Point of Beginning

Editor's Note

October 1, 2004
Modesty, aside.

Modesty and literature usually do not go hand-in-hand. The more modest the sources for stories, the harder the task of compiling copy. So it often goes for the life of the editor of a surveying publication.

Ring ring. "Hello, A Modest Man Surveying Company."

"Hello, I am calling for Mr. Modest."

"Speaking."

"Mr. Modest, my name is Lieca Brown. I'm the editor of POB magazine. How are you today? Keeping up with the thriving surveying business?"

"Oh, yes, just got us a pretty great job the other day in old untouched land in the mountains. Looking forward to tackling that one."

"Glad to hear it. Well, Mr. Modest, the reason for my call is precisely what we've already been talking about-the interesting projects you and your company undertake. I hear you worked on a project recently that utilized [fill in the blank with various types of technology and other details] for the purposes of a geographic information system, is that correct?"

"Yes, that's true."

"Well, Mr. Modest, I'm interested in writing up something on this project for publication in our magazine. Would you be willing to share more details with me?"

"Well... I don't know exactly how impressive a job it really is. I mean, we used some backpacks with GPS and it was an important job for the county, but..." [voice fades into a near whisper]

"But, Mr. Modest, I'm sure there are many other elements of the project that, if told, could be very beneficial and interesting to our readers."

"Yeah, I'm just not sure. It wasn't all that great."

Correction, readers: Every story is great. In its own way. And so is the technology you use, and the knowledge and acumen you all put into every individual job. Many of you are just too modest. And if you think that your "typical "˜ole' jobs" are "not that interesting," let me tell you what your peers think. Our readership studies cite verbatim responses to questions about what types of articles our readers would like to see in the magazine. Answers? More day-to-day surveying issues. So there you have it. Your peers want coverage of "typical" jobs. But, you're all waiting for each other to make the first move in submitting project details to the editor!

You know the feeling you get when you read a really great article? Especially one that has information you can use, or great stories you want to share? Well, that's how many readers might feel after reading your stories. You all perform some pretty awesome feats in your daily practice. Many of you, however, believe that others are more interesting than you.

It is true that we publish articles on "exotic" or "once-in-a-lifetime" projects, but this is because they've gotten greater attention from public relations professionals or come from larger companies that may have marketing personnel to do much of the writing.

But it doesn't have to be this way. POB does not have to publish the "super" jobs. The stories of the small business owner working on a boundary job can be just as exciting, and perhaps even more so. And I know you have these stories and like to share them because I see them on RPLS.com every day. Numerous stories and scenarios are presented to this cyber community along with just as many hypotheses, discoveries (good and bad), solutions and results. With anywhere from 200 to more than 500 messages posted to RPLS.com in a day-yes, a day!-it amazes me that when I call on story leads, I often get responses just short of bashfulness. Why is this?

Please realize that your position in the surveying profession, the daily jobs you undertake and the examples you set for the profession are nothing short of fantastic! Please, encourage each other to stick your necks out a little more. Consider submitting your stories to the POB Highlights in Surveying Project Contest. There could be a prize in it for you: recognition, a beautiful office plaque announcing your honor, a smattering of announcements about your award-winning story and plenty of reprints to spread around! Enter today! Your projects are interesting!