Monday, May 14, 2007

Lawsuit could prohibit geologists from making maps

A lawsuit filed against the federal government by four trade associations could prohibit geologists, geographers, and many other professionals from making maps using federal funds, according to the American Association of Geographers (

MAPPS, (Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services (COFPAES) is suing the U.S. Government over regulations for federal procurement of architectural and engineering services, including surveying and mapping, in regards to qualifications based selection (QBS) process in the Brooks Act (40 USC 1101 et. seq.)

The MAPPS plaintiffs filed suit to force the US Government’s Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council to “define ‘survey and mapping’ so as to include contracts and subcontracts for services for Federal agencies for collecting, storing, retrieving, or disseminating graphical or digital data depicting natural or man made physical features, phenomena and boundaries of the earth and any information relating thereto, including but not limited to surveys, maps, charts, remote sensing data and images and aerial photographic services.” [emphasis added]

My reading of this section of the complaint seems to make it clear that geologists would be prohibited from using Federal funds for almost everything we do, unless we work under the direction of a licensed engineer or surveyor.

AAG filed an amicus brief this spring, stating in part:

“…a victory for plaintiffs would not only insulate all federal mapping contracts from price competition, but also exclude everyone else – that is, anyone and everyone other than licensed engineers and surveyors – from even being eligible to receive a federal mapping contract, even where engineers and surveyors lack the training and subject matter expertise needed to perform the contract.”

People following this lawsuit say we can expect a ruling from the judge at any time.

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