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Editor's Points - Educating inside and out.

December 1, 2007
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Many think education is one of the keys to the success of a profession. In a profession like surveying where educational opportunities--through rank or institution--have decreased over the years, and where the general public lacks knowledge about the vocation, one wonders what its fate might be.



At the start of 2007, we published an article that included interviews with the heads of our industry’s three leading manufacturers, all of whom stressed the importance of education as being the key to the future. The views we published held that state societies, vendors and educational facilities all need to offer more courses on evolving technology. Apparently somebody got the message. A few somebodies.

In the past year and a half, we’ve reported on several new programs for the surveying and mapping arena. Western Kentucky University rolled out a new certificate in land surveying that requires a shorter plan of study--ideal for many surveyors and engineers with BS degrees in related fields. Oklahoma’s Tulsa Community College established a new Associate of Applied Science degree in civil engineering/surveying technology. Central New Mexico Community College is progressing with its new two-year certificate program in geomatics. Nevada’s Great Basin College announced its offering of a four-year degree program in land surveying/geomatics. Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science in Boca Raton announced a new four-year geomatics engineering degree program, and the University of Florida in Gainsville began offering courses on laser scanning technology and techniques. And in this issue’s Newsline, we provide details on the new one-year land surveying certificate program offered at Tidewater Community College (TCC) in Hampton Roads, Va. TCC’s program is based on the newly established civil engineering program at San Jose’s Evergreen Valley College.

Now that's a pretty good response to a profession in need of new educational opportunities. And I didn’t even highlight the many new distance and continuing education options; there’s an impressive lineup of these as well.

This is a great start for building a new foundation of success. Regardless of what your state requires for education to serve as a licensed surveyor, there’s a greater chance now that a facility near you can provide the instruction. While we aren’t able to report fully on the success of these programs to date because most were recently launched, the prospects are good that at least a few of them will be given their own high marks. Stay tuned for reports on these programs and potentially even more new ones launching across the country.

Other Efforts

Running parallel to these educational opportunities is the effort to educate the public about the profession, thereby attacking the issue of recruitment. My prize of the year in this category goes to the California Land Surveyors Association (CLSA). The CLSA developed an impressive and attention-grabbing campaign to promote careers in the surveying profession. The short video geared toward high school students includes it all: the what, the why, the who, a history snippet, the how… and a plug for the comprehensive Web site surveyingcareer.com.

The CLSA also developed its own Web site (surveypath.org), printed material that complements the video and added the video to today’s online hotspot, YouTube. The association got its chapters involved and mailed out information packets to all California high school math department heads and career centers. Smart. They saw a need, set a goal and did something about it--and well.

What’s more, for a fee, the CLSA has offered other surveying state societies and associations around the United States the opportunity to order a customized recruitment video. Have any signed on? Yes. In fact, 12 states and counting. As with the state education programs, it will be some time before any possible “fruits of labor” will be evident, but we can be confident that efforts are being made for the betterment of the profession.

To contact the editor, send an e-mail to hohnerl@bnpmedia.com.

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