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December 21, 2000
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The latest news in surveying and mapping.

From Investment to Acquisition: Leica Acquires Cyra

In April 2000, Leica Geosystems, Heerbrugg, Switzerland, took a minority investment position in Cyra Technologies Inc., Oakland, Calif. In November 2000, Leica executed an agreement under which it fully acquired Cyra. In that seven months, senior managers from both companies identified numerous opportunities to significantly leverage each other’s core strengths, Leica completed a public offering on the Zurich exchange and Cyra began shipping its second-generation products, the Cyrax 2500 laser scanner and Cyclone 3.0 software. The favorable market response to the laser scanner and software products not only created additional business opportunities but also stimulated demand to accelerate additional product development and increase Cyra’s international marketing presence.

As a wholly owned subsidiary, Cyra will now be able to take further advantage of Leica’s significant technical, manufacturing and business strengths to accelerate the growth of its laser scanning systems and software products.

Hans Hess, CEO of Leica Geosystems, maintains a seat on Cyra’s Board of Directors. Ben Kacyra, Cyra CEO, and Eric Herr, board member and former president of Autodesk, occupy the other seats. Erwin Frei, Leica Geosystems VP of Strategic Business Management, will relocate to the Oakland area and assume CEO responsibilities at Cyra sometime this year. Cyra will operate independently, building on its existing sales/dealer/support channels and maintaining complete autonomy to select optimal distribution channels worldwide.

“This acquisition reflects the shared vision of Cyra and Leica Geosystems about the upcoming fundamental change in the survey and measurement industry to move rapidly from being tool centric to becoming information technology centric. This change will allow industry professionals to take full advantage of the current revolution in information technology and computer automation,” Hess said.

Surveyors and GIS-ers Reach Accord

After 13 months of negotiation, 32 teleconferences and more than 650 invested hours, representatives from five professional surveyor organizations and two GIS organizations reached an agreement on changing the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Model Law that defines the practice of surveying for which licensure is required.

NCEES task force members recognized that GIS/LIS tools are potentially being used by non-registered practitioners in areas of practice that clearly fall within the long-established responsibility of the licensed surveyor.

The representatives of the seven organizations recommended modifications to the Model Law that would remove potential ambiguities and clearly identify those activities requiring the services of a registered professional, while continuing to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare.

To download the entire report of recommendations, visit: http://www.

asprs.org/asprs/news/ncees_frame.html. Click on “GIS/LIS Addendum to the Report of the Task Force on the NCEES Model Law for Surveying.”

If NCEES modifies its Model Law, then each state could modify its laws regulating professional licensure of surveyors and civil engineers. Such action will require a concerted political advocacy effort by individuals and professional organizations alike.

Van Clinkscales presents his asset management seminar.

Texas Convention 2000

The Texas Society of Professional Surveyors (TSPS) held its annual convention Oct. 18-22, 2000 in Austin, Texas. It’s hard to say whether one should emphasize quality or quantity for this show, according to our Editorial Director Jerry McGray.

Nine hundred seventy-five attendees sat in on several four-hour educational seminars conducted by a line-up of nationally prominent speakers, including GPS and survey instrument expert Dr. Joseph Paiva; nationally known surveying business authority Van Clinkscales; well-known speaker Knud Hermanson; network adjustment expert Dennis Shreves; GIS manager Jeff Meyerson; and historical authority Terry Cowan. An educational field trip took visitors to the General Land Office of Texas, the repository of all Texas’ original surveys, grants and patents.

“All told,” said Anne Glasgow, executive director of TSPS, “there were some 1,460 seats occupied at the educational sessions, potentially resulting in 5,840 continuing education credit hours awarded!”

In addition to the notable speakers were a host of honored guests, including ACSM’s Executive Director Curt Sumner; NSPS President Tommy Brooks; NSPS Governors Jerry Goodson (Chairman), Gerry Curtis and Hardy Seay; and Steve Frank, president of the New Mexico Professional Surveyors (NMPS).

The Texas society set new records at the show with 52 different exhibitors displaying their wares in 90 booths.

Outgoing TSPS President Pat Smith, said: “All the comments I heard indicated this was the best TSPS convention ever.” And according to McGray, that’s high praise indeed, considering the caliber of preceding TSPS conventions.

Forum Discusses Licensing Dilemma

The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) jointly orchestrated a conference in late October/early November that brought together about 200 people for an in-depth probe on licensing. Among the gatherers were several ACSM members, representatives from various state licensing boards, and individuals who practice photogrammetry, remote sensing and GIS from both the public and private sector.

The initial purpose for the conference was to hold a “chat.” The chat, however, led to serious scrutinization of three primary topics: 1) licensing agreements for data use by government entities and the private sector from firms that process the data; 2) professional licensing of those who practice within the area of data collection and processing, in addition to those already licensed, i.e. surveyors; and 3) certification of data with regard to its lineage/source, completeness, accuracy, and dependability.

If data is licensed rather than purchased, how will this affect the cost of the products?

Do government “public domain” and “freedom of information” laws and OMB Circular A-130 preclude the use of licensed data?

The advent of commercial data raised the question of the potential need for “certification” of data to assure its accuracy and integrity.

Who should certify data, which data to certify, and liability issues were discussed.

Photogrammetric surveyors do not normally provide those services for which knowledge of state specific legal principles is required. This oversight led to much discussion about licensing during the conference. Another major concern discussed is the portability of the license. The practice for photogrammetric surveyors is uniform from state to state and is not affected by the legal aspects of surveying. Yet, there is no mechanism in licensing laws to recognize this. Therefore, photogrammetrists are held to the same criteria as those whose practice does require knowledge of state specific laws. This inhibits their ability to continue the multi-state practice, which has been allowed, although their practice (topographic surveying) has been included in the definition of surveying.

Some at the conference suggested creating a national license for photogrammetric surveyors, which would require the establishment of a national entity to regulate, examine and monitor photogrammetric surveying practice.

The conference sparked a plethora of ideas and possible solutions. The issues are intense and important, and it will take the dedication of surveyors working together with their state and national organizations, and the various state licensing boards and NCEES to elect an acceptable solution that will unify the profession in a fair manner.

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