Letters to the Editor

October 1, 2001
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Letters about unlicensed surveying and the geomatics debate.

"Letter to the Editor"
November 2000

After reading David Hilbern’s letter encouraging the unlicensed practice of land surveying, I was left wondering why anyone in the surveying profession would suggest that someone “…just do it; start practicing.” While I agree that there is no substitute for acquiring surveying knowledge through practical application of mathematical and legal theory and principles, I can’t help but wonder whether Mr. Hilbern considered the obligation that the registered land surveyor has to the public. How can our clients have faith in us or our work if we don’t uphold the professional standards contained in the licensure laws of the various states?

I don’t agree with the opinion that “… our state of complacency … [has] allowed our own profession to fail.” If our profession is indeed destined to fail (which I don’t believe is the case), that failure could only be hastened by the attitude displayed by Mr. Hilbern.

Rather than complaining about the additional educational requirements imposed as a condition of qualifying to sit for the licensing exam, perhaps we should encourage those in our ranks that have not yet achieved licensure to further their education through tuition reimbursement plans and flexible hours. It is my own experience that, quite often, someone that makes the sacrifice necessary to attend school after normal working hours gains a greater understanding and appreciation of the meaning of the word “professional.”

Kevin J. Wolf, PLS
Via E-mail

"Editor's Note"
July 2001

I had to shake my head at the irony contained in your Editor’s note. The paragraph I’m referring to reads “Essentially, the definitions of both terms [surveying and geomatics] coincide, though there is some discrepancy. So why fix something that isn’t broken? We need to concentrate on other areas, like promotion of and recruitment for the industry.”

The fact that the profession has a serious problem promoting and recruiting indicates that something is, in fact, broken and in desperate need of repair. The usage of “geomatics” is an attempt to recruit young, talented students into the profession. People who were once turned off when they heard the word “surveyor” become interested when the broader term geomatics is used—to the point where many choose to find out more about all the various and exciting things we as “surveyors” or “geomaticians” do.

Michael Sartori, PSM
Gainesville, Fla.

The ideas and opinions expressed by our readers do not necessarily reflect those of POB. Send your thoughts to the editor at or mail to Letter to the Editor, POB magazine, 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Suite 1000, Troy, MI 48084.

The website for VOLGIS cited in the August Latest News story titled “Two States Showcase New Online GIS” was incorrect. The correct website address is: We apologize for the error.

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