When I became president of MAPPS (a prominent national association of geospatial firms), I had two goals. First, I wanted to increase member engagement. Second, I didn’t want to work as hard as my predecessor. The two goals are not mutually exclusive. In fact, achieving the first goal makes reaching the second goal much easier.
MAPPS recently held the 2020 Winter Conference in Honolulu, HI. For the fourth conference in a row, MAPPS conferences have gained attendance. Even more important, the number and variety of different speakers on the program was exciting to see; the diversity of speakers provides insight into the engagement of members. Our program committee, led by Bob Hanson of WGI, Jeffrey Kenner of Miller Creek Associates, and Jason Heywood of DroneView Technologies, meets every two weeks to discuss how we can keep improving our conferences.
The MAPPS membership committee, co-chaired by Renee Walmsley of Tetra Tech and Brenda Burroughs of Teledyne Optech, remains very active. During the Winter Conference, six new or returning member firms were introduced: Clearskies Geomatics, Global Marketing Insights, Pointerra, Rowe Professional Services Company, Solv3D, and Terra Flight Aerial Imaging. These new firms point to further inclusion and diversity within MAPPS
While on the topic of diversity, MAPPS GeoWomen, organized and led by Susan Marlow of Stantec, is working with NSGIC GeoWomen and other organizations to promote female leadership in the geospatial profession. Women from eight different member firms participated in the MAPPS GeoWomen meeting at the Winter Conference.
Small businesses are a large part of MAPPS. Ken Scruggs of Midwest Aerial Photography is leading MAPPS’ effort to promote small business activities within the organization and on Capitol Hill. During the Winter Conference, Brian Mayfield of Atlantic, Bret Hazell of GeoTerra, and Kelly Francis of Aero-Graphics conducted a roundtable about small business needs and management.
Jim Green of Teledyne Optech and Kevin Perkins of Applanix (a Trimble company), and Jim Van Rens of Riegl are leading efforts to ensure the voices of our associate members continue to be heard. All 20 of our associate member firms are active participants in MAPPS events and interests.
John Copple of Sanborn and Ed Kunz of Midwest Aerial Photography lead our very active legislative affairs committee. Many MAPPS representatives are regularly on Capitol Hill advocating for the geospatial profession. Last November, more than 20 MAPPS members joined the celebration when MAPPS, NSGIC, ACEC, AASG, and AAG hosted a GIS Day reception on Capitol Hill. Our federal agency liaisons, particularly Mike Schillenn of Quantum Spatial and Darius Hensley of Woolpert, regularly correspond with their assigned agencies to ensure MAPPS members are being kept up to date with agency activities. See the MAPPS on Capitol Hill article on page 27 for more information.
The MAPPS board of directors is made up of individuals from 11 different member firms. The board conducts monthly calls, meets in person four times a year, and regularly communicates about ways we can continue to move the geospatial profession forward. Steps taken by the past two boards, led by Brian Raber of Merrick & Company, have the organization on good financial footing.
To say that member engagement is high within MAPPS is an understatement. The many different individuals and firms who reach out to participate and volunteer increases every month. I have great appreciation for those who work towards helping me reach my second goal.