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11th NSPS Competition Points to Bright Future for Surveying Profession

First place went to the team from Troy University. Photo courtesy of A. Richard Vannozzi, MS, PLS.

Gaithersburg, MD, March 22, 2012 – An impressive project submitted by a team from Troy University, Troy, Ala., on the theme “Surveying Applications in Geographic Information Systems” won first place in the 11th Annual NSPS Student Competition. The award presentation was held in conjunction with the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon (PLSP) conference in Portland, Ore., on March 13.

Eight schools with baccalaureate degree programs in surveying, surveying engineering technology and/or surveying engineering participated. Each competing team had four months to develop a project on this year’s theme, write a 30-page paper, prepare a map, and give a 25-minute presentation at the conference. Judges for the competition were Curt Sumner, executive director of NSPS; Patrick Beehler, past president of NSPS; Janet Wilkins, Bureau of Land Management; and Gary Anderson of West Lake Consultants.

“All the teams put a lot of effort into their projects, but the work done by the Troy University team stood out,” Sumner said. “They found a way to utilize GIS technology in the form of an Esri geodatabase to create something that is very useful for their community and for professional surveyors. The database they developed for Pike County, Ala., serves as a model for the rest of the state. The project is ongoing, with more geodetic data being pulled in.”

Sumner said all the teams were judged on procedure as well as content using a scoring system that awarded a total of 400 points. The Troy University team earned 359 points for the both project itself and their ability to communicate their approach. But he noted that the scoring was close between all the entries. Second place in the competition went to New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J.; and third place went to University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Five schools earned honorable mentions, including Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich.; Michigan Technological Institute; Houghton, Mich.; New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M.; Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, Ore.; and Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Ga. Each team received a crystal bowl or statue, and each individual on the teams received a participation ribbon and medallion in recognition of their efforts.

"Seeing these students from around the country leverage the new technologies in ways we never would have thought proves that the surveying profession's future will be bright,” said competition coordinator A. Richard Vannozzi, assistant professor of Civil Technology/Surveying and Mapping in the Thompson School of Applied Science at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.

“As professionals, we’re often limited by our experiences and by what has been done in the past,” Sumner said. “But these students don’t have those limitations. They are embracing modern technology and finding new applications. It’s really encouraging to see the potential of our profession through the eyes of the next generation.”

For more information about the 2012 competition or to find out how to get involved in the 2013 competition, email For additional information about NSPS, email

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