Point of Beginning

Live...from Washington D.C.!

April 24, 2002
Jerry McGray's take on the Big Show.

Thoughts from day one.

Your POB staffers are in our nation’s capitol to bring you news of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) XXII International Congress. To quote from the official program, expected are “…representatives from the nearly 100 countries who have member associations in FIG. Concurrent with meetings of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), and the Appraisal Institute (AI) it will be one of the largest international gatherings of professionals in 2002.”

I believe it. The exhibit hall alone is massive, with incredibly intricate kiosks and displays from hundreds of exhibitors. And the hotel – the Marriott Wardman Park - , although huge, seems swamped with the thousands of attendees.

But the real show is the setting. Oh, sure, I know – Washington is the home of the awful federal bureaucracy, “career politicians,” the infamous Beltway and so on. The place does take its lumps, to be sure. But if you can stand at the foot of the Washington Monument, gazing around at the Jefferson Memorial and the hundreds of old buildings, at living, breathing, history - without a lump in the throat and maybe even a tear in the eye, then your heart is a firm one indeed. I believe that every child in America should make the trip here; there’s nothing like being in Washington to bring home the wonder of this nation of ours – and of our government – inefficient, clunky, wasteful – and the greatest one on the planet.

Thanks, FIG, ACSM, ASPRS, AI… for bringing us all here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2000. Day 2.

From the ACSM/Federation of Surveyors (FIG) XXII International Congress. This convention is in full swing, featuring educational sessions, meetings, informal fellowship, and of course… exhibits! Yesterday’s highlights included the opening of the exhibit hall, a rousing opening ceremony featuring a keynote address by Jack Dangermond, founder of ESRI, and a host of receptions and gatherings. At the ACSM Awards Ceremony and Installation of Officers, POB’s editorial director Jerry McGray presented the annual Excellence in Surveying award to New Hampshire surveyor John Chagnon. John’s story is worth a closer look.

John Chagnon earned his award through his work with the Trigstar program. As most of us already know, Trigstar is the nationwide competition, sponsored by individual state surveying societies, for high school students in trigonometric calculations. The competions are closely monitored by volunteers; winners are selected by correctness of solution and time taken to complete the calculations. Cash awards for both students and their math teachers are featured; the amounts are typically substantial enough to provide plenty of incentive to both!

This program is one in which our profession can take a great deal pride.Look for a Trigstar article authored by John Chagnon in a future issue of POB.



From the ACSM/Federation of Surveyors (FIG) XXII International Congress… today’s the day for the informal gathering of rpls.com participants. As of Tuesday morning, some 20-odd signees were on the list maintained at the POB booth, with almost a day of signup remaining.

If you regularly visit rpls.com, either as a contributor or merely as a “lurker”, you are already aware that the posters take on unique identities – even if only in the mind of the reader! It’s similar to the phenomenon one experiences when dealing with a longtime client or associate whom one hasn’t actually met face-to-face. The telephone voice or e-mail image we visualize is invariably wrong. Same with rpls.com identities, but with yet another degree of separation – many posters use aliases or otherwise remain anonymous, for various reasons. So far, the signup sheet appears to have only real names! But the prospective gatherers have another, even more important thing in common. They are universally positive and upbeat about the rpls.com forum. It would be difficult to be otherwise; the wealth of information and wisdom that is displayed on that board every day is nothing short of amazing.

The gathering this afternoon promises to be memorable, with the unprecedented opportunity to put names with faces. One person who will not be present physically, but will certainly be there in spirit… is the late Mark Deal. As most know, Mark was the original creator of rpls.com. POB made arrangements with Mark to take over the administration of the board in late 2000. As was typical of Mark, he foresaw the need to make an orderly transition to another administrator. POB shares a deep commitment to upholding the values and intelligence with which Mark Deal imbued the living creation we all know as rpls.com.