MAPPS Announces Judges for Seventh Annual Geospatial Excellence Awards Competition

Reston, Virginia, November 1, 2013 -MAPPS (, the national association of private sector geospatial firms, today announced the five judges who will evaluate entries in the seventh annual "Geospatial Products and Services Excellence awards competition". The independent judges have been selected to evaluate projects submitted for the Awards Competition that highlight the exceptional services, products, software and hardware produced by the companies that make up the MAPPS membership.

New to the panel in 2013 are Neil Sandler, Publisher of Professional Surveyor Magazine and John Hetzler, editor of Point of Beginning (POB) Magazine.

Sandleris the owner of Flatdog Media, parent company of Professional Surveyor Magazine/Aerial Mapping and owner of Spokes Magazine a bicycling magazine. His more than 40 years of work in journalism includes work as deputy press secretary for a U.S. Senator, managing editor of a steel industry publication, and director of communications for a major national professional association.

Hetzler is the editor of Point of Beginning (POB). Published by BNP Media, POB is the oldest national monthlymagazine serving the surveying and mapping profession, reaching more than 38,000 readers. An award-winning writer and editor, John has more than 18 years of journalism experience in newspaper, online and business-to-business media. He became editor of POB in July 2013.

For the fourth year, the panel of judges is chaired by Robert Burtch, professor-emeritus of the Surveying and Engineering Program at Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, where he taught courses in surveying, geographic information systems, photogrammetry and geodesy. Burtch is a Professional Surveyor and a Certified Photogrammetrists, ASPRS.

Judges returning to the panel include:

Donn D. Dears, a retired General Electric Company executive now based in Chicago. A graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy and veteran of the U.S. Navy, Mr. Dears is president of TSAugust, a 501(C)(3), nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank conducting research on energy and economic issues, and is the author of two books and writes the blog, Power America.

Leonard Gilroy is the director of government reform at Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles nonprofit think tank advancing free markets. Gilroy, a certified urban planner (AICP), researches privatization, government reform, transportation, infrastructure, and urban policy issues. Gilroy has a diversified background in policy research and implementation, with particular emphases on public-private partnerships, competition, government efficiency, transparency, accountability, and government performance. Gilroy has worked closely with legislators and elected officials in Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Utah, Virginia, California, and several other states in efforts to design and implement market-based policy approaches, improve government performance, enhance accountability in government programs, and reduce government spending. He is the editor of the world’s most respected newsletter on privatization, Privatization Watch, and is the editor of the widely-read Annual Privatization Report, which examines trends and chronicles the experiences of local, state, and federal governments in bringing competition to public services.

The MAPPS awards competition recognizes the professionalism, value, integrity and achievement that member firms have demonstrated in their projects and technology developments over the previous year.

"We are honored to have these independent, knowledgeable individuals participate in our competition. The projects submitted exemplify the contributions private geospatial firms make to society every day to enhance our quality of life. The judges’ backgrounds bring insight into the technical and societal merits of the projects," said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello.

The Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards program has eight categories for projects and technologies delivered from January 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013: airborne and satellite data acquisition; photogrammetry/elevation data generation; remote sensing; GIS/IT; small projects; surveying/field data collection; technology innovation and licensed data products. A Grand Award winner will be selected from the eight category winners to represent the MAPPS Project of the Year. This is the seventh annual awards competition.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 during the banquet at the MAPPS 2014 Winter Conference at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla (San Diego), CA. Early registration for the Winter Conference is now open on the MAPPS website,

This is a change due to the postponement of the Geospatial and Engineering International Conference due to the recent government shutdown.


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 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