Bill to expand geospatial imagery passes House

Bill would provide grants to states, tribes, schools to expand mapping capabilities

The House has passed a bill that would provide $10 million a year for a national grant program designed to make geospatial imagery more available and usable.

The bill would give that money to the Interior Department through fiscal 2019 to spend on grants to support geospatial imagery mapping projects. The bill passed by a vote of 379-33 on Oct. 27.

The bill seeks to expand the use of remote sensing data by state, local and tribal governments, educational institutions and industry. The measure is also designed to help states and Indian tribes build infrastructure to increase access to geospatial imagery for research and educational purposes.

According to the bill, as part of the outreach program Interior would:

  • Support education programs.
  • Identify new geospatial imagery needs.
  • Promote sharing of geospatial expertise between states.
  • Encourage more geospatial mapping education.
  • Provide a way for states and Indian tribes to transfer geospatial imagery and applications to the U.S. Geological Survey, which is part of Interior.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimated this bill would cost $148 million through fiscal 2014.

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Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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