News and Views
Jul. 30, 2014

New member benefit
Last week's edition of NSPS News & Views included a newly established benefit for NSPS members. Although the most critical benefits of membership in NSPS are related to the organization's outreach, collaboration, advocacy and promoting integrity of the profession, NSPS also seeks to offer its members ways in which that can benefit them personally, and from a business perspective. A good example of such benefits is the NSPS Insurance Program, which offers a wide range of business coverage options, as well as health/life options. While perhaps not as critical, NSPS also endeavors to provide benefits for personal use. Among that group is the one (below) that was posted last week in this newsletter.

For those who, for whatever reason, are leery of this type of benefit, NSPS leadership and staff want to assure members that ample research is done before such benefits are offered. Obviously, members are not required to utilize such benefits if they are uncertain about them.

PerksCard — a great way to save money! We have partnered with PerksCard to help you stretch your dollars through this member discount program. Getting started is very easy! Click here for details.More

FGDC Seeks Review and Update of Surveyor Related Occupations
In response to the May 22, 2014 Federal Register Notice, "Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) — Revision of 2018," the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC), an entity comprised of members from all levels of government, the private sector, non-profits, and academia, proposed in its July 21, 2014 report to its parent agency (Federal Geographic Data Committee/FGDC) that it include among its recommendations to the Department of Labor six surveyor-related occupations to be reviewed and updated. Those occupations include: Surveyors; Surveying Technicians; Cartographers and Photogrammetrists; Geodetic Surveyors; Surveying and Mapping Technicians; and Mapping Technicians. NSPS has in the past participated in such review and update initiatives, and has already offered its assistance for the upcoming effort. NSPS Past President (2001) is a member of the NGAC. More

NSPS Radio Hour — Aug. 4, 11 a.m. EDT
As reported in NSPS News & Views, NSPS is among the organizations that have expressed support for the 3DEP program. Kevin T. Gallagher, Associate Director, Core Science Systems with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will join host Curt Sumner to discuss the program, and the multiple uses for the data it will provide, including the potential for new industries that might emerge to provide "value added" services utilizing the data.

If you are unable to listen to the show when it is being broadcast, listen to the archive of the show at Archives for each show are typically available for listening within a few days after the show airs.

During the show, listen for the "key question" and be the first to email the correct answer to to win a $50 gift certificate from our sponsor, Parker Davis Quik Stakes. No purchase is required to receive the gift certificate. Winners limited to once every three months.More

FEMA says flood insurance program is unsustainable
Craig Fugate, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told a Senate Committee that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is on an unsustainable path, opening the Federal government to huge potential losses.More

Senate set to vote on highway bill
The U.S. Senate was slated to vote Tuesday on a bill to extend the Federal Highway program. Amendments were expected, setting up differences with the House-passed bill. The current law expires Sept. 30. The current legislation is a short term extension, with Congress now expected to consider a full reauthorization bill in a post-election lame duck session or in the new Congress in 2015.More

Report suggests geospatial data for assessing Atlantic and Gulf Coast risks
The National Research Council has released a report on reducing coastal risks, suggesting more needs to be done to assess risk and invest in infrastructure, including geospatial data. The study, sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, recommends strategies to reduce flood risks from storm surge, with a focus on the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard. The report notes that currently a majority of federal money spent on coastal risks goes toward recovery after a disaster rather than on planning for and mitigating against storms, climate change and sea-level rise.More

White House pushes Earth observations and data
The Obama Administration released a new initiative on Earth observation. It includes an emphasis on LIDAR elevation data, digital ortho-imagery, and LANDSAT.More

GAO: Government building data not accurate or transparent
Fierce Government
The government's data on its own property wasn't sufficiently reliable to support good decisions about excess and underutilized property, the Government Accountability Office July 29 prepared testimony says. More

How mapping can improve risk understanding from natural catastrophes
The Daily Telegraph
Some 130 catastrophic events caused an estimated $54 billion in economic losses and $22 billion in insured losses in the first six months of the year, according to Impact Forecasting. In each of these events, mapping has been important in understanding the timeline of the event, the damage caused and the geographical extent of human and economic losses. More

Making sense of the 2014 Esri International User Conference
Directions Magazine
The challenges of hosting an event for 14,000-plus software users are numerous. Esri has done the yeoman's work for decades, figuring out how to provide each user with a valuable experience. This year, a variety of factors made the event even more challenging for both Esri and its users. While I'm addressing the event itself, I want to suggest that these challenges are also impacting Esri's relationship with its user community. More

Professors: FAA's restrictions on use of small drones imperil academic research
The Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report
University and college professors are complaining that government restrictions on the use of small drones are likely to stifle academic research. In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, 30 professors said a clarification the agency issued last month on what rules model aircraft hobbyists must follow would eliminate the ability of researchers to use small, unmanned aircraft on low-altitude flights over private property. More

Who will win at indoor location?
GPS World
Where are bets on new technology being placed? Prominent venture capital firms are investing in companies with indoor location solutions. But with more than 50 companies to choose from and at least 10 unique technologies, it is hard to judge who will make it into the winner's circle. There is no early leader to put money on, and unlike other location-based markets like mapping, I expect this market to support many competitors and not be dominated by a few. More