Point of Beginning

The Latest News

November 1, 2004
NSPS Foundation calls for disaster relief donations; USGS establishes National Geospatial Programs Office; USGS stops photographic production; ABET accredits Metro State surveying program; and NGS upgrades User Friendly CORS web service.

NSPS Foundation Calls For Disaster Relief Donations

The National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation (NSPSF) Inc. announced that, as of Sept. 11, 2004, all of the foundation's disaster relief funds had been given to the Florida Surveying and Mapping Society in response to the hurricanes that ravaged the southeastern United States in August and September. The NSPSF is a multipurpose, non-profit corporation established to preserve the past and invest in the future of surveying and mapping.

Because of the destruction created by Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan, the NSPSF disaster relief fund has been depleted. The Foundation has urgently appealed for any interested parties to give a tax-deductible contribution to replenish this fund. The funds received will be available not only for storm relief, but also for any calamity that affects NSPS members in the surveying, mapping and land information sciences. Checks should be made payable to the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation Inc., 6 Montgomery Village Avenue, Suite 403, Gaithersburg, Md. 20879.

Editor's Note: This report was compiled prior to Hurricane Jeanne, which caused further devastation to many Florida businesses and residents.

USGS Establishes National Geospatial Programs Office

In August the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) created a National Geospatial Programs Office (NGPO) to consolidate its geospatial data programs and to strengthen its research efforts. The creation of this office came as part of a reorganization that located the new NGPO within the Geospatial Information Office (GIO).

The National Geospatial Programs Office now oversees the portfolio of national geospatial programs for which the USGS has responsibility, including the Federal Geographic Data Committee, the Geospatial One Stop project, the Department of the Interior Enterprise Geospatial Information Management activity and The National Map.

The USGS decision to reorganize was a direct response to discussions with constituent groups about how best to meet their geospatial data needs and to recommendations from a report by the National Research Council of the National Academies.

USGS Stops Photographic Production

The USGS Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center has transitioned from providing traditional photographic products from its historical film archive to providing only digital products from which paper prints can be generated by computer-linked printers or plotters.

The USGS archives contain thousands of rolls of film with more than eight million frames of historical aerial photographs gathered from various federal agencies. The largest portion of this archive consists of original film taken during the 1940s through the 1970s to produce 1:24,000-scale USGS topographic quadrangle maps.

Since the early 1970s the USGS has offered a variety of photographic products from that archive, ranging from 9" to 40" prints along with 9" film copies. For the last few years there has been a decline in customer demand for paper prints and film products. Also, several major suppliers of traditional photo-processing chemicals, paper, etc. have converted to digital product lines and discontinued traditional raw materials. Therefore, with production expenses becoming increasingly higher than can be recovered through product sales, and with a fundamental transition in the photographic materials industry, the USGS discontinued its photographic product offerings as of Sept. 3, 2004.

The USGS/EROS Data Center now offers two new digital products. One of the new digital products is a high-resolution, digitally scanned product created at approximately 1200 dpi. Provided in a TIFF format, it has an output file size of approximately 120 megabytes from a black and white photograph and 360 megabytes from a color photograph. The cost for this product is $24 for cleaning and scanning each frame, plus the standard media generation costs of $45 per CD, $60 per DVD or $30 per file if using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

Another new USGS offering is a medium-resolution digitized product created at approximately 600 dpi. It has an output file size of approximately 15 megabytes from a black and white photograph and 45 megabytes from a color photograph, and is also provided in a TIFF format. The cost for this product will be $1 per file access fee along with the media generation costs.

ABET Accredits Metro State Surveying Program

The Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited the Metropolitan State College of Denver's Surveying and Mapping Program on Aug. 10, 2004. The accreditation is retroactive to October 2002.

NGS Upgrades User Friendly CORS Web Service

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) re-vised its User Friendly CORS web service at www.ngs.noaa.gov/CORS/download1/ to allow users to get data for the current day. This upgraded capability allows users to collect field data and process it using CORS data on the same day. With the growing use of laptop computers and wireless Internet connections, the surveyor or GIS professional can now collect data and process it in the field within an hour.