Michael Baker Jr., Inc. Wins Grand Award in PA-MAPPS Geospatial Excellence Awards Competition

June 01, 2012 -- Michael Baker Jr., Inc. (Harrisburg, PA) was selected as the Grand Award winner in the second annual PA-MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards competition for their project "Keystone Corridor Improvement Program (KCIP) - Mobile LiDAR". The project was recognized at a ceremony during the PA GIS Conference on May 23 in Grantville, PA.

Baker was contracted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Bureau of Public Transportation (BPT) to collect light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data for the 105-mile of railroad in the Keystone Corridor. According to PennDOT's client letter, the use of mobile LIDAR was a first for the department, saved the department over $100,000 and the data has been re-purposed for seven project sites. In addition, the use of mobile LiDAR reduced the amount of time and increased safety during data collection compared to traditional surveying.

"This project was selected as the Grand Award winner due to the complexity, innovation, value to the geospatial profession and public, and the client satisfaction that was exhibited," said Angela Cuthbert, Millersville University, the chair of the judges who evaluated the submitted projects.

The finalist in the awards competition was the firm geographIT (Lancaster, PA) for its project "GIS-LiDAR Based Delineation of Water Impoundment Areas in Greene County, PA". geographIT was contracted by Greene County to identify small and intermittent streams that can be impounded to serve as a source of water for Marcellus Shale drilling operations and also function as recreational areas and water storage areas for use during periods of drought. The judges deemed that the value of the project was the generation of new hydrography data layers that have a much higher level of detail than the current federal government National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).

"The Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards aremeant to recognize and showcase the outstanding work that the private firms in the geospatial community and the PA-MAPPS membership do everyday to serve our clients and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Pennsylvania," said Nick Palatiello, MAPPS Assistant Executive Director for External Affairs. "These finalists represent the investment private sector firms make in new technologies and qualified personnel to produce higher-quality data and provide cost savings to the taxpayer. The awards showcase how investment in geospatial technology can support and benefit the citizens of the Commonwealth."

Projects were judged on complexity, original or innovative application/development of technologies or techniques, future value to the geospatial profession, the public, and client/owner satisfaction. The entries were judged by three independent professionals: Neil Sandler, Publisher, Professional Surveyor Magazine; Karen Shuckman, Senior Lecturer in Geography, Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Angela Cuthbert, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, Millersville University, PA.

PA-MAPPS, the first state chapter of MAPPS, is open to private firms in the geospatial community including those in photogrammetry, satellite and airborne remote sensing, hydrography, aerial and satellite image processing, surveying, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PA-MAPPS has two membership categories; Member Firms: geospatial service firms with offices and employees based in Pennsylvania and Associate Members: companies that do business in but not having a physical office or businesses in the Commonwealth, or those that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the Keystone State. Firms in PA-MAPPS are also members of MAPPS.


Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. Independent Consultant Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession.

MAPPS provides its 160+ member firms opportunities for networking and developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image enhancement.

For more information on MAPPS, please visit www.MAPPS.org.

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