Geospatial Contractors Cynically Attempt to Take Over US Federal Mapping

May 9, 2013

by Brian Timoney (MapBrief Blog:

Geography · Economics · Visualization



The party is over.


During the 1990s anything related to IT was expensive and fat profit margins were easily procured. Post-9/11 was very good for geospatial contracting with both the escalation of defense spending to support three wars as well as the mushrooming requirements of the Department of Homeland Security. But now sequestration–and its impacts on the DoD in particular–are the unmistakable sign that a golden era of contracting has drawn to a close.


But over the last decade another geospatial industry sprung up–the one we’re all familiar with: Internet-based, massive high-performance platforms taking full advantage of the plunging costs of computing to elevate mapping to its current status as a core component of the everyday web experience.


After a couple of decades of easy living, what would you do when confronted with the prospect of competing against lower-margin, faster-paced innovation?


You wouldn’t settle for half-measures, that’s for sure.  No, you too would get your lobbying group MAPPS busy helping draft something like H.R. 1604 “Map It Once, Use It Many Times”: a private sector takeover of Federal mapping activities in the United States.

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