Arizona association changes membership bylaws; amended Tennessee law requires surveyors to search adjoining land records; ASPRS releases guidelines on vertical accuracy reporting requirements for LiDAR-derived elevation data; and Land Surveyor's Workshops offers Caribbean cruise for continuing education.

Arizona Association Changes Membership Bylaws

The Arizona Professional Land Surveyors Association (APLS) changed its bylaws in July to allow geospatial professionals to become members of the organization. According to Jack Avis, PLS, the chair of the APLS Geospatial Committee, the new bylaws are the result of more than two years of discussion in APLS "to look at reorganization and expanding membership." The bylaw changes are one effect of a larger push in APLS to progressively consider the future education, standardization and integration of the various geospatial industry professionals. Mike Fondren, RLS, current secretary of APLS and Mohave Chapter president and representative, said, "There's been a lot of talk on both sides ... over the course of all the different meetings, we started to look at this as a way to open up communication between the two entities [of land surveyors and other geospatial professionals]."

Now, under the new bylaws, the former APLS membership class labeled "regular" is divided into two "professional" classes of member. Before the bylaws were changed, there was no society or organization in Arizona that represented geospatial professionals. Avis said, "We need the GIS [practitioners], surveyors and geospatial professionals to come together ... We need to start the dialogue, and the best way to start the dialogue is to open up the membership to geospatial professionals."

The revised portion of the bylaws reads:

SECTION 3.03 Classes of Membership

The membership of the Association shall be as follows:

a. PROFESSIONAL MEMBER: There shall be two professional-level classes in the Association: Professional Surveyor and Geospatial Profession[al]. Members of either professional class shall have voting privileges, shall be eligible to serve as a Director in the Association as defined in theses [sic] bylaws, and shall be eligible to serve on Association committees. Any person who is a Registered Land Surveyor in the State of Arizona is eligible for membership in the Professional Surveyor class. Any person who has been a practicing Geospatial Professional and whose application is approved by the Geospatial Committee is eligible for membership in the Geospatial Professional class. A person may belong to both classes of membership upon proper qualification and payment of dues.

1. Geospatial Committee of the Association will further define the specifics of a "practicing Geospatial Professional." Geospatial membership is open to all for the time being as standards for the Geospatial Professional are developed and adopted by the Association, they will become the minimum standard for membership in this class [sic]. All applicants will be assigned an Associate Member standing for the interim 24-month period or until the Board adopts a definition, whichever occurs sooner, and when approved by the Geospatial Committee.

2. The changes in the Bylaws will be in effect for a 24-month period from the date of adoption by the APLS board and its general membership. If no further action is taken to make the Bylaws changes permanent, they will automatically revert to their previous form upon the expiration of that period.

Of special note are the two numbered additions clarifying the changes to the bylaws. First, there is currently no simple way of determining who is a geospatial professional and therefore eligible for APLS membership. At press time, the Geospatial Committee was still developing its definition of a practicing geospatial professional, which indicates that the creation of this membership class is a work in progress. Avis said the committee will tailor the definition to "include practicing professionals in geodesy, photogrammetry, remote sensing, GIS [and] geomatics." Once the definition is finalized, it will be presented to the APLS board for consideration and official adoption.

The final key component of the bylaws is the 24-month sunset clause. Fondren said, "We felt it would be a benefit to the public and the state to go in this direction, [but] there are a lot of land surveyors who are unhappy about this. We initiated a two-year sunset clause [so] if this doesn't work out, it will go back to the way it was before." Fondren admitted, "I was on the side of the land surveyors that want to remain land surveyors only, but I don't know if that's progressive enough in this day and age. I'm trying to look ahead instead of back."

Amended Tennessee Law Requires Surveyors to Search Adjoining Land Records

On July 1, 2004, an amendment to Tennessee's code of law regarding land surveyors became effective. The new clause in Section 62-18-127 reads:

A professional land surveyor shall search the land records of the land to be surveyed filed in the register of deeds office and obtain the deeds of record of all the adjoining landowners as it pertains to the common boundaries. The professional land surveyor shall have the additional responsibility to utilize documents of public record or unrecorded documents or plats supplied to the surveyor at the time of the survey to resolve any discrepancies between the subject land and any adjoining lands. Evidence found from these sources shall be carefully compared with that located or found in the field survey in order to aid in the establishment of the original boundaries of the land being surveyed. It is not the intent of this section to require the professional land surveyor to research the title or encumbrances on the land involved.

This amendment was introduced to the Tennesee legislature by House Representative Charles Curtiss in response to complaints about surveying practices from his constituents. The Tennessee State Board of Examiners for Land Surveyors assisted in the fundamental research for the bill, which was based on a similar law in the Virginia code.

ASPRS Releases Guidelines on Vertical Accuracy Reporting Requirements for LiDAR-Derived Elevation Data

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) adopted the "ASPRS LiDAR Guidelines-Vertical Accuracy Reporting for LiDAR Data V1.0" in May. This is the first in a series of guidelines to be published by ASPRS covering the emerging technology of airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and its use in the mapping sciences.

The guidelines essentially outline necessary steps to analyze the vertical accuracy of elevation data generated using LiDAR or laser radar technology. In addition, the guidelines cover determining what level of accuracy can be associated with a mapping product, such as a contour map that is generated from a given LiDAR data set (or conversely, what level of accuracy is required in the LiDAR data to support a given contour interval map). Finally, the guidelines include recommendations for the proper planning and implementation of appropriate ground checkpoints to support a LiDAR data set, including how to handle different land cover classes across a project site.

ASPRS strongly encourages all LiDAR stakeholders to incorporate these guidelines into their LiDAR mapping projects. A copy of the guidelines can be downloaded from the Photogrammetric Applications Division at or requested from

Land Surveyor's Workshops Offers Caribbean Cruise for Continuing Education

Who says that because continuing education is required it can't be fun? Nearly 75 percent of state licensing boards have made continuing education mandatory for land surveyors. Now, Land Surveyor's Workshops (LSW), based in Jefferson, N.C., is taking its continuing education seminars on a Western Caribbean cruise in an effort to instill excitement for continuing education.

"I believe that professional land surveyors need to constantly learn new concepts and refresh [their] knowledge of the basics," said Larry Phipps, LSW president. "I understand that many surveyors don't share my enthusiasm for seminars, so the LSW cruise was developed to encourage surveyors to look forward to their continuing education."

The Land Surveyor's Workshops Continuing Education Cruise aboard the 855-foot-long Carnival Inspiration will depart from Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 5, 2005. The group will travel to Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to Tampa on February 10.

Participating surveyors will select from a variety of LSW's most popular continuing education courses offered while the ship is at sea. No classes are scheduled while the ship is docked. The courses currently scheduled include Land Surveying Law, Automated Mapping, Practical Hydrology, Marketing Your Surveying Business, Horizontal Curves, and Traverse Analysis and Adjustments. These classes are preapproved or meet the eligibility requirements for 80 percent of the state licensing boards that require continuing education. The courses are currently being considered for approval by the remaining boards.

Space for the cruise is limited and participants are encouraged to register as soon as possible. The deadline to register is Nov. 15, 2004. Participants can register online at or call 800/533-4387.