Letters to the Editor

Where Do Thought Leaders Meet and Collaborate for Transformational Change?

Times do change.  While it is human nature to lament this fact, I’ve learned over the years that change is often a constructive thing.  This is especially true when we are willing to look at change as an opportunity rather than a loss.  Sometimes the biggest changes and challenges hold the greatest potential for transformation.  This isn’t easy stuff, and it requires a disciplined approach to looking forward rather than back. 

Transformation usually starts with a decision.  Often this decision is to take control of the situation and to envision a new way of doing things (rather than merely reacting to changes happening to us).  In my experience this is when change is energizing.  I have seen firsthand how it can energize individuals and organizations as they rally to a new vision that leads to movement in a new or more clearly defined direction.

The February issue of Professional Surveyor contain a collection of inspiring essays on the future of land surveying.  A common thread in all of these essays is the embracing of transformational change. They indicate an energy for embracing change with such phrases as “overwhelming choice and opportunity,” “wave of new and exciting opportunity,” “eager and hungry for this technology,” “learn to deal with the changing needs of society,” “wide-eyed enthusiasm,” “revitalize the surveying brand with a modern identity,” “riding the wave into the future,” and “modify our scope of services to fit our potential market.” These essays look forward, not back! 

One amazing change we have all seen is how we communicate.  Consider how we use emails, cell phones, and the internet.  While these modes of communication are efficient, they also have the potential to replace more personal and strategic interaction.  This brings me to a question I have been thinking about:  “Where and how do the thought leaders and future leaders in land surveying and related fields have face-to-face conversations and learn from each other?”

The word “conversation” is key here, because only through face-to-face communication can we effectively and creatively bounce ideas back and forth, key off of each other’s ideas, and envision the future together. This is important not only to surveyors themselves but also to companies that provide them with products and new innovations.  Ideally, vendors need to be part of that conversation in order to stay relevant and be part of the change.

There is now, more than ever before, an opportunity to transform the conventions of the past into a new kind of meeting.  One idea is to have an annual meeting that would draw thought leaders from around the country annually to Washington D.C.  This would facilitate attendance by our federal agencies with travel budget constraints.  It would also provide easier access to legislators and policy makers. Leaders from our federal, state, and local agencies and state societies, teachers and students from surveying programs at colleges and universities, leaders from a broader range of geospatial sciences, and vendors and innovators could all join together to look into the future.  This could be an energizing transformation from the national conventions of the past to a more collaborative meeting of the future!

Rhonda Rushing
Berntsen International
Madison, WI

A Jewel

Dear Professional Surveyor,

I have just finished reading the future of surveying essays in your February issue.  I am impressed with the students who see a bright future in this profession. They see the endless possibilities with the new technology that they are learning at a young age.  This will enable them to transform how we do work as a profession and aid in integrating surveying with GIS and 3D modeling.  I sometimes wish I was 25 and starting out.

I hope they also take time to learn from the older generation who will teach them about law, historical deed research and fitting field information to record information. This is of course our hardest challenge.  I have always felt our profession will remain necessary, as we do retracement surveys, draw maps and stake out property lines, with the understanding that there are two sides to each property line and we are bound by the principle that each adjoiner gets what they are legally entitled to.  We are not called upon to take sides, but to protect everyone’s property rights when doing any survey. 

I also enjoyed the essay by Jeffrey Thomas Baldwin, especially his “Pulse Wave Reflex” device that he invented for his article. It is not too far away. He sounds excited about the future of surveying. His closing paragraph is a jewel and needs to be read by all.

Kerry Hotaling
Ludlow, MA

Modern Safety

Dear Editor:

In February, Professional Surveyor Magazine wrote a story, “An Uphill Battle for Height.”  It shows me that man still wants to climb tall heights like they did twenty years ago.  With your help and the top-grade equipment and survey tools, many young surveyors will come back down.

Thank you,
Jimmie Breaux
Kaplan, LA

Mr. Breaux, thank you for the postcard!

Best Issue Ever!

Shelly, Gavin, and Neil,

You folks have really outdone yourselves this time.  I just finished reading the March Issue, and I think
it is overall your best issue EVER! (and not just because I have an article there).

The differences of views, the broad range of technologies, the incredibly interesting story on sign inventory by John Stenmark, the NSPS page calling for us all to embrace National Surveyors week, and on and on.  Of course, any issue with an article by Knud Hermansen gets a plus. 

I am 66 and long past where I am current on the rapidly changing technology, but even to me the tech articles were fascinating!  (I have a 20” paragon and a steel tape downstairs if you get my drift.)

Thank you all for your friendliness and endless support of this great profession. I am very proud to be a part of what you create.

William E. Beardslee PE, PLS, PP
West End, NC

An Open Letter to our Professional Surveyor Societies

Greetings, fellow surveyors.  As you know, the NSPS is currently proposing a 100% “All In” membership program at a modest cost that will unify the surveying associations throughout the United States. This program will strengthen the survey profession’s collective voice and enhance our national influence. In order to protect the future of our profession, the surveying community must become proactive, and the first step is to collect our membership into a single, unified organization that is represented by, as near as possible, 100% of the surveying profession. We are having considerable success with this program but still have a ways to go. As of today, 18 state societies have gone “all in,” and the membership of 11 state societies already has voted positive for membership approval. So, we invite your society to join us in this endeavor.

Friends, this is your opportunity to make a difference! I urge you, don’t let it slip away. It is up to us to protect the future of surveying and leave a legacy for those who follow in our footsteps. We need to educate the general public that surveyors are the land boundary experts and that land surveyors have always held the role of evaluating evidence, locating property boundaries, and establishing new property lines. We should also enhance our influence and our focus on such issues as attracting young folks into the profession, data management, geomatics, GPS, GIS, geodesy, construction surveying, and all the other myriad issues that keep cropping up. These are the challenges before us, and we need your help in guiding the way forward for our profession, which is, as we all know, the greatest profession in the world!


As Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together or we shall most assuredly all hang separately!”  

Thank you and best regards to you all,
David L. Holland
NSPS Governor, Virginia


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