Reston, Virginia, September 18, 2014- A bill to establish a "Digital Coast" program whereby the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) develops a coordinated and comprehensive national mapping effort for coastal, State and territorial waters of the United States has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, earning praise from MAPPS (www.mapps.org), the national association of private sector geospatial firms.
More than half of all Americans, 153 million people, currently live on or near a coast and an additional 12 million are expected to move to the coasts over the next decade. Yet despite this population density and economic development, much of the 95,000 miles of U.S. shoreline does not have current, accurate maps and geospatial information; moreover, much of what does exist pre-dates the 1970s.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin introduced the Digital Coast Act of 2014 today, September 18.
MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello said, "The ‘Digital Coast Act’ is needed to realize the concept of a ‘Digital Coast’ as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The Digital Coast Act provides an opportunity to help America’s ocean, coastal and shoreline areas by addressing issues raised by the U.S. Oceans Commission, the Pew Commission, as well as several NAS reports, all of which have highlighted the need for surveying, charting, remote sensing and geospatial data of America’s coasts, harbors, ports, shorelines and ocean resources critical to the nation’s most basic economic and recreational activities, to smartly conserve a fragile environment."
MAPPS President Jeff Lower, (PAR, LLC, Bossier City, LA) said, "Greater emphasis has been paid to monitoring sea level rise, coastal conservation and emergency preparedness and response in the wake of natural and manmade disasters. This Digital Coast Act will coordinate the pooling of resources from multiple agencies (Federal, state, and local) and other stakeholders to map the various needs once, and then utilize and apply the high-quality data and products numerous times, thus reducing taxpayer waste while maximizing the return on investment for all stakeholders."
The "Digital Coast" is a geospatially enabled program to improve coordination and support work with stakeholders to identify geospatial priorities; improve coordination of coastal mapping and management activities; use standards and standardized methods for data acquisition, processing, and distribution to ensure broadest utility of data; promote best practices when applying geospatial data for coastal decision making; and contract for the collection and creation of quality non-navigation feature data sets to include: shoreline change, satellite and aerial imagery, land use and land cover maps, benthic habitat mapping, terrestrial topography, shallow water bathymetry, and submerged aquatic vegetation.
The introduction of the Digital Coast Act by Senator Baldwin compliments a bi-partisan effort in the U.S. House of Representatives by C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Don Young (R-AK), cosponsors of Digital Coast Act, H.R 1382.
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 visitwww.mapps.org.