For 25 years, the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), a member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), has been the national voice and advocate for the surveying profession in the United States. In 2004, changes in the ACSM structure transformed NSPS into an independent organization with national stature and responsibilities. The most significant change is that new members to NSPS exercise direct control over the activities and programs of the society and its resources. Self-governance, underpinned by financial autonomy, has positioned NSPS to better represent the surveying profession at a myriad of professional and political forums, and to decisively enhance the quality of the profession and its public image.
NSPS is the largest member of the reorganized ACSM, and will continue the traditionally strong participation in the Joint Government Affairs Committee, and in planning and contributing to the national conferences of ACSM. In these, as in all other matters deemed important by and to surveyors, the new NSPS is accountable first and foremost to its membership. Dedicated membership inspires dedicated organizations. In the past, generations of surveyors have strived to build a national society for surveyors with a presence where it matters most-on Capitol Hill, where policies are made, and in schools and colleges, where the promise of the future resides. NSPS now needs to double its efforts to ensure that the member organization continues to evolve as one of the most respected professional societies in the United States. The NSPS Board of Directors and the NSPS Board of Governors invite each and every member of the surveying community to join in this pursuit.
NSPS: An Active SocietyPartnerships
Surveying is a multi-faceted community. Beyond private practice, today's profession includes many practitioners working in various federal, state and local government agencies with geospatial information and planning mandates. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), the Federal Geodetic Data Committee (FGDC), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) all have a strong surveying and mapping component in their programs, which have a bearing on the national land cadaster, on floodplain management, on homeownership, on natural hazards mitigation and on homeland security. NSPS now represents the entire surveying community in these government programs.
Largely through the efforts of its members, NSPS is engaged in all aspects of surveying practice and education. The association has crafted its role as the national organization of surveyors around issues most in need of national focus. Some of these issues directly affect every surveyor in the country. So much of the surveyor's work is done away from the corridors of power that it is easy to forget how legislation can impact what surveyors do and how surveyors do it. NSPS promotes and protects the interests of the profession in federal legislative and regulatory arenas. In the international arena too, NSPS is the profession's national voice, chairing and participating in the working commissions of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG).
Education is another priority area for the new NSPS. Members of the society assist the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) in evaluating curriculum accreditations, and NSPS will continue to work with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) on issues of mutual interest. Apart from promoting higher educational standards through better accreditation processes, NSPS supports surveying and mapping education with scholarships, fellowships, and awards funded and administered by the NSPS Foundation. With a soon-to-be released recruitment speaker's kit intended to present surveying as an exciting career choice, the association will build on two of its highly acclaimed programs for middle and high schools: the Trig-Star program (the NSPS-sponsored high school math skill award) and the Boy Scouts Surveying Merit Badge program.
NSPS will also continue to lead in the development and promotion of ALTA standards, in continuing education and in certification programs for surveyors, such as the national Certified Surveying Technician (CST) program, the Hydrographer Certification program and certification of surveyors to expedite letters of map amendment related to floodplain mapping.
Professionals join professional societies for a variety of reasons. One of them is a need for peer-to-peer interaction at conferences and through the association's publications. Given that technology and competition have taken many small, private, scientific publishers out of business, professional societies in many fields, including surveying and mapping, are increasingly being viewed as the guardians of academic freedom. In 2004, NSPS, along with the American Association for Geodetic Surveying (AAGS) and the Geographic and Land Information Science (GLIS), became the official publisher of Surveying and Land Information Science (SaLIS). This combined group is dedicated to the technical and intellectual advancement of the profession. For a society with 50 state affiliates, communication is of paramount importance. NSPS has three tools for communicating with its membership, the industry and the surveying community at large. One of them is the ACSM Bulletin, the official publication of NSPS that is published six times a year, and carries news and features on the latest developments in the geospatial sciences. Additionally, The Government Affairs Update is a monthly E-newsletter that keeps members abreast of the latest developments in the legislative arena and about activities either planned or actively undertaken. The Map Exhibit planned for April 2005 in the Library of Congress is one such activity previewed in the Update. The NSPS call to surveyors to support fellow surveyors in Florida during the disastrous hurricane season of 2004 is another example of timely news delivered to members.
Another communication vehicle that NSPS intends to enhance is its new website, www.nspsmo.org. The Board of Directors initiated a reconstruction designed to serve the membership in every way possible, while presenting surveying in a detailed and modern way.
NSPS utilizes two other valuable means of communicating with the surveying community nationwide: its area directors and the state representatives to the NSPS Board of Governors. The Directors and Governors afford the membership a direct one-on-one conduit for information and ideas. Take advantage of these representatives-they will make members voices heard, and members will be better prepared to speak on the issues affecting all members of the surveying profession.
NSPS is dedicated to the advancement of the surveying and mapping profession. If you have chosen surveying as your career, you can help NSPS continue to improve the quality, image and future of your profession. An educated and diverse community, acting in concert, is the single strongest voice NSPS can raise.
To learn more about NSPS and to inquire about membership in the association, E-mail your area directors found at www.acsm.net/nspsdir.html. Or contact your state representative to the NSPS Board of Governors (see www.acsm.net/nsps/nspsgov.html).
Come Join Us!
To join NSPS, visit: www.acsm.net/nsps/nspsmembership.html