MAPPS Applauds FAA Approval of Training Tool to Improve Air Traffic Control Management of Aerial Survey Flights

Reston, VA (December 8, 2008) - MAPPS, the national association of private geospatial firms, today applauded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its adoption of a PowerPoint to be used as an education aid to increase air traffic controller (ATC) awareness and understanding of aerial survey flights in order to more efficiently and safely handle these flights within the national airspace system (NAS).

The FAA will distribute the training aid to air traffic control facilities for the purpose of educating new controllers as they arrive at the facilities and for continuing professional education of existing air traffic controllers.

"The FAA approved PowerPoint acquaints air traffic controllers with MAPPS, and emphasizes the importance, economic impact, time constraints, and operational requirements of aerial survey flights," said MAPPS Aerial Photography Committee Chairman Richard Breitlow (Agfa Materials Corporation, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey).

"MAPPS has, for several years, advocated such a training tool to help improve access to airspace and foster cooperation between aerial survey operators and air traffic controllers so that our members' vital missions can be carried out in a safe, efficient, and cost effective manner," said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. "Aerial survey flights have faced growing scrutiny, especially with the heightened security measures and regulations which Federal agencies imposed following September 11, 2001. Richard Breitlow's leadership and perseverance on securing this training aid serves to benefit the entire geospatial community and marketplace. We are also grateful to the FAA for its cooperation. The implementation of this training will assist both air traffic controllers and aerial survey operators and is the result of a true public-private partnership between MAPPS and FAA." 

MAPPS President Marvin E. Miller, PLS, PPS, CP (Aero-Metric, Inc., Maple Grove, MN) said, "The adoption of this training aid is a continuation of a longstanding relationship between the FAA and MAPPS, dating back to the MAPPS predecessor organization, the Legislative Council for Photogrammetry. For more than 25 years, FAA has recognized MAPPS as the voice of the aerial survey profession and included us in ATC instructions. MAPPS was instrumental in getting aerial survey flights back up before any other specialty operators after 9/11 and we won approval of a waiver process to enable our members to work in the Washington, DC flight restricted zone (FRZ). Additionally, an FAA Bulletin advising ATC on handling aerial survey operations was developed in consultation with MAPPS and issued in 2006."

The FAA will convert the PowerPoint to a computer-based instruction (CBI) format, used by the FAA, which will replace the "notes" section of the PowerPoint with a professional voiceover. This will allow the audience to hear the commentary accompanying the slides, without the presenter having to read the notes section. These and other final revisions were approved at a joint MAPPS-FAA meeting during the MAPPS Fall Policy Conference on November 12, 2008 in Washington, DC.

MAPPS hosts formal agency liaison committees that meet during the association's conferences to work on issues of mutual interest to the government and private sector geospatial firms. Liaisons are in place with FAA and TSA, NOAA, USGS, USDA, NGA, DHS and DoD.

To View the FAA PowerPoint and the 2006 FAA Bulletin, go to

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 170+ 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

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