Point of Beginning

What's the deal on the "New ACSM"?

August 6, 2002
What's the deal on the "New ACSM"?

When we decided to ask for your opinions on the “New ACSM” we knew we would get mixed responses. It’s a subject that not everyone agrees on, and some aren’t sure where they stand yet, since the new plan has had little time to develop. It wasn’t clear which way the majority of you were leaning on the subject.

As predicted, the responses that came in were mixed. Looking at all the questions as a whole, about half of the responses to each question were favorable. The remaining half was divided most of the time into one group that felt very unfavorable about the new plan and its value, and another group that was unsure or had other comments and responses.

Of those who chose to respond, the majority actually favored the plan for the “New ACSM.” Just over half (55%) of the respondents said they favored the idea, while 21 percent oppose the plan, 17 percent were indifferent and 7 percent didn’t yet know how they felt.

The answers to the question of whether or not the surveying and mapping profession will have more or less of a voice lined up with the numbers of those who favored and those who opposed the plan. Fifty-two percent (52%) responded that there would be more of a voice at the national level for surveyors and mappers, 38 percent said there would be less of a voice and 7 percent went so far as to say they would have no voice at all at the national level.

Will the new structure allow the “Big Picture” to be considered? Here are your predictions: 45 percent say yes it will be considered, 28 percent feel that it will not be considered and another 28 percent feel that the big picture would be considered sometimes.

Instead of allowing the Big Picture to be considered, we wondered if you would believe that this effort would only serve to segment the profession. The responses to this inquiry were almost even. Forty-one percent (41%) believed that it would indeed segment the profession, while 38 percent felt that it would not and 10 percent believed that it would to some extent.

Some comments that we received on whether or not the profession would be segmented were:

“Yes [it will segment the profession].The national representation of surveying has had a closed mind for years as to how and why surveyors should be leading the charge in the mapping business. They have continually placed their heads in the sand and hoped that the other areas that have evolved with new technological advances will just plain go away or beg us to lead them when we have forgotten how to lead.” Indiana PE/PLS/PM

“[It may segment the profession] somewhat. I think the profession is, by its nature, segmented. As are the legs of a table. The membership of each "leg" must recognize the interdependency of the whole structure. The effectiveness of ACSM on the national level has great potential.” Vermont LS

We also asked you how effective you believe the new plan for the ACSM will be compared to its effectiveness prior to the reorganization. Fifty-two percent of you think it will be more effective, 34 percent think it will be less and 14 percent feel it will be just as effective as it was before.

Fifty-two percent (52%) believed that the new plan would engage more surveyors and mappers into membership, while 38 percent felt that it would not and 10 percent had other comments. Some of these comments were:

“No [it will not attract new members]. Membership rises and falls directly porportional to leadership's ability to address important common interests. As we continue to segment and divide into smaller interest groups, our ability to find common ground decreases.” N.C. land surveyor

“Yes [it will attract more members]. Based on conversations with members of state societies in the Northeast, there is potential for huge growth. It depends on marketing and delivery of a desirable product.” Vermont LS

Just under half (48 percent) said they planned to join their respective member organization. The member organizations are the National Society for Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the American Association for Geodetic Surveying (AAGS), the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS), and the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS). Thirty-eight percent said they would possibly consider joining theirs and 17 percent said they had no plans to join their member organization.

Other comments about the “New ACSM”:

“The problem with ACSM has been with the failure of the leadership to recognize the needs of the surveying and mapping communities. Another issue has been the "good old boys" network, if you didn't belong to this group, then you would not get anywhere within the organization. We have had the problem of nominating these individuals over and over again until they get into office. Too much time has been spent on issues not related to the overall surveying and mapping communities, but to address certain sectors within the organization to meet their business needs. The ordinary surveyors/mappers were pawns in the power struggle for those in office… I stopped going to the national meetings because of this, but retained my membership.” Arizona land surveyor

“In the long run, I feel strongly that a system weakening the state associations to strengthen the national one hurts the profession more than it helps it. It may also backfire in forcing states to opt out of ACSM altogether.” Massachusetts land surveyor

“This new change seems to be contrary to the calls for cooperation between the various mapping disciplines. It will continue the split between these organizations. You would have placed a level between the organization and the members. Don’t you think the new congress would be like the “Congress” in Washington? They will look out for their constituents first and the overall picture second. They would be failing their members if they did not do this.” Tennessee land surveyor

“I believe and hope that this will be a step in the right direction. Maine has a 100 percent membership with ACSM and a lot of time and energy has been vested in this “partnership.” I am a big believer in the national organization; this new vision should make each member organization strong as they want to be, yet ACSM will still be there as our spokesman.” Maine land surveyor

“I once was a member. It appeared that the system was unwieldy and the inner conflicts had a negative overall effect. Most of the hierarchy were more interested in their own image than that of the organization.” Vermont LS

“The “New ACSM” is the realization (finally) of many of the objectives of the proponents of the reorganization of ACSM that began around 1980.” Washington land surveyor

“Where is the work on affordable E&O insurance? Where is the work on affordable health insurance? Where is the work on continuing education? I can see no reason to join an organization that does not address my concerns. Talk of national standards, global this and world that does nothing for me. Remember “all politics is local.” Washington land surveyor