Digital Coast Act Clears Congress

JMP&A Applauds Passage; Next Stop for Coastal Geospatial Data Bill is the White House

Fairfax,VA – John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. (JMP&A), the nation’s leading government relations and association management firm representing the surveying, mapping, GIS, and geospatial community, applauded last night’s passage of the bi-partisan “Digital Coast Act”, S. 1069, in the U.S. Senate. The Senate action, by unanimous consent, followed earlier approval by the House of Representatives and clears the bill for signature into law by President Trump.

The Senate bill was introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The companion bill in the House was introduced by Representatives C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Don Young (R-AK). It authorizes a “Digital Coast” program whereby the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would develop a coordinated and comprehensive national mapping effort for coastal, State, and territorial waters of the United States. Currently, the Digital Coast exists as a project.

JMP&A leads the group of supporting organizations for the bill known as the Digital Coast Partnership Advocacy Coalition. Member organizations include: American Planning Association (APA); Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM); Coastal States Organization (CSO); National Association of Counties (NACo); National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA); National Flood Association (NFA); National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS); National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC); The Nature Conservancy (TNC); and U.S. Geospatial Executives Organization (U.S. GEO). On behalf of its clients NSPS and U.S. GEO combined with several members of the Digital Coast Partnership, JMP&A led efforts in support of the bill’s passage.

JMP&A President John Palatiello said, “We commend Senator Baldwin and her colleagues and cosponsors for their leadership in passing this important legislation. We also thank Congressmen Ruppersberger and Young for championing the bill in the House. Thanks also goes to staff of the Senate Commerce Committee, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the staff of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Digital Coast Act will enable NOAA to partner with other government entities and the private sector to help protect and promote America’s coasts and shorelines. This legislation creates a program to utilize the extensive capabilities, competence, and qualifications of private sector geospatial professionals to provide the surveying, charting, remote sensing, and geospatial data of America’s coasts, harbors, ports, shorelines and ocean resources for economic growth, recreational activities, conservation, and resilience of our fragile coastal environment.”

By integrating coastal data from a variety of sources, making it publicly accessible, and assisting with applications of the data for decision support, NOAA’s Digital Coast project is helping the coastal management community better plan for storms, flooding, natural disasters, and other challenges that impact vulnerable coastal and Great Lakes communities, as well as contribute to sound and resilient economic development.

Data included in the Digital Coast ranges from surveying, mapping, geospatial, economic, demographic and ecosystem data to satellite imagery. In addition to making this data publicly available online, the Digital Coast provides a wide array of visualization and prediction tools that dramatically improve the effectiveness and efficiency of coastal management projects around the country.

“The strong bipartisan support for this measure is a demonstration of its broad appeal and value to the nation’s communities. S. 1069 is needed to realize the concept of a digital and geospatially enabled view of the Nation’s coastlines to truly satisfy the concept of a robust ‘Digital Coast’ and we look forward to working with The White House and President Trump as the final step for the bill’s enactment. The coalition collaborated to advance the bill at every stage in Congress,” said John “JB” Byrd, Vice President at JMP&A, and organizer of the Digital Coast Partnership Advocacy Coalition.

About JMP&A
John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc., ( a public affairs consulting firm based in the Washington, DC suburb of Fairfax, VA, provides government relations, public relations, association management, strategic planning, event planning, and management and marketing consulting services to private firms, associations, and government agencies with an emphasis on the architecture and engineering; geospatial, mapping and GIS; construction; transportation and infrastructure, and land use sectors. The firm is a subsidiary of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, LLC (