August 1, 2005
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BLM partners with Oregon Institute of Technology geomatics program; NCEES updates exams and support; and mural highlights surveying business.

OIT geomatics students stand behind a display of antique surveying equipment they exhibited at the official announcement event of the BLM and OIT agreement.

BLM Partners with Oregon Institute of Technology Geomatics Program

The geomatics program of the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a new five-year partnership on May 23, 2005. According to the terms of the agreement, the BLM will fund OIT with about $150,000 a year through 2010. The agreement is intended to support expanding enrollment in OIT's program to meet the current shortage of cadastral and land surveyors. The agreement also funds support for an additional OIT faculty member and an outreach program to Native American tribes. Currently, OIT's geomatics program has 44 students enrolled, and offers an ABET-accredited bachelor of science degree in geomatics. Past agreements between OIT and the BLM have provided summer internship scholarships for students. Now, in addition to funding support, the BLM will help OIT identify new faculty members and develop industry partnerships to foster equipment donations for the program. Part of the new agreement requires OIT to develop an emphasis on public land surveying and to partner with Native American tribal groups in the region to promote and encourage geomatics education for tribal members. This Native American outreach focus is driven by a massive need for surveying of Indian lands, and will enhance the ability of BLM to achieve its national mission in these areas.

NCEES Updates Exams and Support

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) announced the exam pass rates for April 2005. For the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam, 57% of first-time takers passed, and 26% of repeat takers passed. For the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam, 73% of first-time takers passed, and 33% of repeat takers passed. In addition, NCEES released new exam specifications based on the results of the 2003 Professional Activities and Knowledge Study (PAKS). These new specifications correspond to the new FS and PS exams that will be administered for the first time in October. Both FS and PS exam specifications can be downloaded in PDF format from Additionally, NCEES has revised its exam study guides, which can be ordered online. New editions of FS Sample Questions and Solutions and PS Sample Questions and Solutions are available. NCEES has also implemented a tip line to report security breaches or exam irregularities. Anyone reporting an incident has the option of remaining anonymous. The tip line can be accessed in three ways:
  • Call 800/250-3196, extension 296, and leave a message.
  • Call 800/250-3196, extension 467, and ask to speak to the compliance and security manager.
  • Complete an online form at tipline/.

Gregory Pearce stands in front of a section of the mural he created for Allen Instruments' office. The mural educates viewers about the applications of surveying.

Mural Highlights Surveying Business

Al Lehman, president and owner of Allen Instruments and Supplies, had a blank 14' x 60' exterior wall on his store in Scottsdale, Ariz.-and he wanted to use it as a canvas for an "artistic presentation" of his company. In February 2004, Lehman hired Gregory A. Pearce, owner of The Mural Company, Tempe, Ariz., to fill the blank wall with artwork representing Allen Instruments' business. Allen Instruments supplies measurement products and technologies to the surveying, engineering, mining, construction and mapping industries in the Southwest. Because of the wall's size, Allen Instruments' mural proposal was deemed public art. Consequently, the company was required to obtain permission from the city of Scottsdale and neighboring businesses before going forward with the project. In May 2004, the city approved the mural proposal, and Pearce began his work. The painting of the mural lasted more than eight months, and was officially completed early this year. The finished mural's composition represents the harmony that exists between humans, the elements and technology. The design also shows potential and actual uses for GPS surveying equipment, including applications used in construction, transportation, and wildlife and natural resources preservation. In addition, Pearce's mural incorporates the Arizona state bird, tree and flower, and other symbols of the Southwest. The mural is meant to be educational as well as artistic.

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