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Spatially Speaking
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Federal Issue: Highway Bill Reauthorization
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Highway Bill Reauthorization

In order to fully utilize and deploy the many services, technologies, data, and applications available from the geospatial community, Congress should update the MAP-21 Act in its 2014 reauthorization.  Provisions should include a strengthening of the current law requirement for utilization of the private sector (23 U.S. Code § 306), as well as update the definition of "surveying and mapping” (23 U.S.C. §112 (b)(2)(A) to enable the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) and state departments of transportation (DoTs) to maximize the ability to contract with qualified and experienced firms in the private sector to develop, deploy and apply the latest geospatial data and technology, such as mobile mapping, asset inventories, and LIDAR to the highway program.  Additionally, recent railroad incidents demonstrate the need for Positive Train Control (PTC) systems, which utilize highly accurate geospatial data, such as GPS data, LiDAR data, high resolution digital imagery, survey data, and mobile mapping to delineate the location of rails, clearances and a detailed asset inventory, to assure safety, train separation or collision avoidance, speed enforcement, and for asset management. Finally, there is a critical need in the United States for current, accurate location data on pipelines, surface and underground infrastructure, utilities and railroads. The location of these assets, portrayed on surveys and maps, are essential to public health, welfare, and safety, as well as to protect property rights. The American Public Works Association estimates that an underground utility line is hit somewhere in the United States every 60 seconds. Congress should strengthen Federal law on accurate location (surveying and mapping) of such pipelines, railroads, and other forms of utility infrastructure. Legislation should be included in the MAP-21 reauthorization requiring accurate location of pipelines, railroads being abandoned, and other forms of surface and underground infrastructure.


"Need for a Coordinated Geospatial Program"

MAPPS Highway Bill Issue Paper (2009)

USDOT Releases Memo on Survey of State DOT Geospatial Assets and Activities (March 2015)