USA, 15 June 2007: The U.S. District Court in Virginia has ruled against Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) litigation filed earlier this year, seeking to strictly limit government contracting for mapping and GIS activities in a summary judgement that “plaintiffs lack the requisite standing to maintain this action.”
In the matter, Judge T.S. Ellis III issued the judgment in favour of the government based on MAPPS plaintiffs’ failure to “establish that an injury in fact was suffered by the individual surveyors or their firms”.
Several geospatial communities, 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.
“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 favour 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.
MAPPS in response to the same has issued a statement indicating that it intends to pursue the matter further, “By ruling on process, the Court did not address the legal merits and policy issues of the case as presented by MAPPS and its co-plaintiffs, which means the question of QBS applicability to mapping is unresolved and leaves the door open to further litigation.”
However, the Court did reaffirm the fact that where an applicable state licensing law requires performance by a licensed surveyor, a Federal agency must abide by that state law and use QBS on the contract. This is an important victory with regard to programs like the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). MAPPS is also heartened by the fact that the court noted, “the record unambiguously reflects that the provision of “mapping” services in the modern marketplace includes a much broader scope of work than the traditional mapping work of land surveyors”.