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Our May issue is distributing and as usual it's full of great content. Included are articles about using GIS to manage an entire state, and using technology to reconstruct accidents. Please scroll down to see the rest of the articles.

The main focus of the new issue is our continuing coverage of the future of surveying. While our economy is buffetted by unilateral rule-making from Washington, the forces lined up against our profession seem to be taking that cue. More about this in Spotlight below.

To see the flippy of the new issue you can click on the magazine cover to the right, or scroll down for individual articles. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a story to share.

Until next time,

Marc Cheves, PS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
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Dr. Richard L. Elgin, PS, PE 
Thought Leader: Overcoming Weaknesses in Boundary Surveying
The surveying student in a two or four-year surveying program has a lot to learn these days. Broadly, the coursework for a licensed land surveying practice environment can be segregated into boundary determination (legal aspects of boundary location and resurveys on the various systems ....
Read the Article
Jeff Winke 
Spotlight: Small Precise GNSS Receiver
Too often reality falls short of expectations....the innovative product that truly isn't that great or the durable item that breaks after a few uses. That is why a product that appears to redefine the idiom "you get what you pay for" into "you get more than what you pay for" is worth noting. "We're ....
Read the Article
Anthony J Cavell, PS 
The Formation of Surveyors
It is always interesting to watch fads come and go, hemlines go up and down, and "political correctness" morph from one ideal to another. The practice of surveying is not immune to this. We've heard for some time, mostly from outsider to the profession ....
Read the Article
John DiConsiglio 
Minnesota: Stewarding a Proud Landscape
For the people of Minnesota, land--from the thundering river gorges of Gooseberry Falls to the 300-mile hiking trails of Chippewa National Forest to the towering cliffs at the Split Rock Lighthouse--is more than a tableau of natural beauty. It's part of their cultural identity. Ask the anglers ice ....
Read the Article
Eric Stahlke, PS 
The Final Voyage: Part 8
When Albert returned to the barge we transferred him to the waiting skiff and Alvin brought him 15 miles down the Koyukuk River to Hughes. Everybody in the village monitors channel 10 on the marine radio so it wasn't difficult to get someone from the health clinic to meet the boat when they arrived ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Streamlining Accident Investigation
The push to increase the speed and accuracy of accident investigations--and improve the safety of the personnel gathering the data at the scene--is an ongoing one, driven by research showing far-reaching benefits of doing so. Consider the ....
Read the Article
Fulvio Bernardini 
A Matter of Centimeters
Prior to the 1860 annexation of the Savoy region where Mont Blanc lies, Barre des Icrins--at 4,102 m (13,458 ft)--was the highest peak in France. The mountain is located in the French region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) and was ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself 30: Thinking Inside the Circle
Find a, b, and c, all integers, without the use of drawing instruments, scales or CAD programs. [The diameter of the circumcircle can be found from the sides of the triangle by the formula: 2abc/sqrt((a+b+c)(-a+b+c)(a-b+c)(a+b-c)), where a,b and c are the sides of the triangle. There are ....]
Read the Article
Michael J. Pallamary, PS 
The Curt Brown Chronicles: The Feasibility of a Technology Program
The greatest deficiency in the education of the land surveyor is in the area of boundary law and land planning. At Purdue University, a teaching position in this area has been offered. As is the policy of most universities, the qualification established was a Ph.D. and training in land location ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Another Chance at CFS?
The idea of a national Certified Floodplain Surveyor (CFS) program surfaced about midway through the tenure of the first Technical Mapping Advisory Council to FEMA (late 1990s). At that time, FEMA staff on the Council fully acknowledged the importance of surveyors in updating maps and as ....
Read the Article
Become a Certified Survey Technician (CST)

No matter what the future holds, prepare to meet challenges head on. Future-proof your resume by becoming a Certified Survey Technician (CST). This unique four-level certification program indicates official recognition by NSPS that a person can perform surveying tasks at a specific technical level.

Show what you can do! Decide between the field or office track. Visit the NSPS site for details.


Leading off the new issue is an article by renowned surveyor and educator Dick Elgin. In his article, Dick reiterates the need, and indeed the demand, that real experience still be required to sit for the exam. He discusses the requirements for teachers, and then goes on to propose that regional boundary institutes be established, and that they be online. Unanswered, however, is the need for mentorship and actual field evidence evaluation experience.

I still believe that the architects and Canada have it right: for both a period of apprenticeship under a licensed professional is required. This is not the first time we've heard the regional education idea. Years ago Joel Leininger proposed regional Institutes of Boundary Surveying, the certificate from which would be acceptable to the various of boards of registration. But again, what about hands-on experience? Book learnin' is definitely necessary, but for the protection of the public, so is real experience.

Moving on in the new issue, the new president of NSPS, Tony Cavell, examines ten reasons for why we are having trouble attracting new surveyors. Backed up by facts and figures, Tony does a great job of illuminating and debunking these reasons. Of particular interest to me are his comments about diversity. As he says, "Diversity for its own sake is foible, a failure of intellect." I look at how psychometrics has ruined the exam and shake my head. It's all part of the dumbing down of our society.

I still maintain that most of the problems can be solved by a decent land development economy, and with it, an increased demand for surveyors. Even in the midst of the worst economy since the early 1930s, look at the demand for surveyors that was created by the oil & gas activity in North Dakota and Montana. Granted, that demand has tapered off with the drop in the price for oil, but that's the nature of that industry. I have first hand knowledge of the cyclical nature of oil & gas—and the devastating collapse of land development surveying—because I had to move my family away from Oklahoma and Texas in the mid-80s to stay in surveying.

Rest assured that we have not finished with this subject. The forces lined up against us are moving ahead. For example, the Idaho board has already watered down the requirements to sit for an exam in that state. In the next issue, we will have a rebuttal from NCEES to the John Stock Thought Leader that appeared in our March/April issue. But remember, it's not only up to us to resist, but more important, to suggest solutions.

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Arithmetica to Showcase 360 Imaging and 3D Laser Modeling Technology
TerraSond Characterizing Offshore Sink Holes and Gas Seeps
Vexcel Holdings GmbH, Graz, Acquires Microsofts UltraCam Business Unit
DotProduct Announces Phi.3D 2.1
DotProduct Announces Dot3D, a New Multi-Platform Productivity Tool
Carlson SurvCE 5.0 and SurvPC 5.0 Released
Construction Material Prices Rise for First Time in Nine Months
Vexcel Imaging Introduces the UltraCam Condor for Nationwide Mapping
Leica Geosystems Launches 2016 Plan Contest
Timmons Group Attains Licensed Pilot, FAA Exemption
Aerial Surveys a Top Use for UAS Operations, AUVSI Report Finds
Hemisphere GNSS Announces Partnership Expansion with CPAC Systems
Blue Marble Wraps Up Successful User Conference Road Show
Topcon Announces Global Distribution Agreement with VMT GmbH
Leica Geosystems Opens Field Trial for Cloud Version of Leica Cyclone
Coventry Gets Sky Blue View with Bluesky Ultra High Res Photomap
Golden Software Releases Raster Tools, an Add-in for Esri ArcMap
Leica Geosystems Partners with DotProduct LLC, SpheronVR AG
MAVinci SIRIUS UAS: Discover the new 5.0 Features
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