Although the title of my last blog post "The Geospatial Data Act (GDA) of 2017 (S.1253) intends to kill our jobs" may sound dramatic and unlikely, a quick read of section 11 in the bill shows that it is clearly not. The vast majority of GIS professionals are not licensed engineers, surveyors, and architects. While I very much appreciate the work that these folks do the implications of Section 11 of this bill are big. This bill essentially means that geological maps will be made by engineering firms rather than by structural geologists. Habitat mapping will be done by engineering firms rather than federal, state, and academic biologists. Weather maps won't be made by NOAA and NWS any more.
SEC. 11. USE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR. (a) In General.--The Committee and each covered agency shall, to the maximum extent practical, rely upon and use private individuals and entities in the United States for the acquisition of commercially available surveying and mapping and the provision of geospatial data and services. The Federal Government shall not commence or continue any surveying and mapping activity to provide, duplicate, or compete with a commercial product or service if the product or service is available on a more economical basis from a commercial source (b) Definition.--For purposes of selecting a firm for a contract under chapter 11 of title 40, United States Code, the term ``surveying and mapping'' shall have the meaning given the term ``geospatial data'' in section 2 of this Act. (c) Modification of Federal Acquisition Regulation.--Part 36 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (48 C.F.R. 36.000 et seq.) shall be revised to specify that the definition of the term ``architectural and engineering services'' includes surveying and mapping services and the acquisition of geospatial data, to which the selection procedures of subpart 36.6 of such part 36 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation shall apply.