASPRS said.

The elevation provisions effectively provide a specific congressional authorization for the 3D Elevation Program being launched by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The award was created in honor of the late Congressman George E. Brown Jr. and the contributions he made to advance the benefits of imagery and geospatial information to Society. The award is presented periodically to recognize members of the U.S. Congress whose leadership and efforts have advanced the science, engineering, application, education and commerce of imaging and geospatial information.