Point of Beginning

Editor's Note

January 1, 2002
Where will new faces in surveying come from?

Brown
The surveying and mapping profession is in need of new blood. Current surveyors are retiring and new people are needed. Many state rosters show a dwindling number of new licensees and many schools have low numbers of graduates planning to go into the profession. Wyoming, for example, has reported having only 33 land surveyors in training, serving a population of over 490,000.

The surveying profession will not fold; surveyors are needed—plain and simple. But, with such a great number moving on—or rather moving out—many in the industry are asking where new faces will come from. I have an answer: it lies within the merit and persistence—and integrity—of those currently in the profession. In other words, you.

Recruitment measures need improvement, and for some, simply need to exist. I consistently read in society newsletters several requests for more, more, more participation and outreach efforts. Even as I read articles about surveyors involved in the WTC efforts, I heard things about people onsite, including firefighters and police, asking what the surveyors were doing. So it’s not just the general public that isn’t aware of the importance of surveyors; other professions, some who could probably benefit from surveying, don’t know about the second oldest profession.

So, to recruit more surveyors, paste a banner on your building front, pass around flyers, hang balloons, pass out plastic plumb bobs, whatever you come up with. If you need some ideas, there are plenty out there (see “GIS Users Share Technology’s Many Applications on GIS Day 2001” on page 10).

Think outside of the box. Continue to have a presence at state shows, at your local dealers and at surveying-related conferences and gatherings. But think bigger, think younger, think hands-on. Set up a booth at your local high school’s (or even middle school’s) career day. Be part of a job fair. Write to your local paper. Advertise a school program or seminar in the local paper. Offer site visits to your firm. Intrigue interested parties with the idea of surveying camps, internships in the summer and part-time help. Take your kids or neighbors to chapter meetings. And get feedback on whatever you do; that way, you’ll know what weight your efforts carry and know where to improve next time. Oh, and tell everyone you’re doing it; it might be the fire under their feet they need to do something themselves.

You know what it is that drew you to the profession, so say it aloud. Say it with pride, tell your local community center administrators, your local schools and your friends’ kids. Just spread the word. The NSPS Forum for Equal Opportunity recently realized the importance of updating its industry brochure for recruitment. Get a bundle of these and pass them around.

Many believe that if strict degree requirements were lessened, the problem may be resolved. From that stems arguments against the degree paradox, including time, program and location limitations. Distance education may be an answer for surveyors with those concerns (see the article, “Balancing the Education Equation” on page 16).

I am not suggesting anything new, but please don’t let it penetrate like an old recording. We need more people, and you can be the seed to help the profession blossom. What will you do to help the future of surveying?

To contact the editor, send an E-mail to brownl@bnp.com or mail to 755 W. Big Beaver Rd.,
Ste. 1000, Troy, MI 48084.