Point of Beginning

Editor’s Note

June 28, 2001
Brown
Most people don’t spell my name right. It’s understandable; I mean, look at it. It’s not a normal combination of letters. Generally, I don’t care when my name is spelled wrong. I’ve learned that I’m just in the wrong industry with this unusual name.

Not a trade show goes by where someone (usually many people) doesn’t make a pun about my owning Leica Geosystems. It sure is a good thought, but it’s not true. The “I” and the “E” in my name are transposed as to the Leica spelling. It’s simple, really. Just think of it as being grammatically correct. Remember that mnemonic technique from school: I before E except after C?

The pronunciation of my name is another cursory factor. I pretty much answer to anything now. For lack of a sound card for this page, let me spell out the pronunciations I hear: Leesha, Leeka, Lee-ek-a, Li-ek-a, and of course the most common, Li-ka (Leica). To clarify, my funny name is “Lisa.” While this can be irritating and frustrating, I’ve been conditioned over the years to let it go in one ear and out the other. As many of my friends say, it’s just a name.

But, it’s the connotation that gets me. My name is my name for a reason. My name is not named after an old German camera nor a total station. It may be spelled differently, but nonetheless, it is my name and it has meaning.

It’s semantics—like surveying and geomatics.

These terms hold so much meaning. But are they that different? Why is this new term, geomatics, creeping into our industry? I was not a big fan of the introduction of this arbitrary term, but I will reluctantly grant you that it is being recognized. My question is why change a label that has been used more or less since the 1600s? I foresee it as causing confusion and unnecessary discussion. Terms have definitions, and bringing in another term has gotten many surveying boards discussing a definition and term change from the traditional “land surveying.” And since land surveying (or geomatics) defines our industry, the people in the industry and what the industry does, it is important to settle on a definition to promote the industry.

Essentially, the definitions of both terms coincide, though there is some discrepancy. So, why fix something that isn’t broken? We need to concentrate on other areas, like promotion of and recruitment for the industry.

As many of you can attest, much of the public is confused as to the role of the land surveyor. So does it make any sense to throw in another term and definition? Do you think the public will understand when a “geomatician” calls on a project? And what about our future surveyors? Do you think they will want to enter a profession that is undecided and wishy-washy about its own label and purpose?

One thing I’ve learned in this industry: there is dedication and integrity. Let’s maintain this image by concentrating our efforts in the right areas.

And don’t be ashamed if you spell my name wrong; most everyone does.