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  The American Surveyor     

MAPPS Asks Congress to Revise Legislation Limiting Use of "Geolocation Information" Print E-mail
Written by MAPPS   
Monday, 19 July 2010

Reston, VA, July 19, 2010 - MAPPS (www.mapps.org), the national association of private sector geospatial firms, has sent a letter opposing proposed legislative language that would limit the use of "precise geolocation information".

The association said a draft bill, proposed to be introduced by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, threatens data collection, applications and growth in the private geospatial profession.

The draft bill is intended to protect consumers' privacy by requiring "notice to and consent of an individual prior to the collection and disclosure of certain personal information relating to that individual." However, language included in the bill is a concern to the collection of geospatial data and geospatial lines of business through its provision limiting the collection of "precise geolocation information".

MAPPS believes the current bill language threatens information that is collected by private and government entities to perform E-911 and emergency response management, environmental protection, home security, mortgage foreclosure monitoring/early warning system and many other tasks that are conducted by geospatial professionals.

"The intent of the bill drafted by Rep. Boucher - to protect personal privacy - is laudable, but in its current form, the provisions would result in a number of unintended consequences by severely limiting information collected by the geospatial community for government agencies, to support government programs, and to provide for commercial applications that consumers are demanding in the marketplace," said Jeff Lovin, MAPPS President (Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH).

The current draft exempts government agencies from its limitations.  MAPPS urged Rep. Boucher to more clearly define the term "precise geolocation information", exempt data collected by private sector firms under contract to government or for sale to government agencies, and exempt private individuals who are already regulated and licensed to practice by State licensing boards, as well as exempt commercial satellite remote sensing firms that are licensed to operate by the Federal Government.

The full letter sent by MAPPS can be viewed here.

The draft legislation can be viewed here.

Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. Independent Consultant Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession. MAPPS provides its 180+ member firms opportunities for networking and developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image enhancement. For more information on MAPPS, please visit www.MAPPS.org.

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