The Latest News: February 2000
GIS Day 1999: An Event to RememberNov. 19, 1999, was a milestone for the geomatics industry: the first annual GIS Day. Headed up by the National Geographic Society, GIS Day 1999 was introduced to inform schools, businesses and the general public about the real-world applications of GIS technology. GIS users were encouraged to hold special events to share their work and applications. The initial goal was to educate over 1 million children and adults on the applications of geography and the science of GIS technology. Organizations promoted their events through newsletters, websites, conferences, presentations and the use of a special GIS Day logo. A GIS Day committee, comprised of the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers and ESRI (Redlands, Calif.), along with 12 associate sponsors, provided a CD of materials, such as posters, signs, PowerPoint presentations, banners, interactive activities and a screen saver, for event holders.
From Alabama to Wyoming and from Africa to Turkey, more than 1,900 organizations representing 25 industries in more than 90 countries registered to hold a GIS Day event, and pledges were received to educate over 1.2 million children and over 1.2 million adults. Seventeen governors and dozens of mayors declared Nov. 19, 1999, as GIS Day.
Many groups concentrated on educating children. The National Geographic Society held an inaugural event at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where children learned how GIS technology helps to visualize geographic situations and problems by mapping and analyzing large amounts of geographic data. ESRI President Jack Dangermond was the event's host. ESRI's John Calkins said the day was a great success and that the 150 children present especially liked tracking grizzly bears at Yellowstone National Park using GIS and learning how their environments are affected by the technology. The kids also enjoyed mapping the location of a new skateboard park using logistical planning techniques.
"They really liked looking at the digital orthos of their own neighborhood and being able to see their own houses. They said, 'Wow! You can do that?'" Calkins said.
Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala., presented "Mapping Your World," an informative webcast for teachers and students in grades K-12. More than 275 visitors from Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Spain and the United States learned a new way of exploring their world geographically by using GIS via the Internet. Using real-life examples, such as the evacuation efforts during Hurricane Floyd, the webcast provided insight into how GIS is used in everyday life.
Here are some other success stories:
Crossing BoundariesSurveyors in the United States who want interstate registration to become easier and more affordable can look north to Canada for guidance. Canada is nearing the approval stage for a countrywide model called the Labour Mobility Agreement that would allow interprovincial work. The agreement could provide greater access to qualified professionals and potentially provide more work for surveyors.
In the past, multiple provinces handed over interprovincial projects once they reached mutual borders. Lately, many surveyors have formed alliances with various provinces that allow one surveying firm to complete entire interprovincial projects. The Labour Mobility Agreement would provide a general legal platform for multiple provinces involved in projects that transcend interprovincial boundaries.
At the request of Canadian premiers, who are equivalent to U.S. governors, the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association (ALSA) is completing a required review of all aspects of provincial registration that restricts out-of-province workers from employment at their currently qualified levels of responsibility. The review specifically centers on residency, terms of articles, additional examinations, and excessive application and registration fees.
ALSA Registrar Jerry Rasmuson said he doesn't believe the current registration practices severely restrict the opportunities for other provincial qualified professionals.
The Western Canadian Board of Examiners for Land Surveying sets the criteria for all the western provinces and will evaluate the current entry-level qualifications to establish reasonable restrictions, focusing on the mandate of protecting the public. Rasmuson said there was talk within the board to eliminate different articles, getting it down to a statute exam with an hour oral exam and doing away with the paper part.
Though the review is still in its preliminary stage, the governmental bodies of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been communicating well on the issue. Rasmuson said he expects an agreement to be met by the proposed date of July 1, 2001.
ALTA/ACSM Minimum Standards RevisedThe NSPS Board of Governors approved the proposed 1999 amendments to the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys at their October 1999 meeting. The revisions eliminated the four classes of surveys (urban, suburban, rural or mountain and marshland). Revision of paragraph 5(d) states that the names and addresses of owners of adjoining platted lands need not be shown and that interior overlaps and gores for multiparcel surveys must be identified. Table A, item 7(c) now states that building heights shall be measured above grade at a defined location. Positional uncertainty analyses are now required under the amended Accuracy Standards.
To review the explanations for each revision, visit ALTA's website at www.alta.org. A set of printed brochures is also available from the NSPS. The first set is complimentary; additional sets are $3.00 each.
To obtain a set, contact: NSPS, c/o ACSM, 5410 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-2144. Phone: 301/493-0200; Fax: 301/493-8245; E-mail: email@example.com