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Newsline

October 2, 2006
APLS welcomes geospatial professionals as members; Pennsylvania imposes penalties for destruction of survey monuments; Alaska modifies surveyor licensing regulations; USGS opens competition for national center's location; BNP media launches Site Prep magazine; 2007 bicentennials commemorate Canadian surveyor.



APLS Welcomes Geospatial Professionals as Members

In July 2004, the Arizona Professional Land Surveyors Association (APLS) modified its bylaws to allow geospatial professionals to become members of its organization. In order to make certain that the new bylaws were effective, APLS implemented a two-year sunset clause that required a revisit of the bylaws.

On July 15, 2006, two years after implementation, APLS held a general membership meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz. to vote on the permanent adoption of the sunset clause. The results of the vote were successful and confirmed the inclusion of the geospatial professionals and practitioners into APLS. (See "Arizona Association Changes Membership Bylaws," The Latest News, POB October 2004 for full text of the revised bylines.)

"APLS has documented benefits from our two-year engagement," says Geospatial Committee Chairman Ron Platt, RLS. "Surveyors are now more involved with GIS at the company levels. Some surveyors have opened GIS shops, and GIS shops have included surveyors in their projects."

The bylaw modifications were one effect of a larger push in APLS to progressively consider the future education, standardization and integration of the various geospatial industry professionals. Prior to changing the bylaws, no society or organization in Arizona had represented geospatial professionals.

According to Platt, APLS recognized a dinstinctive relationship between GIS professionals and surveyors: GIS professionals want an accurate map of the entire world, while surveyors want to accurately map the entire world. "From that common thread we were able to open [a] dialogue," Platt says. "APLS saw that non-involvement of surveyors in the GIS profession had forced the GIS community to take matters into their own hands regarding constructing parcel base maps [and] infrastructure asset surveying using submeter GPS, being the frontrunners in acquisition of accurate digital orthophotography and many other spatially related issues. Both APLS and the Arizona GIS professionals clearly recognized [that] it was time we all begin a proactive solution to prevent certain legal battles that would ensue if we continued to grow as separate and distinct professional groups." Specifications and standards are now being discussed with both professions at the table. "This has led to a better understanding of an authoritative survey map versus a representative GIS map," Platt says.

Mike Fondren, RLS, current vice chairman of APLS, adds that as APLS grows with geospatial representation, it may consider a name change to best accommodate its maturity. However, at this time, Fondren says, the main focus of APLS is to "lead this next generation of GIS and surveying professionals to be a well organized group of people that put professionalism, ethics and a superior product outcome at the top of the list for all the work we conduct."

Pennsylvania Imposes Penalties for Destruction of Survey Monuments

On July 13, 2006, Pennsylvania's House of Representa-tives passed a bill imposing penalties for the destruction of a survey monument and any other harmful actions relating to land surveying. The Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors (PSLS) reports that Rep. Sue Cornell (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) originally introduced the bill to the state's House of Representatives last year, and Andrew Hilt, PSLS director of government relations, acted as lobbyist for the bill. According to Hilt, the bill was finally passed because legislators understood the importance of preserving survey monuments. "[They understood] that when a surveyor puts something in the ground, it means something [significant]," Hilt says.

According to House Bill 496, a person commits a summary offense if he or she "intentionally cuts, injures, damages, destroys, defaces, or removes any survey monument or marker, other than a natural object such as a tree or stream." The bill also asserts that a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he or she "willfully cuts, injures, damages, destroys, defaces or removes any survey monument or marker in order to call into question a boundary line." Any person convicted of violating this section of the bill "shall, in addition to any other penalty imposed, be liable for the cost of the reestablishment of permanent survey monuments or markers by a professional land surveyor and all reasonable attorney fees."

Hilt says another significant modification of the bill deals with the reduction of the statue of repose from 21 to 12 years, lowering the time frame during which people can take action to recover damages made to a monument. The bill specifically states that "all actions to recover any or all damages against any person engaged in the practice of land surveying occurring as the result of any deficiency, defect, omission, error or miscalculation shall be commenced within 12 years from the time the services are performed." It further states that any such action not commenced within this 12-year period is barred. To read the full copy of House Bill 496, visit www.psls.org.

Alaska Modifies Surveyor Licensing Regulations

The Alaska state legislature adopted new surveyor licensing regulations on July 20, 2006, which were proposed by the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ASPLS). To draft new regulations for professional surveyors in Alaska, the ASPLS modified the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying's (NCEES) model regulations on continuing education.

The ASPLS modified the regulations to remove credits for patents, remove required ethics training and provide more credit hours for service in professional organizations. The new regulations also allow registrants to complete courses and obtain continuing education credits online, as well as track their own professional development hours (PDHs), with the condition that audits of compliance may be conducted at any time. A special provision was also added reducing the number of required PDHs to 15 hours for the first licensing renewal cycle (2006-2007) due to the late implementation of the regulations. After January 1, 2010, 30 PDHs will be required to renew surveyor registration.

According to Michael Schoder, PLS, president of ASPLS, the licensing regulations were in development for more than six years. ASPLS first created a committee on continuting education and then adopted a proposal for the regulations. From that point, "it took two legislative sessions [three years] to get the enabling legislation adopted by the board of regulations," Schoder says. After the adoption, the regulations officially became effective on August 19, 2006.

The ASPLS proposal states, "the purpose of the continuing education competency requirement is to demonstrate a continuing level of competency of professional engineers and/or land surveyors." Schoder comments that "every state [society] should get actively involved with its [membership] to improve state regulations. With the regulations in place, the burden falls on all of us. If we [ASPLS] put on meaningful [continuing eductation] events, we create a win-win situation--everyone gets something out of the [experience] that they can use."

USGS Opens Competition for National Center's Location

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) opened a competition between its mapping centers located in Denver, Colo., and Rolla, Mo., allowing them to compete to become the future consolidated site of the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC). The Department of Interior directed this action in an effort to comply with appropriations bills for fiscal year 2007 drafted by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

At press time, 409 full-time employees were working at four USGS centers around the country. The two largest centers are Rolla with 185 employees and Denver with 100. The USGS announcement indicates that the agency will consider consolidating NGTOC operations at either the Denver or Rolla locations. The USGS initially chose the Denver location for the consolidated site, but had now reopened the selection process to allow both centers to effectively and fairly compete. During this process, both Denver and Rolla will remain open until selection of a single site for the NGTOC has been finalized. Ultimately, the site of the NCTOC will be awarded to the location offering the best chance at success and the best opportunity to work with customers and partners.

Consolidating USGS geospatial technical operations into one cutting-edge, efficient NGTOC remains a top priority for USGS. It is part of the agency's plan to continue to effectively fulfill its leadership role within a dynamic and changing geospatial community.

BNP Media Launches Site Prep Magazine

Following three years of successfully offering Site Prep as a supplemental publication to POB, BNP Media is pleased to announce the title's launch as an independent publication effective January 2007. Site Prep will be published six times annually and joins BNP Media's family of 40 trade magazines, including 20 in the construction field. The launch follows the publication of eight supplement editions, extensive market research and field visits to construction sites and equipment manufacturers.

Site Prep will be written for professionals involved with construction site preparation, including grading/excavating/demolition/landscape contractors, site specifiers/planners and heavy equipment dealers. Initial circulation will be 30,000.

"Site Prep will be unique by presenting a heavy technology focus on the worksite," Publisher Dan Murfey says. "Site Prep began as a way for our surveying and geomatics audience to connect on site preparation, with GPS/machine control a focal point. But as Site Prep evolved, we've quickly realized the entire site construction and specifying community needs this information."

"We've also determined that Site Prep's editorial mix will expand," Editor Kimberly Jensen says. "While machine control will remain a regular topic, there is so much more we need to cover, such as machine ergonomics, operator training and equipment updates."

Site Prep's launch issue will be published in January, and include bonus distribution at the World of Concrete and National Utility Contractors Association shows. For information on subscribing to Site Prep, visit www.siteprepmag.com. To get information on advertising or a sample issue, contact advertising manager Bonnie Bomhack at bomhackb@bnpmedia.com or 847/229-9929.

2007 Bicentennials Commemorate Canadian Surveyor

The year 2007 will mark the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the legendary surveyor and mapmaker, David Thompson, to western North America. In 1807, David Thompson crossed the Continental Divide at Howe Pass in the Canadian Rockies and reached the headwaters of the Columbia River. During his journey, he established contact with resident tribes and built trading posts in present-day British Columbia, Washington, Idaho and Montana. A few years later, Thompson completed the first survey of the Columbia River and drew the first of several large maps accurately depicting North America between Hudson's Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the town of Athabasca, Alberta, south to the Missouri and Columbia drainages. Thompson was a keen observer whose daily journals, maps and other writings contain the first documented descriptions of the landscape, cultures and wildlife of a large area of the Northwest.

To commemorate this anniversary, the nonprofit David Thompson Bicentennials Partnership of Canadian, American and British organizations wants to increase the understanding of the significance of Thompson's legacy and to rekindle the spirit of diplomacy and discovery represented by Thompson and his life. The partnership is hosting bicentennial events that will take place on a continent-wide basis between 2007 and 2009. Follow-up regional commemorations are also being planned for 2010 and 2011. The David Thompson Bicentennials strive to broaden public awareness of an important chapter in the region's first written history and provide new insights into a significant contemporary of Lewis and Clark. For additional information regarding the upcoming bicentennials, visit www.davidthompson200.org.

Associate Editor Regan Grant compiles "Newsline." Contact her at grantr@bnpmedia.com or 248/786-1620.

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