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August Advocacy – Members of Congress Learn About Geospatial

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, August 23, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013
The dog days of summer, especially in August, can be slow times. Being around the DC area this is especially true as members of Congress  "escape the heat” and return to their State and Congressional districts during the month, commonly referred to as "August Recess”. 

MAPPS encouraged member firms to take this opportunity to invite their elected officials to their offices and educate politicians of the many benefits geospatial data, products and services provide to the district, state and nation.  Firms have heeded the call and had productive meetings during the month.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA, 9th District) visited the offices of Tuck Mapping Solutions, Inc. earlier this month in southern Virginia. Bobby Tuck, President of Tuck Mapping provided a tour of the companies’ facility and provided demonstrations of some of the services the company provides. During the visit Mr. Tuck explained how broad privacy policies can have a negative impact on the products and services geospatial professionals provide. This could include limitations for services ranging from E-911 and emergency response, environmental protection, master planning to trash collection among many other commercial and governmental applications. 

Bobby Tuck (center) explains the process creating and benefits of aerial photogrammetry
and geospatial products to Rep. Morgan Griffith (right) 

MAPPS has advocated that Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more narrowly define the term "precise geolocation data” or provide an exemption to privacy legislation that would not impact the geospatial profession.

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) visited Woolpert’s office to meet with different organizations and business leaders. Former Congressman Hobson also joined the gathering in support of the future of geospatial possibilities. With the topic of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at the forefront of discussions, Woolpert hoped to show different, more inventive ways of using UAS technology in the geospatial profession.
In a closed session for Woolpert employees, Senator Portman discussed several concerns that many employees shared, including sequestration. As well as explaining happenings on the federal level, he answered some tough questions from the audience.
Shane Imwalle escorted the senator around the office and showed him their extensive mapping and surveying work.

Sen. Rob Portman (center) with Woolpert employees Steve Phipps (left) and Shane Imwalle (right)

These are just a few of the interactions MAPPS members have had with their elected officials this August. Other members attended town hall meetings or participated in constituent outreach programs. 

Just because August is coming to an end, your firm has not missed its chance to engage with your elected officials. Members of Congress are regularly in their districts. Prepare an invitation today. If you need help, contact John "JB” Byrd, MAPPS Government Affairs Manager, who can assist in preparing invitation or creating a program for the visit.

As we say each year at the MAPPS Federal Program Conference, "advocacy is not an event, it’s a process.”

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