Mapping Science Committee



About MSC

The Mapping Science Committee organizes and oversees The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine studies that provide independent advice to society and to government at all levels on geospatial science, technology, and policy. It also addresses aspects of geographic information science that deal with the acquisition, integration, storage, distribution, and use of spatial data. Through its studies, the committee promotes the informed and responsible development and use of spatial data for the benefit of society.

To conduct its task, and recognizing that the mapping sciences are highly interdisciplinary, the committee draws upon the experience and knowledge of its members in a wide variety of mapping science-related disciplines, including cartography, geography, environmental science, engineering, computer science, geodesy, surveying, remote sensing, photogrammetry, cognitive psychology, mathematics, information science, and other disciplines. Furthermore, the committee tracks and hosts discussions on mapping science industry initiatives and advancements, with the goal of increasing collaboration and synergy among business, government, and academia where it has value for the nation. Similarly, the committee tracks international mapping science research and technology advancements that may have value to the nation.

The topics of interest to the committee cover mapping science and spatial data issues related to:
Science and technology for advancing geographic data collection, including global positioning and other location services, remote sensing, photogrammetric and surveying procedures, and sensor networks;


  1. Science and technology on compilation, integration, sharing, and mining of spatial databases;
  2. Research on policies affecting the development and use of spatial data throughout society (e.g., benefits, risks, and unintended consequences), including policies on relations among government, business, and academia in the conduct of mapping science research, programs, and activities;
  3. Technological and institutional developments needed for improving spatial data use;
  4. Coordination opportunities and efforts from local to global scales for the archiving, dissemination, and use of spatial data;
  5. Human resources and education in support of the advancement of mapping science;
  6. Hardware and software systems in support of the use of spatial data and services; and
  7. The science, technology, and art of visualization and presentation of spatial information.