In January 1998, I wrote an article about the emerging technology and legal acceptance of electronic and digital signatures on computer generated drawings (POB Vol 23 No. 4). In this issue I want to revisit that field, with a short update on some of the state initiatives.
When I present this topic to land surveyors in various areas I still hear the question, "How do you prevent alteration of the drawing if you don't keep a hard copy?" Often this is expressed as a declaration: "Surveyors should not use electronic documents because you can't prevent them from being altered." I suspect this attitude evidences more a resistance to change than a considered objection to the technology. Simply stated, digital signature technology does a better job of protecting the integrity of a document than does a paper signature, but it is understandable that many people will not readily accept the process until they see a real need in their everyday business.