On June 14, 2007, the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled against special interest groups seeking to strictly limit government contracting for mapping and GIS activities. In the matter of MAPPS, et al., v. United States of America, Judge T.S. Ellis III issued a summary judgment in favor of the government based on the MAPPS plaintiffs’ failure to “establish that an injury in fact was suffered by the individual surveyors or their firms.”
Several geographic and GIS organizations, including AAG, GISCI, GITA, UCGIS, and URISA joined together to support the government and oppose the MAPPS litigation through educational outreach and the development of an Amicus Brief to the Court on the case. The AAG has also established a Mapping and GIS Community Defense Fund to help defray the cost of legal fees and educational activities related to these issues (see www.aag.org).
The “Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors” (MAPPS) filed the lawsuit earlier this year seeking to limit competition for federal mapping contracts of nearly every type, including GIS services, to firms of licensed architects, engineers and surveyors.
“The federal court’s rejection of the MAPPS lawsuit in this ruling will help ensure that all qualified professionals in the mapping and GIS communities can fairly compete for government contracts,” said Douglas Richardson, executive director of the AAG.
A ruling in favor of the MAPPS plaintiffs would have had far reaching negative impacts on cartographers, geographers, computer scientists, planners, foresters, GIS specialists, governmental agencies, GIS service companies, and many others who have long been creative, innovative, and productive forces in the mapping and GIS fields.