Joseph V.R. Paiva, Ph.D., PS, PE, is a POB contributor, seminar presenter, author and consultant. His primary focus today is in the growth and development of GeoLearn (geo-learn.com), an online geospatial continuing education provider which he co-founded in 2014.
It never fails--when I conduct a seminar and ask
“who’s a surveyor?” most hands go up. Then I ask “how many of you do mapping?”
and very few hands go up, maybe 2 percent to 5 percent of the room. To me,
these responses demonstrate the lack of vision or breadth in the opinion that
many surveyors possess about their work and their profession.
GPS is considered a key technology by most surveyors. In trend studies such as POB’s annual Salary & Benefits Study, GPS continues to be cited as one of the technologies having the biggest impact on the profession more than 30 years after its initial introduction.
Whether you call yourself a surveyor, a geomatics professional or a geospatial data manager, the boundaries and scope of your work and the technologies you use have changed dramatically in the last several years.
“Geodesy” and “geodetic” are terms many plane surveyors love to ignore. As long as surveys are performed over small areas and/or the accuracy requirements are such that disregarding the curvature of the earth is an adequate simplification of the world, ignorance is feasible.
Technological change can bring dramatic improvements, even in surveying. But a key part of moving ahead is that new technologies should only displace others if they are replacement technologies. Today, a looming communications technology threatens to doom GPS, a crucial positioning (and timing) technology, by displacing it without providing an alternative.
The term metadata has been around for a while. Among certain geospatial professionals, this term, what it means and how it relates to them is intrinsic to their practice. For other professionals, metadata is part of what they do, but they don’t think of it as metadata, nor do they make a big deal about it.
I fully subscribe to A.C. Mulford, who wrote in his 1912 Boundaries and Landmarks: A Practical Manual: “For after all, when it comes to a question of the stability of property and the peace of the community, it is far more important to have a somewhat faulty measurement of the spot where the line truly exists than it is to have an extremely accurate measurement of the place where the line does not exist at all.” But we must be careful how we use this quote.