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What is the status of the office of the county surveyor today?

November 18, 2002
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What is the status of the office of the county surveyor today?

If we were to create the profile of the average county surveyor based on the POB’s October Point of View “The Office of the County Surveyor,” the result would be a licensed surveyor who was a county employee at will, working full-time in a position that had existed for as long as most surveyors in that county could remember who had an even chance of being able to also perform private surveys or not. His/her county would also have a GIS/LIS division and would most likely have a state association for county surveyors.

In fact, 79 percent of the 126 people who responded to the poll said that their state had county surveyors. Of those who answered this question positively, 32 percent said their county surveyors were elected, 16 percent said they were appointed and 39 percent said they were employed at will.

A full 78 percent responded that the county surveyor positions in their counties were full-time positions, while 22 percent were part-time.

Most people who did have a county surveyor in their county, said they had been there forever! Eighty-two (82) percent of respondents claimed that the position had existed “as long as they could remember.” Only 6 percent said it had existed for 6-10 years and 7 percent said it had existed for only 1-5 years.

As to whether or not a county surveyor had to be licensed, an overwhelming majority, 94 percent, were required to be licensed. Five (5) percent said the position could go to either a licensed or a non-licensed surveyor and only 1 percent of those who responded to this question admitted to not knowing one way or the other.

The responses were just about even when it came to the question of performing private surveys, as 43 percent could not perform them and 57 percent said their county surveyors were allowed to perform private surveys.

Most of the respondents counties have a GIS/LIS division, 69 percent. About 25 percent do not have one and 6 percent said they did not know.

Seventy-six (76) percent of those who answered this poll have and/or use GPS.

An even 70 percent do and/or use GIS/LIS in their work environments.

By far, most respondents have nine or less staff members—62 percent. This is followed by 10-19 on staff at 16 percent; 100 or more at 6 percent; 30-39 at 6 percent; 40-49 at 4 percent; and 20-29 and 50-99 at 3 percent each.

Sixty-four (64) percent said that they had a statewide organization for county surveyors, and the remaining 36 percent said they did not.

Of those who answered this poll and were county surveyors themselves (44 percent of the total respondents) 42 percent were members of the National Association of County Surveyors (NACS). Fifty-five (55) percent said they did not and the most popular reason they gave for not belonging was not knowing the benefits of the organization. Other reasons were lack of funding and never having heard of the organization.

Most of those who responded to this poll were land surveyors, 88 percent. Engineers made up 4 percent and people who are both land surveyors and engineers made up the other 8 percent.

For more information on the National Association of County Surveyors (NACS) check out its website at www.naco.org/affils/nacs/index.html

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