About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents

Software Reviews
Sponsored By

Continuing Series
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By

Product Reviews
Partner Sites







Spatial Media LLC properties




Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Vantage Point: The Subtle Approach to Attract New Surveyors Print E-mail
Written by Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM   
Saturday, 18 February 2017

A 377Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Many years ago, what I thought was a friendship with another woman surveyor fell apart when she accused me of not being militant enough in pursuing equality and respect for women in our profession. We had joined forces to battle the overt sexism then prevalent in equipment advertisement, but apparently I was not confrontational enough to suit her in our other endeavors to support women from technicians to licensees. It saddened me both to lose all contact with that bright, energetic woman and to find that she believed there was only one way to achieve our mutual goals.

But subtlety does work. Sometimes it is called working from the inside, and sometimes it is called subversive. But banging someone over the head doesn't always work, so there has to be another way. In my own career I have had to use both blatant and subtle approaches to gain equal pay, stop sexual harassment, and take full credit for my work rather than see it taken by male co-workers. But this article is not about me or about women in our profession. It is about drawing new people into our field.

There are a number of programs with the objective of drawing and keeping young people interested in surveying and all its fascinating variations. Trig Star shows high school students that there are practical applications for the mathematics they study. (I wish I had known there was any practical application for all the math I enjoyed in junior high and high school; I only thought of word problems as fun puzzles.) The annual NSPS competitions between college surveying teams build the students' pride in their surveying abilities and their creativity both in problem solving and costuming. We also have videos and brochures to attract people to our profession, all very focused and very direct.

Recently, within a week of each other, I came across two very different ads that were not about surveying at all, yet each promoted surveying. The first was a poster in the Trenton, NJ train station, an ad for the United States Army. My photo in the dimly lit hallway doesn't do it justice, but it is very clear what the young man in the image is doing under the banner of "Kickstart Your Career." While I was trying to get a good shot of it, a lot of people walked past it distracted by their phones, their children, or tight train connections, but a few did glance at it. Thousands of people pass through this station daily; some are bound to say, "I don't know what that is but it looks cool, and I'd like to try it" or "Hey, that's a surveyor! I didn't know the Army did that!" It's a subtle way to advertise both a career in surveying and an application of the things we do.

The second ad was a fullpage affair in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which has a daily circulation of about 158,000 and a Sunday circulation of almost twice that. The names of various professions are woven into the shape of a tree, a variation on several similar ads for the paper's job seekers' website. Other ads have been in the shapes of shoes and other familiar objects, each formed of the names of various fields of employment, but this is the first time I've seen one with "Surveyor" in it. Again, this is not an ad for surveyors, but it loudly proclaims the field as a viable profession. And in the context of the other names in the same image, it links surveying to environmental practices, which is a good draw for another sector not drawn by the military ad.

In case it isn't obvious, I love surveying, and have ever since first discovering it. Unlike those who say surveying is a dying profession, I see many possibilities for applying our particular expertise. In 1983, I was part of a panel asked what we saw as the future of surveying. Part of my response was that land cannot be outsourced and that there will always be neighbors arguing over their boundaries (although BLM's new approach to surveying in Alaska will complicate matters there). Another part of my response extrapolated that view to any celestial bodies we might inhabit in the future. My opinion has not changed, and I still see a need to draw new minds to take our places as many of us age into semi or full retirement. But we haven't tried using the subtle approach, with examples of the possibilities illustrated by the two ads presented here. Should we be building more collaborative approaches to drawing newcomers? Should we approach other industries to suggest they feature surveying being applied in their own fields?

Wendy Lathrop is licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in NJ, PA, DE, and MD, and has been involved since 1974 in surveying projects ranging from construction to boundary to environmental land use disputes. She is a Professional Planner in NJ, and a Certified Floodplain Manager through ASFPM.

A 377Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< Prev

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Thought Leader: The Short Cut Method
I began my quest to become a land surveyor many years ago in Nebraska. I had the good fortune to have had a job wandering around the state retracing mile after mile of GLO surveys. These large scale boundary surveys offered all sorts of learning experiences. One of the object lessons came ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Boundary Fixed by Common Grantor
The case of Atwell v. Olson presented the Supreme Court of the State of Washington with the question of whether an agreed line between grantor and grantee is binding on subsequent owners? Here's another look at a grantee's meaning of the word "half." Unlike the case Wood v. Mandrilla ....
Read the Article
Barnes and Tucker 
Surveying the Colorado River Aqueduct
During the 1920s, the city of Los Angeles was burgeoning. Demographics were changing and geographic boundaries were being pushed out in all directions. Oil was booming, industrialization was in full swing, and water was in high demand. Southern ....
Read the Article
John Stenmark, PS 
Indoor Mobile Mapping Takes Off at LAX
Airports are key components of the global transportation infrastructure. They are complex, expensive investments that require tight management. In order to achieve efficient operations and optimized return on investment, it's essential to have ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Station to Station
Though most facets of the construction process stand to benefit from building information modeling (BIM), general contractors and construction managers could gain the most from the push toward its implementation. BIM, after all, is designed to help ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself: Thinking Inside the Box
A square's diagonal is intersected by a line from another vertex to the midpoint of an opposite side. A circle is inscribed in the triangle opposite the midpoint as shown. What is its radius if the side of the square is "s"? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: A Few Words
"Proceed to the route." These are words I sometimes hear from my car's GPS--as if I would be asking for directions if I knew how to get to the route in the first place. Yes, this is a machine's response that does not take human frustration into account. But even human communication can take ....
Read the Article


Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
contact Amerisurv


Trimble Intros
S5 Ti-M

press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content


News Feeds

Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 



The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax