March 30, 2010 -- MAPPS ( www.mapps.org), the national association of private geospatial firms, has asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to create a Geospatial Management Office (GMO) to oversee the implementation of the 800+ location-based provisions within the recently enacted Health Care Reform legislation.
In a March 26 letter to the Secretary, MAPPS President Jeff Lovin, PS, CP, (Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH), said, "As Congress worked to pass Health Care Reform legislation, the House and Senate did not include a provision to assure that GIS technology links health data to geography for the purpose of efficiently implementing the legislation and delivering health care services. There are 814 references to location or geographic data that require place-based information in the Health Care Reform legislation. Notwithstanding all of these disparate needs for geospatial data, Congress failed to create a GMO within HHS to coordinate the collection, management, utilization, and sharing of the required geospatial data activities. Moreover, the legislation lacks a provision establishing a Health Care GIS at the Department level."
A number of HHS agencies create and utilize GIS, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Social Security Administration (SSA), Indian Health Service (IHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and others. Lovin said, "Today, each of these agencies operates its GIS activities in stovepipes, resulting in waste, duplication, and inefficiency, but the enactment of the Health Care Reform legislation is an opportunity to bolster and enhance utilization of GIS by HHS agencies."
Lovin noted that the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) has recommended that the Obama Administration establish a Geographic Information Officer (GIO) in each Cabinet department.
MAPPS was the leader in securing legislation to create the federal government's first Geospatial Management Office, when Congress created such an office in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Public Law 108-458 in 2004. Since that time GIO positions or GMO entities have been established administratively in the Departments of Agriculture, Army, Interior, and Transportation, as well as the Federal Communications Commission and Environmental Protection Agency.
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. Current MAPPS memberships span 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. MAPPS provides its 180+ 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.