Editor's Points: Accomplishing More by Working Together

Put people in a crisis situation, and one of two things usually happens: Either they fall apart and become helpless, or they find skills they didn’t know they had and figure out innovative ways to work collaboratively with others to overcome the hardship.

When the magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile off the coast of the Maule Region on Feb. 27, 2010, more than 500 lives were lost, and the country’s infrastructure was severely damaged. Much of Chile’s survey network was also destroyed. Dr. Mike Bevis, a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University, called the quake “a geodetic and surveying catastrophe.” The tasks that awaited Bevis and others on the international teams of experts who responded to the disaster must have seemed overwhelming--in fact, in this issue’s cover story, Bevis describes it as “being in a giant vortex and everything is spinning around.” Yet he and others rose to the challenge, working swiftly to rebuild Chile’s spatial reference system. It was a team effort that generated impressive results: Chile now has a substantially improved reference frame with the potential to create an active network of reference stations in the region that was hit hardest by the earthquake.

I’m always impressed by what people are able to accomplish when they work together in the face of a disaster. But even ordinary situations can be opportunities to create a positive outcome through collaboration. Take the five surveyors from different firms and varied backgrounds who traveled to west central Africa--despite challenges such as high temperatures making their equipment malfunction and the project scope creeping to become much larger than anticipated, they laid the framework in a matter of weeks for the region’s children to have a better future through higher education.

And as Matthew W. Loessin, RPLS, president of Frank Surveying Co. Inc. points out in “Success Within Bounds”, establishing partnerships and strategic alliances with other professionals and firms can strengthen a company’s service offerings and enable the team to achieve much more than a single firm could accomplish alone.

Whether your firm is looking to become more involved in GIS, get a foot in the door on laser scanning or get involved in a project for the greater good of others, reaching out to other professionals and firms can be a good way to generate new ideas and create a reliable go-to network when you hit an unexpected challenge.

Does your firm have a collaboration success story that you’d like to share? Contact me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Share your thoughts on this column at or

To contact the editor, send an e-mail to

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB.

Recent Articles by Christine Grahl

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.


POB May 2015 Cover

2015 May

In this May 2015 issue of POB, we take a look at the keynote on technology in the information age given by Andy Lowery, DAQRI CEO, at this year's SPAR International.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Surveyors, with the weather finally starting to improve everywhere, are you thinking about the long days to come? This summer, you are going to …
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.