NCEES renames licensing exams; NOAA activates 500th CORS site; website goes live; University of Maine announces online GPS courses; and FIG Commission to meet in U.S.

NCEES Renames Licensing Exams

Beginning with this month's exam administration by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the names of the surveying exams will be changed. The Fundamentals of Land Surveying exam becomes Fundamentals of Surveying (FS), and Principles and Practice of Land Surveying becomes Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS). These revised exam names remove the word "land" from all references in accordance with the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules. This change was approved by the NCEES at its 2004 annual meeting.

According to Rita Lumos, PLS, the current chair of the Committee for Examinations on Professional Surveyors, this change was proposed and approved in accordance with the Model Law revisions that began in 1995. Both the NCEES task force and the task force composed of professional organizations recommended that the word "land" be removed to broaden the definition of surveying to include aspects such as geodesy, photogrammetry, mapping and GIS. "The term "˜professional surveying' really covers the broader spectrum," Lumos says. "It's just keeping up-to-date with the practice as it exists." The dates for the 2005 PS exams are April 15 and October 28; for the FS exams, April 16 and October 29. Website Goes Live

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) created a new website to promote the surveying Aimed at young people researching future career options, the website highlights the possible job options for surveyors. The text on the homepage reads:

"As a surveyor, you have vast opportunities. You can map the world's terrain. Explore new oil sources. Investigate crime scenes. Take charge as a CEO. Appear in court as an expert witness. Run a business. Excel with computers and other high-tech equipment.

"Professional surveyors measure and analyze angles and distances between property corner markers and to physical features on a piece of land. The land could be under water, on a mountain, or in a city. It could be at your home or in the middle of an industrial complex." is a well-rounded and well-designed resource intended to stimulate interest in the surveying profession. Its content pages describe education, licensure and various career options in surveying, and also include links to a variety of websites offering more information. Interesting trivia about surveying history and current technology appears on the pages of the website to spark the curiosity of visitors. Surveyors are encouraged to share this website URL to assist in recruiting new members to the profession.

NOAA Activates 500th CORS Site

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the 500th site in its National Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network. Administered under NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS), each CORS site features a ground-based sensor that continuously records signals from the constellation of GPS satellites providing free navigational and scientific data.

The 500th site, NCG1, is located in Greensboro, N.C., and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. NOAA has built and operated about 80 CORS sites itself since the birth of the program in 1994. The remaining National CORS sites are operated by more than 80 different organizations representing various federal, state and local government agencies, as well as academic and private institutions. Another 50 organizations have built and operated more than 400 additional sites that comprise the Cooperative CORS network and the California CORS network. Together, the three networks (National CORS, Cooperative CORS and California CORS) currently include more than 900 sites and are growing at a rate of 100-plus new sites per year. This rate is expected to double within the next few years due to the popularity of the CORS program.

Users can apply CORS data to determine the three-dimensional coordinates of a location with an accuracy of a few inches. As such, users apply CORS data to accurately and economically interrelate the locations of navigational aids, utility lines, important boundaries and other map-worthy objects. CORS data can also be applied to determine accurate heights, such as those needed to assess the potential of flooding in certain areas.

The CORS program continues to evolve. NOAA is developing and refining utilities to make CORS data more easily accessible. This includes enhancing the Online Positioning User Service (OPUS), a utility that enables people to submit their GPS data to NOAA via the Internet to calculate precise positional coordinates. To improve the reliability of CORS data flow, NOAA established a parallel CORS data facility in Boulder, Colo., to supplement its original data facility located in Silver Spring, Md. These two facilities each collect and distribute CORS data independently to prevent a disruption in CORS service should one of these facilities suffer a loss of electric power or communications.

University of Maine Announces Online GPS Courses

The University of Maine announced GPS-GAP, an asynchronous Internet education program of foundational Global Positioning System (GPS) courses. The GPS-Geodesy and Application Program (GAP) focuses on the basis for understanding GPS and its applications, including geodetic theory, mathematical modeling and estimation.

GPS-GAP offers nine one-credit hour courses via the Internet; all courses are offered simultaneously and continuously during the spring and fall terms. A course must be completed within the regular University of Maine semester schedule. Students may take any number of courses within the same semester and determine their own sequence of the courses.

The courses are based on two undergraduate courses and one graduate course that have been available at the University of Maine since 1982. Dr. Alfred Leick, a professor of spatial information science and engineering at the University of Maine since 1978, wrote the textbook GPS Satellite Surveying and developed the GPS-GAP corresponding Internet courses. The courses are intended to teach students about the mathematics, physics, electronic communication and data collection, management and dissemination that make GPS and other global navigation satellite systems such a rich resource.

A certificate of completion is issued to those who successfully complete nine credit hours. Courses can be taken for credit or as pass/fail. For additional details, see

FIG Commission to Meet in U.S.

For the first time in the 127-year history of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), one of its commissions will hold an annual meeting in the United States. FIG Commission 7, which focuses on cadaster and land management, will hold its annual meeting at the Doubletree Hotel in Madison, Wis., June 18-25, 2005. A concurrent international symposium on land information, land records and cadastral issues will be held June 24-25 on the University of Wisconsin campus. Participants will include Commission 7 delegates from all over the world. Also participating in the symposium are the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Cadastral Subcommittee, Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI), National Geodetic Survey (NGS), National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), Wisconsin Land Information Association and the Land Tenure Center at the University of Wisconsin.