Point of Beginning

Editor’s Note

July 1, 2002
Times are a changin’.



On a plane recently I heard a little boy ask, “Dad, do you think I’ll be alive when there are flying cars?” His father answered with a quick and emphatic, “Yes.”

Hmmm, I thought. Flying cars. Maybe not too far off.

The changes that occur in our world are astonishing when you examine a chunk—or even a small piece of it. When I went to summer camp, I learned about nature and made crafts. Today’s kids are traipsing off to Cyber Camp.

But, as I said in a previous diatribe, what we do with the offerings is what makes us successful—or left in the dust. What we embrace and choose to learn will differentiate us from our neighbors and competitors—sometimes for the good, sometimes maybe not so good.

It’s difficult, I know. It’s change. But, that’s what the world is like. Look at your life five years ago and you could probably make a list of ten things that have changed, some just a little and others dramatically.

So it is in the world of surveying, er…geomatics. Technology alone is a good example. Are your practices anywhere near the same as they used to be, say, when you first started surveying? The Design Survey Division of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently implemented the Michigan Spatial Reference Network (MSRN, also known as the GPS Ground Reference System) of Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS). Data is recorded, saved to the Internet and post-processed—for free. Through Leica Geosystems’ GPS Network software package IRONet, the data is integrity checked, providing the surveyor with highly accurate data in a short time. Leica Geosystems held a reception in Michigan to launch the new system in May. Quite forward-thinking. Changing.

With change comes concern for many, and one concern is that certain technology—and processes with use of this technology—can “replace” or omit the surveyor. Contrary to this theory is the “No Way” school of opinion. These folk believe the surveyor will stand strong, that he or she is the only expert measurer of boundaries—new technology or not. It seems there is no black-and-white definition of surveying, and thus, no immediate end to the debate.

We must remember something, though: although inevitable change exists, it takes the parts to make up the whole. Each individual one of you makes up this profession, and each one of you has an opinion on how things should be done. Laws will be proposed, educational standards altered or added, licensure requirements changed. I encourage you to be vocal about your views; fight for your rights! But, don’t put your blinders on first. Open your mind to the changes. Some of them might benefit you.

See you in the sky.

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.