Point of Beginning

Letters to the Editor

November 1, 2001
Letters about education issues and professionalism.

“From the Field”
September 2001

The article in memory of David Gallegos, PLS, in the September issue of POB commemorated the dedication and commitment David contributed to NDOT and the surveying profession in general. I’m sure he will be missed by his family and colleagues.

From the information provided in the article, he began working in surveying after graduation from high school and worked his way through the ranks to achieve professional registration and a supervisory position managing geodetic surveys. Obviously, he was an expert surveyor committed to our profession.

What a shame it would have been if he had been precluded from professional registration due to a lack of a four-year surveying degree. David is the perfect example of why a four-year degree should not be a requirement for land surveyor registration.

When I read the article, it reminded me that surveying is an applied science, and experience is the best teacher. Not that a survey education is not valuable, but a dedicated person can become a professional through commitment and hard work. I recommend to anyone desiring to be a surveyor to get formal education; it provides a strong foundation and reduces the training time. But it should not be a requirement.

James D. Hillard, PLS
Lancaster, Pa.


“Geodetic Surveying Made Plain”
September 2001

You’ve done a decent job of presenting a technical forum for survey geeks, and a great job of presenting an equipment emporium. I salute your many efforts! There remains, however, a greater mission for “The Profession,” somewhat illuminated in Mr. McGray’s discovery of “new civilization.” What’s clear is that Mr. McGray refuses to allow his professional “status” to get in the way of his perspective. Thus, there just may be hope for measurers who can measure up to the challenges of a global age. Don’t count on it.

Surveyors and engineers tend to suffer from rather narrow vision since we tend to deal with minutiae as a way of life. Often the bigger picture escapes us, and then there’s the attitude thing that always and ever gets in the way of genuine collaboration. Burrowing deeper into professional peer groups will not extend one’s vision and/or technical expertise if we’re not first working on the human being. In the future just lay people will come to comprehend what has occupied us for centuries. If we cannot become expert and flexible collaborators, we’re sidelined.

This will mandate the loss of big belt buckle attitudes and demand a globally inclusive perspective that has ample room in it for the rest of the world. The future will present a real-world challenge for our kind.

After 40 years, I can attest to these challenges for which many surveying and engineering professionals are ill prepared. Adapt or be passed over is what the future will be saying to us. Thus, as Mr. McGray points out, it’s not “our way or the highway.” I’ll take the highway anytime, and accept real-world perspectives as a way of life. That’s why I got rid of my professional status in favor of the real world.

And I thought I was the only one who realized that we don’t get any respect because of our attitudes. There’s a whole world out there beyond straightjacket professionalism. First though, professionals like us gotta learn to meet the real world halfway or it’s gonna be the highway for sure. I won’t be seeing you at the next convention because I’m busy putting the world in perspective.

David Bader
Retired surveyor and veteran world navigator
Napa, Calif.

The ideas and opinions expressed by our readers do not necessarily reflect those of POB. Send your thoughts to the editor at brownl@bnp.com or mail to Letter to the Editor, POB magazine, 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Suite 1000, Troy, MI 48084.