Due to the coronavirus pandemic, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) president Jeff Lovin, CP, PS, was recently sworn in as the organization’s new leader during an online conference program.

Delivering a digital address directed to the surveyor and geospatial community at large, Lovin shared that the organization will continue to thrive through turbulent times.

“We’ve had some tragic and devastating changes to our leadership. We’ve endured the challenges all professional organizations have faced through the great recession. And now I guess we can add a global pandemic to the list,” he says. “In spite of all that I can proudly say, we are not only surviving, we are doing well as an organization.”

Certified as photogrammetrist in 2003, Lovin is senior vice president and marketing director for Woolpert, an architecture, engineering and geospatial firm that has been a sustaining member of ASPRS since 1982.

“ASPRS is the original geospatial organization, founded in 1934, and is responsible for our mapping standards and our credentials,” says Lovin, who will now be the steward of those standards as the organization’s new president.

In conversation with POB, Lovin further shares his vision to preserve the credentials of the land surveying and geospatial profession.

What do you think is the main issue facing the land surveying and geospatial profession today?

In my opinion, one of the biggest issues facing the surveying and geospatial profession today is the threat of de-licensure. As software and technology advance — and we should embrace and adopt that progress — some tasks are eased to a point that an outsider is more likely to look at a particular survey or mapping task and say, “Why do I need a license to do that?”

Just because the actual task or work becomes easier, it does not change the risk or legal liability of the individual performing the work. It is upon organizations like ASPRS, National Society of Professional Engineers, National Society of Professional Surveyors, etc., to educate government officials on the importance of licensing individuals who are doing work that affects the public health, safety and welfare — just like our engineers and surveyors.
ASPRS certified photogrammetrists also must be licensed as surveyors to provide mapping services in many states. ASPRS is concerned with protecting the accuracy of these deliverables and, by extension, the integrity of the profession.

What are your plans as president to preserve this integrity?

As president of ASPRS, one of my goals is to bring clarity to the organization’s role in the surveying and geospatial community. ASPRS is the go-to organization for photogrammetry and remote sensing education and certification, as well as mapping specifications. These align to support the need for professional certification and licensure.

How would you say your career background informs your leadership as president?

I have spent all 34 years of my career at Woolpert, a global architectural, engineering and geospatial services firm. Woolpert has always valued the importance of ASPRS, and I was exposed to the organization early in my career.

I also have had the privilege to serve in a leadership capacity in other national geospatial organizations, such as MAPPS, the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations, and was appointed to the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s Federal Advisory Committee, the National Geospatial Advisory Council. These roles have helped prepare me for this position by providing knowledge, experience and perspective.

What technology should land surveyors and geospatial professionals be readily adopting today?

I am not sure if I can point to one overriding technology that we should all run out and purchase right now — there are many. Here at our firm, we have always been aggressive in deploying the latest technologies in surveying and mapping. I remember operating one of the first field GPS units nearly 30 years ago. We were a pioneer in LiDar in the late 1990s, and we were the first surveying and mapping firm to get a 333 Exemption from the FAA to fly unmanned aircraft systems commercially in designated airspace. So I would challenge my peers not to fear or fight technology that seems disruptive or that changes how we do our work, but rather, embrace it, and adapt your business accordingly.