Cutler Geospatial (GIS) Coordinating Council Legislation Gains Committee Approval
12/6/2011
HARRISBURG – The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) that would create a State Geospatial Coordinating Council to assist the governor in the creation of uniform data standards and efficient geospatial policy and technology throughout the Commonwealth.

“Currently, this geographic mapping data is kept by each individual county, which has led to duplication, inefficiency and gaps in information,” said Cutler. “My legislation would provide the Commonwealth with a central clearinghouse that will allow for standardization, streamlining and accuracy. Having a state-level coordinating council provide coordination, cooperation and communication would be very beneficial for emergency planning and response purposes. Our first responders need accurate street information and the location of hazardous areas, like toxic waste sites. This council would ensure the precise documentation of such information.”

House Bill 1701 would create a 19-member State Geospatial Council and would establish the Mapping and Geospatial Technologies Fund for the administrative and personnel costs of the council.

Geospatial technology assists people in their everyday lives. It allows first responders to find a person’s home in a matter of seconds, law enforcement to track criminals, and meteorologists to better forecast weather patterns, along with countless other tasks. It takes the use of a geographic information system (GIS) and expands it into a wide array of applications for use just about anywhere in the world.

Cutler noted that Pennsylvania is behind the majority of states in the area of geospatial mapping as one of only four states that does not have a statewide geospatial coordinating council.

“Although there is a slight cost to establishing the council, these costs now are carried by our 67 county governments, and this fragmentation actually ends up increasing expenses,” said Cutler. “Some counties may not have the manpower to attend to this type of in-depth mapping, while at the other end of the spectrum, many local governments are using geospatial technology for infrastructure projects and homeland security, and they may be duplicating each other’s efforts. The place for a geographical information systems clearinghouse is at the state level.”

According to the Geospatial Information and Technology Association, the combination of the data and the ability to manipulate it, provides government agencies, utilities and private industry with a new tool to increase opportunities and efficiency. Among the many benefits of a council are its low cost, data-sharing ability, and enhancement of public safety, economic development and environmental protection efforts.

House Bill 1701 will now go before the full House for consideration.

More information about Cutler and his legislative priorities is available at RepCutler.com or Facebook.com/RepBryanCutler.


State Representative Bryan Cutler
100th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
717.783.8063
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