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Editor's Note: What tomorrow holds.

March 26, 2002
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“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay, author



Flipping through past pages of POB magazine, it’s amazing to see how the profession has changed in 25-plus years. Today, the surveying and mapping industry includes an ever-evolving realm of specialty areas and new technology. But what does tomorrow hold? I think the answer to this depends on individualism and a collective effort of all professionals in the industry to band together in its endeavors.

The surveying individual can succeed in his own right. He (or she) can interview himself as to what he wants from his efforts. He can set his own pace, raising the bar to fit his wants and needs. Whatever the level, each surveyor and mapper must acknowledge the changes in the geomatics industry: GIS, remote sensing and photogrammetry; stakeless construction grading; new technology including laser scanning and LIDAR; licensure and continuing education requirements…the list goes on and on. It can seem—and be—overwhelming sometimes, but the responsible professional will do his best to keep up-to-date on these changes and decide how they will affect him, and how he can use them to his advantage.

How many of you are receiving government requests for surveys to accompany public works jobs? Some surveyors may get more work because of problems with GIS, providing new opportunities and potentially more money in their pockets. For a land surveyor to prevent misuse of GIS in terms of land boundaries, he must learn and understand them. How about GPS work? Have you added this technology to your list of services?

Change can be slightly disturbing and often confusing. But, it doesn’t go away. Utilizing any and all resources to make clear decisions can only help the professional to excel in his profession. What are these sources? Your local, regional and national organization, including ACSM, ASPRS, ASCE and URISA. Your international representative, FIG. Industry message boards like www.rpls.com. Experts in your field (see the columns in this issue and the Industry Insider feature in the Convention Companion). Your competition. And trade publications covering the industry like POB magazine and POB Online.

Think of what the world would be like if you abandoned your role as a professional. More landowners would be “surveying” their own property. (Of course, these situations often lead to your day in court as a witness.) What would the legal books look like if you didn’t participate in judicial functions? Judges need your lessons on what a surveyor does to recover field evidence and to protect the public. You, the professional, should maintain the authority on land issues.

There are valid issues to address for surveying and mapping professionals to “invent” their futures. What will tomorrow hold for you?

To contact the editor,

send an E-mail to brownl@bnp.com or mail to 755 W. Big Beaver Rd.,

Ste. 1000, Troy, MI 48084.

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