Monday, October 4, 2010

MAPPS Asks Congress to Revise Privacy Legislation Limiting use of "Geolocation Information"

MAPPS sent a letter to the chairman of a house subcommittee, opposing proposed legislative language that would limit the use of "precise geolocation information".

The association said a draft bill, proposed to be introduced by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, threatens data collection, applications and growth in the private geospatial profession.

The draft bill is intended to protect consumers' privacy by requiring "notice to and consent of an individual prior to the collection and disclosure of certain personal information relating to that individual." However, language included in the bill is a concern to the collection of geospatial data and geospatial lines of business through its provision limiting the collection of "precise geolocation information".

MAPPS believes the current bill language threatens information that is collected by private and government entities to perform E-911 and emergency response management, environmental protection, home security, mortgage foreclosure monitoring/early warning system and many other tasks that are conducted by geospatial professionals.

"The intent of the bill drafted by Rep. Boucher - to protect personal privacy - is laudable, but in its current form, the provisions would result in a number of unintended consequences by severely limiting information collected by the geospatial community for government agencies, to support government programs, and to provide for commercial applications that consumers are demanding in the marketplace," said Jeff Lovin, MAPPS President (Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH).

The current draft exempts government agencies from its limitations. MAPPS urged Rep. Boucher to more clearly define the term "precise geolocation information," exempt data collected by private sector firms under contract to government or for sale to government agencies, and exempt private individuals who are already regulated and licensed to practice by State licensing boards, as well as exempt commercial satellite remote sensing firms that are licensed to operate by the Federal Government.

The full letter sent by MAPPS can be viewed here.

The draft legislation can be viewed here.

MAPPS Salary and Non-Cash Benefits Survey Available

MAPPS recently completed the 2010 Salary and Non-Cash Benefits Survey. This survey was conducted among the "regular member firms" of MAPPS --- firms based in the United States that provide geospatial services and data.  This select group of MAPPS firms was utilized for the survey in order to have a homogenous group on which to make "apples to apples" comparisons of compensation data.

The survey results have been shared with the participating firms and to MAPPS Associate Members at no cost.  The report is available to MAPPS regular member firms that did not participate in the survey for $250 and to non-members for $500.

Results of the survey included:
• More vacation time, but less carryover of that time than ever before;
• Employers paying larger percentage of single and family health insurance costs than ever before;
• A significant drop in bonuses, the lowest since the salary survey was first conducted in 2004;
• Largest differences in top level employee pay between geographic regions, with the mountain region having the highest pay levels;
• Lowest Benefit/Cost ratio ever.

A PowerPoint presentation was presented at the MAPPS summer conference by committee chairs Dave Hart (Continental Mapping Consultants, Sun Prairie, WI) and Marvin Miller (Aero-Metric, Inc., Maple Grove, MN). The presentation is available in the members only section of the MAPPS website.

The 64-page report is the most comprehensive compensation survey in the geospatial profession.  It is the best way to benchmark  a firm's wage and benefits program with others in the community.

There are two ways to purchase the report, by sending a check to:

ATTN: Salary Survey
1856 Old Reston Avenue, Suite 205
Reston, VA 20190

Or, by calling Amber VerValin in the MAPPS office at 703-787-6996. She will process credit card payments.