MAPPS proposes a user fee with this teaser:

A user’s fee could provide sustained funding for national geospatial data, but how?

This is a huge problem in any country, not just the old red, white and blue. In this crowd we all know how important public domain national geospatial data is. But how to fund it?

working group of the Management Association of Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS). The trust fund will, theoretically, provide an additional source of revenue to supplement federal appropriations for geospatial contracts for national-scale, national-scope, national-coverage geospatial data sets. In a time of perceived or real public suspicion about anything that appears to be a new tax, why even consider this geospatial user fee?

I encourage you to read the whole article. Now I don’t agree with a user fee one bit, but MAPPS does bring up some a sobering fact, our geospatial infrastructure is crumbling. Maybe it’s because I live in Arizona, but I just don’t see taking users and then giving the money to another broken government agency as a solution. Especially one that has made suspect decisions with their geospatial dollar (geodata.gov, GeoPDF). But clearly we as an industry should propose something.

I’m of the mindset to just open public domain geospatial data for crowdsouring. That in my mind is the only sustainable way to grow geospatial data that the public can use. Taking me and then using that money to build another GIS silo is throwing good money after bad. I’d like to see MAPPS get behind the crowdsouring model but I’m not exactly hopeful.

I’ll be giving a talk in April at the APLS Conference as to why the surveying community needs to embrace crowdsouring and why the crowdsouring community would greatly benefit from their participation. I expect rotten vegetables to be thrown at me, but hey, it’s a start! Hey, it gets a thumbs up from me!

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