ASPRS Offers Draft Procurement Guidelines for Comment


In this months issue of PE&RS (Vol. 74, No. 11, pp. 1286-1295), the ASPRS Procurement Guidelines Committee, an ad hoc committee appointed by the ASPRS leadership, published draft for review guidelines for the pucurement of Professional Aerial Imagery, Photogrammetry, Lidar and Related Remote Sensor-based Geospatial Mapping Services. The Committee includes represention from the ASPRS Professional Practices Division, ASPRS members from state and federal government, the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). The ASPRS is soliciting comments on these guidelines, with the intention of finalizing the document for ASPRS Board approval at its March 13, 2009 meeting. Comments should be forwarded via email to no later than January 15, 2009.

The definition of geospatial “professoinal” services, as described in such guidelines, has been a point of contention among surveying and mapping and geospatial organizations.  The Executive Summary of the ASPRS Procurement Guidelines states that:

“Professional” services are those services that require specialized knowledge and skill; require independent judgment; and have an expectation of ethical conduct and professional expertise such that the resulting services will represent the best interests of the client and public. Professional photogrammetry and related geospatial mapping services produce geospatial mapping deliverables and information where there is an expectation of spatial or thematic accuracy.

Professional photogrammetry and related geospatial mapping services are broad in scope and are not limited to those tasks that are regulated or licensed by states or other agencies. State laws vary widely and are not consistent in their definitions of which geospatial mapping services require a license. Further, licensure is intended to ensure a minimal level of competence to protect the public from serious harm. Procurement guidelines should meet a higher standard and seek to acquire services that are going to result in a successful project that best meets overall public interests.

The level of automation or standardization does not by itself distinguish professional services from technical services or products. Professional services may include automated or standardized processes that require the supervision of a qualified professional.

This broad definition of “professional” services includes the vast majority of photogrammetry, remote sensing and related sensor-based geospatial mapping services. Off-the-shelf products and technical services fall outside the scope of this definition of professional services. Technical services include conventional aerial photography with no direct geo-referencing, imagery for display only purposes, rote digitizing and similar processes.

Professional level photogrammetry, remote sensing and related sensor-based geospatial mapping services can be divided into two categories: 1) authoritative mapping that depicts the authoritative location of features, and 2) referential mapping that meets only general accuracies and does not depict or represent authoritative locations. Authoritative mapping is defined as “surveying” by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Model Law and in many state laws. Referential mapping is not “surveying” by the NCEES definition. Federal and state procurement laws may apply differently to surveying and non-surveying services. Both types of services require independent judgment and professional expertise and are considered by these Guidelines to be professional services for procurement purposes. ..

The debate surrounding who is a GIS professional (for the purposes of federal contracts) and how they should be ceritified may be found through the following links:


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3 responses to “ASPRS Offers Draft Procurement Guidelines for Comment”

  1. amurturge says :

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