Congress returns to Washington; president to submit FY 14 budget (two months late) today
Congress returns to Washington, D.C., this week for a three week legislative session. While the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires the president to submit a budget proposal to Congress no later than the first Monday in February, the Obama Administration's fiscal year spending and revenue plan is being sent to Capitol Hill today!
Items of interest to surveyors to keep an eye on include the FEMA flood hazard mapping program, funding allocations to states for highway projects, as both of these programs were reauthorized in 2013's "MAP-21" Act, funding for the airport improvement program, given enactment of a FAA authorization bill last year, and whether funds for USGS to start its 3DEP (three dimensional elevation program) will be included in the president's budget request.
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NSPS members qualify for discount at QBS workshop
Interested in Federal contracting for surveying services (as well as those for architecture, engineering and mapping)? COFPAES, of which NSPS is a member, will host a one-day workshop on the qualifications based selection process for federal procurement or architecture, engineering, surveying and mapping services on Tuesday, May 14, at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. There is a discount for NSPS members at $215, compared to the non-member price of $265.
This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-instructed workshop will review the background of the qualifications based selection process for procurement of professional services. Topics covered will include the principle requirements of the Brooks Act and similar state laws, and provide details on all phases of implementing a successful contracting process, including acquisition planning, scopes of work, public notification, full and open competition, evaluation and selection, negotiations, contract award, contract management and administration. It will also cover traditional design-bid-build versus design-build.
Government efficiency and effectiveness
"Better coordination among federal agencies that collect, maintain, and use geospatial information could help reduce duplication of geospatial investments and provide the opportunity for potential savings of millions of dollars," Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office said in testimony before Congress on April 9. GAO released a report identifying more than 150 Federal activities where there is duplication among agencies, resulting in billions in wasted tax dollars.
ACM Wilcox LLC
Asset Locaton: Michigan & Arizona
March18th – 20th
Online auction of Drills Rigs, Power Probe Drills, Earth Probe Drill,
Compression Testing Machines, Laser & Survey Systems, Survey Receivers,
Water Quality Sensors, Laboratory Ovens & more
Contact Ken Planet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-238-7988
NSPS is working with esri to develop 'Find a Surveyor' national map
Brent Jones and Donny Sosa recently visited NSPS headquarters to discuss using ArcGIS to develop a service to appear on the NSPS website through which prospective clients can find surveyors in their respective localities. Participation by NSPS members will be optional.
Similar applications are also being developed for Certified Survey Technicians and Certified Hydrographers.
Former NSPS Area 4 Director donates picture collection to NSPS Foundation
Greg Johnson of Georgia has long supported the activities of the NSPS Foundation. Upon his retirement from Georgia Power, he has decided to give to the Foundation 10 framed pictures of unique surveying instruments. The Foundation will auction these items as a fundraiser. As information is made available, images will be posted on the website.
Engineering Ministries seeking surveyors
By Curt Sumner, NSPS Executive Director
Engineering Ministries International (EMI) has for some time attended NSPS conferences to recruit surveyors to join their efforts providing design assistance to indigenous and international Christian organizations worldwide. John Boldt, National Field Representative for EMI says, "Our teams almost always need surveyors to volunteer."
EMI has "sending" offices in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as field offices in South Asia, Latin America and East Africa. Being a surveyor myself, I am fully aware of the giving spirit and generous nature of those in our profession.
I urge anyone among us who has an interest to contact EMI and offer assistance in any way you see fit.
Contact information for EMI is:
130 East Kiowa Street, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
10 things GIS users need to know about GitHub
GIS users, even those who don't consider themselves programmers, may have heard of a mysterious location on the Web called GitHub. What is it and what do GIS users need to know about it?
Spreading the inspiration of Earth observation
Sensors & Systems
Research scientists continue to add to our understanding of Earth systems, thanks to the global earth observation capacity. Waleed Abdalati, associate professor of Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder, director of the Earth Science & Observation Center, a Fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and former NASA Chief Scientist, has a perspective that encompasses the capacity, coming capabilities and ongoing challenges.
So many bad maps
There are lots of bad maps. The USGS is crowd sourcing TNM. Apple fired people over bad maps. OpenStreetMap quality is superior to many — even Bing. How important is map quality? To web users? To mobile users? To the media? To the big issues of the day: national security, energy independence. How much faith do we put in our maps?
Galileo on its own
Europe's new age of satellite navigation has passed a historic milestone — the very first determination of a ground location using the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit together with their ground facilities. This fundamental step confirms the Galileo system works as planned. This first position fix of longitude, latitude, and altitude took place March 12 at the Navigation Laboratory at the European Space Research and Technology Center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
Mapping the Earth at the speed of light
Point of Beginning
Most critical human activities require vast knowledge of the surrounding geography and environment. Understanding the effects of events such as sea level rise, global warming and hurricanes, and developmental activities such as precision farming and solar and wind site design all require accurate topographical maps. Unfortunately, most regions of the world lack an accurate representation of their topography, partly because of the high costs associated with conducting a precise survey of the land, and partly due to a lack of awareness of the importance of having accurate terrain models.
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
Legislation affecting surveying, creating market opportunities introduced
A number of bills that would affect the surveying profession, or creating business opportunities for surveyors, have recently been introduced in Congress. The NSPS Government Affairs Committee meets this Friday, April 12, to strategize on legislation for 2013. Here are a few recent bills relevant to surveying and mapping.
H.R. 1063, the "National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013” was introduced March 12 by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). It requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct an assessment of the capability of the Nation to meet our current and future demands for the minerals critical to United States manufacturing and agricultural competitiveness and economic and national security in a time of expanding resource nationalism, and defines qualitative assessment as a geologic-based delineation of areas permissive for the occurrence of undiscovered mineral resources, based on all available geotechnical data including geology, geophysics, geochemistry, remote sensing, and mineral localities data.
The "Freedom from Government Competition Act (FFGCA) of 2013," H.R. 1072 and S. 523 was introduced March 12 by Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan” Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD). The bill codified in law federal policy that in the process of governing, the government should not compete with its citizens, that the competitive enterprise system, characterized by individual freedom and initiative, is the primary source of national economic strength, and in recognition of this principle, it is the general policy of the government to rely on commercial sources to supply the products and services the government needs. The bill bans insourcing and lifts the moratorium on OMB Circular A-76 public-private comparisons for commercial activities performed by the federal government;
H.R. 1137, the "Joint Ventures for Bird Habitat Conservation Act of 2013" was offered March 13 by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior, through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, to conduct a Joint Venture Program to protect, restore, enhance, and manage migratory bird populations, their habitats, and the ecosystems they rely on, through voluntary actions on public and private lands. It defines conservation action as activities that support the protection, restoration, adaptive management, conservation, or enhancement of migratory bird populations, their terrestrial, wetland, marine, or other habitats, and other wildlife species supported by those habitats, including biological and geospatial planning.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced H.R. 1187, the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act," to designate certain National Forest System lands and public lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior in the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming as wilderness and wild and scenic rivers and provide for the establishment of a Northern Rockies Wildlife Habitat and Corridors Information System and Program. The bill, introduced March 14, creates a Geospatial Interoperability Framework as the strategy utilized by the National Biological Information Infrastructure that is based upon accepted standards, specifications, and protocols adopted through the International Standards Organization, the Open Geospatial Consortium, and the Federal Geographic Data Committee, to manage, archive, integrate, analyze, and make accessible geospatial and biological data and metadata.
H.R. 1194, the "National Flood Insurance Program Termination Act of 2013," was introduced March 14 by Rep. Candace Miller (R-MI) to terminate the National Flood Insurance Program and related mandatory purchase and compliance requirements. Section 3 repeals the continuation of FEMA mapping responsibilities.
The "Hydrographic Services Improvement Act (HSIA) Amendments of 2013," H.R. 1399, was introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) to reauthorize and expand hydrographic surveys to further America's knowledge of the nation's coasts, shipping routes, and waterways, with an added emphasis on the Arctic. The March 21 bill reauthorizes HSIA of 1998 at FY2012 funding levels, while requiring $7 million per year toward Arctic hydrographic work, limiting the administrative costs on contracts to 5% and requiring a GAO study comparing the costs associated with conducting hydrographic surveys by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the cost of using contractors.
S. 387, the "American Infrastructure Investment Fund Act" was introduced February 26 by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). It establishes the American Infrastructure Investment Fund and other activities to facilitate investments in infrastructure projects that significantly enhance the economic competitiveness of the United States, including $5 billion to incentivize private, State, and regional investments in transportation projects around the country by providing eligible products with financial assistance.
S. 601, the "Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2013," introduced March 18 by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources and construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill, with amendments, was approved by the Committee on Environment and Public Works on March 20.
H.R.328, the Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act has been introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), and was ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 20. The bill establishes a pilot program for the expedited disposal of Federal real property. Included in the bill is language to require an inventory of Federal real property, including geographic location of each Federal real property of each such agency, including the address and description for each such property... the total size of each Federal real property of each such agency, including square footage and acreage of each such property… and make the database "accessible by the public at no cost through the web site of the General Services Administration."