In America, associations are an ordinary and effective means by which companies in a kindred line of business can band together to promote their industry or profession’s common goals, objectives, and interests. For more than a century, associations have been a traditional means by which Americans have joined forces to achieve mutual shared aspirations and trade associations have been the vehicle by which businesses, indeed competitors, can work cooperatively in a legal environment and structure.
“Trade associations are the safeguards of small business and thus prevent the extinction of competition. With wisdom and devotion, their voluntary forces can accomplish more for your country than any spread of the hand of government.”
– Herbert Hoover, 1923
Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fêtes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools. Finally, if it is a question of bringing to light a truth or developing a sentiment with the support of a great example, they associate. Everywhere that, at the head of a new undertaking, you see the government in France and a great lord in England, count on it that you will perceive an association in the United States.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835
Various specialties and disciplines withing the surveying, mapping, and geospatial community each have their own national associations:
- Private sector services firms have MAPPS
- State GIS Coordinators have NSGIC
- Local government GIS coordinators have URISA
- Academicians have UCGIS
- Intelligence community participants have USGIF
- Licensed land surveyors have NSPS
- Photogrammetrists and remote sensing specialists have ASPRS
And there are several others.
The one sector of the geospatial community that does not have a home is surveying, mapping, and geospatial equipment, instrument, and software firms. While many firms in this line of business are Sustaining or Associate Members of the aforementioned organizations or others, in most cases such firms are not voting members, have little or limited voice, and these associations rarely address an agenda of issues of interest and concern to specific to equipment, instrument, and software firms.
A Geospatial Equipment and Technology Institute (GETI) could fill this void and provide a forum for firms providing surveying, mapping, and geospatial equipment, instrument, and software to address their particular needs and interests. It can be a non-profit organization, formed under section 501 (c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code as a forum for networking, advocacy, information sharing, market studies, business partnering, and other collaborative activities.
Recent events have demonstrated the need for an organization such as GETI. First, it was discovered that U.S. tax dollars from the National Science Foundation (NSF) are being used to subsidize a university to develop new geospatial software that will duplicate and compete with the private sector. A webinar was recently held that demonstrated there was little consultation with existing private sector, for-profit software and equipment firms, and highlighted the fact that the U.S. government lacks a policy and procedure for evaluating the need for geospatial research and development (R&D) and for getting the commercial sector’s input, for prioritizing such R&D, and for assuring that tax dollars are not wasted on unnecessary, low priority, duplicative, or competitive R&D. An organization like GETI can provide that effective voice and needed advice to the government.
Additionally, last month, the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, issued a Final Rule and Request for Comments on Software Specially Designed to Automate the Analysis of Geospatial Imagery, as it was added to the Export Control list. Here is a legal analysis on export control on geospatial imagery software. Again, an organization like GETI can serve as a watchdog, advocate, and voice for surveying, mapping, and geospatial equipment, instrument, and software firms.
To discuss the possible establishment of GETI and your ideas on such an association of surveying, mapping, and geospatial equipment, instrument, and software firms, you are invited to take the following actions:
Click here to complete a brief questionnaire.
Click here to RSVP to attend our meeting to discuss and explore the establishment of GETI on Monday, March 23 at 4:00 PM, during the GEO Week (ILMF, ASPRS, MAPPS) in Washington DC. Location to be provided upon RSVP.
Contact John Palatiello at email@example.com, if you would like to join the email list.
GETI and the March 23 meeting are being organized by John Palatiello, a recognized leader in association management, public policy, and government relations for firms and organizations in the surveying, mapping, geospatial, and engineering related fields.
John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. 10340 Democracy Lane, Suite 300, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 787-6665, www.jmpa.us.