Latest News

July 19, 2001
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Items in this month's Latest News includes information about 12 block IIR satellites, an updated ACSM brochure, a one-of-a-kind surveying museum, online GIS and the Canadian Labour Mobility Agreement.

A GPS satellite in the high bay assembly area showing the ITT payload.

Coming Soon: 12 Block IIR Satellites

How ahead of schedule do you get your projects done? Probably not as early as Lockheed Martin. A new contract by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Bethesda, Md., will push ahead a contract to upgrade up to 12 GPS Block IIR satellites by an estimated eight years. Lockheed Martin awarded the $39 million contract to ITT Industries’ Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD), Fort Wayne, Ind.

The satellite payloads will incorporate a second civilian signal and two new military signals. Other modifications to the GPS IIR satellites include increased signal power and the ability to reconfigure signals and power in orbit. The improvements provide better accuracy as well as more resistance to jamming. John Kirkwood, manager of public affairs for ITT Industries, said there are two reasons for the early modernization: an increased demand from the civil service sector and an increased demand from the military sector to provide more accurate and powerful signals.

Under the ITT/Lockheed plan, modernization of the IIR satellites will begin in 2003 and all 12 modernized satellites should be in service by 2006. Under the previous plan, the modernization wouldn’t begin until 2005 and would be available by 2015. Work on this contract will be carried out at ITT’s Clifton, N.J., facility. The contract was awarded to ITT in August 2000.

ITT is also working with Lockheed Martin on an architecture study of the design and production of the next GPS spacecraft, GPS III. GPS III’s goal is to ensure the best GPS system for the nation for the next 30 years, reduce long-term total ownership costs and offer possible augmentation opportunities. It is estimated to launch in 2009.

Updated ACSM Brochure Reaches a More Diverse Market

In an attempt to recruit future surveyors and mappers, ACSM updated its informative brochure of the industry, last printed in the mid-1980s. The National Society of Professional Surveyors’ (NSPS) Forum for Equal Opportunity, a sister organization of ACSM, oversaw the compilation and creation of the new brochure, which is marketed to a younger, more diverse group of people. According to Gail Oliver, PSM, County Surveyor of St. John’s County, Fla., and chair of the Forum, the brochure tries to be more inclusive by displaying cover photos that include women and minorities working in surveying and mapping.

The latest brochure includes a list of career opportunities such as professional surveyor, photogrammetrist, GIS manager, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Transportation and more. Since the 1980s many of these career areas have blossomed and allowed for surveyors to branch out into a larger job market.

The brochure also gives a brief description of older and newer disciplines including geodesy, photogrammetry, cartography, GIS, remote sensing, land surveying and spatial information databases.

The brochure covers education, experience and licensure issues in the surveying industry and includes a few website addresses for greater detailed information.

Oliver said a committee set up by NSPS is in charge of distribution, initially set at 100,000 copies. The brochure will be distributed primarily for educational and recruitment purposes at schools’ career days, national and state society meetings, and at colleges and universities.

Museum of Surveying is One of a Kind

There are thousands of topic specific museums in the world—wax museums, car museums, art museums, war museums … even museums centered on specific people: Lewis and Clark, Anne Frank, General Custer, Abraham Lincoln and thousands more. And, as most of you know, there is a museum focused specifically on the history of land surveying: The Museum of Surveying in Lansing, Mich. The museum, run and owned by the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) Foundation, opened in 1989 in Lansing’s museum district. Since it was established, the museum has continued to promote the integrity of the profession.

In order to reach a more diverse group of people, the museum launched a virtual museum of surveying, www.surveyhistory.org, which recently won an Academic Excellence Award. The website allows users to view old surveyor photos, features a reference page, contains links to dealers for the acquisition of surveying items, is a way to trace the date of old instruments, and has a fraud alert page. Bill Stark Jr., executive director of the Museum of Surveying says a number of people contact the organization from around the world through the website.

The Foundation is funded through memberships, donations and fundraisers. A new Buy-A-Brick program has been launched to raise funds for the upkeep and renovation of the museum and to install a new library to house the ever-growing collection of books. The program works by rewarding a $100 donation with an engraved 8x4 brick and $350 donation with an 8x8 brick. The engraved bricks will be displayed in a patio area in front of or beside the museum for all to see. POB magazine proudly contributed to the support of the museum with its recent donation.

The museum features numerous displays such as original bearing trees from Michigan’s first survey in the mid-19th century, original survey documents from that period, three solar compasses, Bausch and Lomb instruments and much more.

The Museum of Surveying is the only North American museum dedicated solely to the preservation of the history and heritage of surveying. Stark said that over the last few years the exposure (of the museum) on a national scene has grown quite a bit. The museum is visited by 10-30 people weekly and occasionally is explored by school groups. To find out more about the museum or to donate to the Buy-A-Brick program, call 517/484-6605 or visit www.surveyhistory.org.

VOLGIS is used mainly by surveyors, engineers and mappers.

Two States Showcase New Online GIS

Have you heard of VOLGIS? Now is a good time to get acquainted with it because VOLGIS is probably going to provoke a series of imitations in the not too distant future. A few months back, Vermont proved it is one of the vanguard with its free Vermont Online Geodetic Information System (VOLGIS), a geodetic control point location database.

VOLGIS was launched around April 2001, although the project evolved in the early 1990s from the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) database into a Vermont controlled geodetic program. VOLGIS is a web-enabled GIS application that allows users, primarily surveyors and engineers, to graphically locate geodetic control and download point descriptions. The control information available includes the NGS horizontal and vertical control points, the VTGS GPS control and the USGS bench marks.

Originally, this information was released on a CD-ROM. The response was great, but it wasn’t updatable. According to Dan Martin, geodetic program supervisor of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the CD-ROM is still available, but is static and has no graphical interface. With the online service (and database) the system can be regularly upgraded and enhanced. The criteria for warranting an update to the site are: at least a handful of new marks to add, a succession of new projects being completed in a short time frame, or if a major project was just completed and needs to be added.

VOLGIS features town and county boundaries, state highways, zoom in/out options and more. Multiple upgrades are planned for the future such as user tools, a redesigned interface, a zoom-to-town feature, a surface water feature and a display of all highways rather than major highways only. Martin said most people aren’t aware how much information is on the site and are usually surprised.

Though VOLGIS is mainly used by surveyors, engineers and mappers, the website is open to anyone at anytime. “VOLGIS saves us time and money in the long run because people can access the information online instead of going through us,” Martin added. It looks like it’s a win–win situation for Vermont.

To access VOLGIS, go to http://vcap.aot.state.vt.us and click on VOLGIS.

The state of Washington has a similar online project that was launched on June 1, 2001. The Washington Council of County Surveyors (WCCS) and the City of Seattle instituted a statewide survey control data-warehousing project. The web-mapped interface service is open to private and public sectors to search for survey control and monuments statewide, print detailed reports or download electronic files. The online portion of the project was completed with a budget of under $20,000. To see the site, visit www.surveycontrol.state.wa.us.

Canadian Surveyors Go Mobile

So you’re a licensed surveyor for a certain state (let us use Texas as an example) and you want to do surveying work in Ohio. Well, go ahead. Bzzzzzzz. Wrong answer. As all of you should know, the individual state licensure makes it really hard (and illegal) to work in a state unless you’re licensed there. Interstate registration is a volatile subject. Some surveyors are for it and some are against it. Those of you who are for it should celebrate the passing of Canada’s Labour Mobility Agreement, recently passed in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, on June 16, 2001.

The Labour Mobility Agreement allows professional land surveyors the opportunity to work in another province or on federal Crown land with only an examination in subjects that are unique to that area. Of course, the surveyor must hold a surveying license to practice in any province from the local self-governing professional association. To get a license a person must get a university degree (or equivalent) and work with a land surveyor to gain experience and eventually pass a series of professional exams.

The agreement, part of the Agreement on Internal Trade, is an effort by the government to remove and reduce interprovincial barriers. The agreement was spearheaded by the Canadian Council of Land Surveyors (CCLS). There are nine provincial associations and one national association that are participating in the agreement. According to Greg Browne, CCLS president, “This is an agreement that eliminates unnecessary trade barriers to ensure that land surveyors can pursue opportunities anywhere in the country.” The interprovince agreement is currently in place.

“CCLS will review the agreement on an annual basis,” said Sarah Cornett, executive director for CCLS. Cornett said that the council acts as a kind of overseer of the agreement and tries to field problems and concerns from the provinces. U.S. surveyors, for or against interstate registration, should keep abreast of how the Canadian Labour Mobility Agreement pans out. c

Associate Editor Sharon Oselin compiles “The Latest News.” If you have a timely, newsworthy item, please call her at 248/244-6465. Also visit www.pobonline.com for weekly news updates.

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