MAPPS 2018 Summer Meeting Echoes a Call to Action and Business Networking

Part of MAPPS Board

The 2018 MAPPS Annual Summer Meeting recently ended with an engaging panel discussion and a “call to action” for members to continue their involvement in the legislative process. Members must remain diligent by actively participating in events that promote and create policy that is in the best interest of the geospatial community and public.

As President Brian Raber of Merrick & Company stated, “I continue to be humbled by the increased support members have for the new agenda of our association which represents the private sector by partnering with other associations and the federal government to get things accomplished in our nation’s capital.”

The conference that was attended by nearly 140 professionals and guests focused on helping members be more active and effective in the geospatial community by advocating / creating good policy and legislation. Panel discussions and presentations educated conference participants on several topics including; the positive changes in the USGS 3DEP Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) from NSGIC and the USGS; responding to the MAPPS “Call to Action” for the Digital Coast Act (H.R. 4026) highlighting examples of testifying at recent congressional hearings and in district information meetings presented by NOAA and member firms; and recapping “How the Federal Legislation Process Works” from the MAPPS Legislative Director. By harnessing the power of many small and large businesses taking action and participating in the legislative process, MAPPS continues to make a positive difference in Washington DC.

A series of business related topics were offered related to “Developing your Elevator Speech”, “Marketing Myth-stakes”, “CEO Round Table”, and “How to Stand Up New Technology”. Additionally, the MAPPS Emerging Leaders Program continued its business curriculum on managerial accounting, negotiating, and diplomacy. Raber announced at this conference that the MAPPS business curriculum will be offered to all the registrants of the 2019 ILMF Conference in Denver, CO.

The MAPPS Political Action Committee (PAC) hosted a dynamic conversation with State Representative Katie Arrington, congressional candidate in South Carolina. Arrington’s message of passion and commitment to our great nation was contagious. Following the PAC meeting MAPPS members shared that Arrington’s discussion launched a positive and energetic tone for the remainder of the conference. Members donated approximately $6,000 to the MAPPS PAC which is used to support bi-partisan legislators who understand the importance of geospatial policy.

A lighting-round session highlighted the capabilities of the most recent companies that have joined MAPPS. Raber mentioned that 19 firms that have joined MAPPS over the past 8 months. President Elect Mark Brooks of OptimalGeo held another fun, yet insightful session on “10 Questions for the Board from Spouses/Guests” which focused on work-life balance, career growth, ethics, and engaging family participation. 

The Summer Meeting Banquet featured a thought provoking keynote address from professional speaker, Michael Arnold of Protean Quality Systems, on the “Evolution of Innovation”. Because MAPPS is a member-driven, non-profit association, it is tradition at the Summer Conference to celebrate the accomplishments of the many individuals who power the engine of MAPPS. At the banquet 14 members and partners were presented with the President’s Award for their service to MAPPS and the geospatial community. Raber also recognized the exceptional dedication of Jim Van Rens – Riegl; John Copple, Sanborn Mapping; Tom Newman, TerraSond; Mark Brooks, OptimalGeo; and Bob Hanson, Michael Baker International who were instrumental in shaping the new direction of MAPPS.

For more detailed information about the MAPPS Summer Conference, visit the MAPPS website at


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