MAPPS President’s Message

Faster, Better, Cheaper

By Robert Hanson

We all know that expression. In theory this is the belief and the approach that drives an innovation economy within free, private markets. Ideally these three words are inspirational to all of us within MAPPS as they provide the thrust of purpose for our companies.

At the macro-economic level, all companies strive to achieve faster, better, cheaper while providing a full spectrum of vital services such as healthcare, clean water and utilities, transportation, energy; or consumer goods such as electronics, appliances, and automobiles; or the basic commodities that are used to feed ourselves and families. When faster, better, cheaper is working in lockstep, we see the emergence of invention and profitability in our businesses. We achieve operational cost-savings that provide added value to our customers and expand opportunities for discretionary spending by business on themselves and better opportunities for all our employees.  

Those three words constitute the promise of our MAPPS member firms to our customers and why our firms exist in our economy. Our member firms are entrepreneurs and the business leaders of dynamic companies fully committed to outstanding customer service. We grow our businesses by competing in this wonderful place called the United States of America, or in some cases regionally or globally. 

MAPPS members know that co-existing means we serve each other, too, by combining capabilities in our pursuit and servicing of large state and federal programs. And, with abundancy of caution we all know cheaper is not always better, faster is not always better or cheaper, and better cannot be better unless technical specifications and client expectations for quality are met or exceeded. Our general goal is an equilibrium of the three, knowing value for what we do is found in the right combination of faster, better, cheaper.  

This brings me to the intent of this message. At the MAPPS Winter Conference we had the opportunity to see and hear about some of the best of our ideas, services, and products in our Geospatial Product and Services Excellence Awards (2021) program. There were no losers in this awards competition. Winners were identified by an independent panel of judges chosen from entries they believed were most illustrative of an excellent project or technology. Of course, the Membership Choice Award was our member’s opportunity to weigh in on our choice. 

MAPPS presented: 

  • The Geospatial Excellence Award for Data Acquisition and Processing to NV5 Geospatial and GEO1 
  • The Geospatial Excellence Award for Surveying/Field Data Collection to Michael Baker International 
  • The Geospatial Excellence Award for GIS/IT/Remote Sensing Analysis to Dewberry Engineers Inc. 
  • The Geospatial Excellence Award for Small Projects to GEO1 
  • The Geospatial Excellence Award for Technology Innovation/Licensed Data Products to Teledyne Geospatial, Inc. (f/k/a, Teledyne Optech, Inc.) 
  • The Geospatial Excellence- Membership Choice Award to (tie): NV5 Geospatial and GEO1 
  • The Geospatial Excellence – Project of the Year Grand Award to Teledyne Geospatial, Inc.

Each of the above projects and products, as well as those also submitted by other MAPPS members represent the best of our MAPPS members’ work. We celebrate every entrant’s work and look forward to next year’s competition.

Robert Hanson is vice president of the Geospatial Division for WGI and president of MAPPS

With the arrival of new aerial and terrestrial lidar sensors for purposes of topo bathymetric lidar mapping along the coasts and into deep waters, enhancements in topographic lidar’s, Geiger mode lidar, and very high-resolution aerial cameras used independently or in combination, our aerial mapping industry provides greater efficiency in collection and processing of products.

What we are seeing today within the aerial sensor industry is its ability to deliver compelling sensors and the software processes to our marketplace at an unprecedented pace for adoption. And perhaps most importantly, MAPPS member firms and other aerial mapping companies are making the necessary investments in this technology to drive customers’ satisfaction with better solutions.

Additionally, we see many firms are expanding their services into terrestrial and/or other aerial scanning or imaging solutions for diversification of their technological offerings. Their core competencies and capabilities do not necessarily change, but with adoption of technologies our firms have more ability to compete and grow in the geospatial marketplace.

While we celebrated together the fine work we did last year with our excellence awards program, MAPPS members have confronted a challenging period in a decline of project opportunities. Faster, better, cheaper by our MAPPS firms cannot itself solve the issues we confronted with a federal government that cannot easily pass funding bills for the work we are contracted to perform.

Stop gaps in funding like we have seen in recent months with several continuing resolutions did not move the needle for our firms with the necessary programmatic funding commitments needed from Congress for the agencies we serve. We are now through this period of the last continuing resolution bill, which extended federal funding through March 11. That was the third time a continuing resolution was used to keep the government funded in the 2022 fiscal year.

MAPPS always wants our federal government funded through the each fiscal year. Faster annual funding for geospatial programs is better and, ultimately, will be cheaper for our nation as our companies are able to operate efficiently. Already in 2022 much economic damage has been done to our member firms while waiting for programmatic funds to arrive.

Our desire is that Congress send annual funding bills to the president as early as possible so MAPPS firms can work faster, better, cheaper to deliver services and products to our clients.

We all want and need to get our businesses back to conditions of working toward growth and profitability. We want better days ahead for our agency partners and our businesses and employees.

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