The latest news in surveying and mapping.

A HEEP of Information

The Highway Engineering Exchange Program (HEEP) held its 42nd annual international conference in Charlotte, N.C. in October, and though the organization has a rich past, all the buzz was about the future. The five-day conference included in-depth workshops, educational sessions and more than 35 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations in the industry.

The most prominent innovation discussed was LandXML, a development pioneered and funded by Autodesk, San Rafael, Calif. The first keynote speech of the conference, given by Keith Bentley of Bentley Systems, Exton, Pa., focused on this new development, which will facilitate the exchange of data created during land planning, civil engineering and land surveying. LandXML provides interoperability among different application software. Look for an in-depth article on this new innovation to the industry in an upcoming issue.

Technical sessions, a trademark of HEEP events, continued to provide professional development and personal fulfillment. Among the session topics were wireless networks used at departments of transportation (DOTs), electronic bidding technology, visualization, and Web and Internet issues. Various DOT entities headed project-focused breakout sessions, highlighting successful development stories. The Adam’s Mark Hotel venue was a benefit to vendors and exhibitors by providing an opportunity to display their latest applications and products to a wide variety of transportation professionals.

HEEP attendees commented on the wonderful hospitality, including daily special activities for spouses and other guests. Entertainment featured a welcoming golf outing, an NFL game at the Carolina Panthers’ Ericsson Stadium, a NASCAR outing to Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the beautiful landscapes of the Appalachian mountains.

The 2001 conference will be held Sept. 9-13, 2001 in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. For more information, visit

Sokkia President Mitsuhashi and dignitaries gathered for a special ribbon cutting ceremony.

Marking a Point of New Beginning

Sokkia Corporation marked the “point of a new beginning” in Johnson County, Olathe, Kan. in October with a Grand Opening ceremony for its new corporate headquarters. Sokkia President Hitoshi Mitsuhashi welcomed dealers, press members, and local and international dignitaries to a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the milestone.

The product support service center is the focal point of the facility. Beyond the rotunda in the main lobby is a highly technologically advanced service center, where visitors can observe Sokkia’s technicians. In keeping with the surveying industry iconography, the floor in the service center is an exaggerated model of a vernier scale found in measuring instruments.

Sokkia provides supplying instruments, equipment and measuring solutions to more than 500 independent dealers and 12 company-owned retail stores throughout the United States and Canada. The company strives to excel in the high technology areas of Global Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), surveying, engineering, construction, utility providers, agriculture, aviation, marine, mining and machine control.

Established in San Francisco nearly 120 years ago, The Lietz Company took up residence in Overland Park, Kan., in 1978. A few years later, Sokkisha Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, purchased The Lietz Company. Then in the early 1990s, Lietz, and other Sokkisha Co., Ltd. subsidiaries and agents evolved its corporate identity into Sokkia. In the summer of 2000, all Sokkia’s U.S. operations consolidated into one full-service location and moved into the new 62,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters in the new Silicon Valley of Kansas.

Nedra Foster

Texas Licenses First Female LS

On May 24, 2000, Texas Land Commissioner David Dewhurst announced the licensing of Nedra Foster as the first female licensed state land surveyor (LSLS) in Texas. An LSLS is the only surveyor in Texas permitted to survey permanent school fund land and state-owned land, and the only surveyor permitted to resolve original boundary problems. There are currently 55 LSLS statuses active in Texas, but Foster is the first female. To become an LSLS, one must be a Texas Registered Professional Land Surveyor (RPLS), which Foster attained in 1999, and pass an eight-hour examination covering the history and function of the General Land Office and legal principles of original land grants.

Foster works as head surveyor at Shine & Associates in Silsbee, Texas, where she began organizing seminars with owner Darrell Shine in 1981. The company specializes in water boundaries, coastal surveys and retracements of historical surveys.

“After working with Darrell for so long, I finally decided to go ahead and get serious about it,” Foster said.

Though she hasn’t attained a degree or certificate, Foster has studied at Lamar University-Beaumont and Paris Junior College in Texas. “I never have achieved [a degree]. I’m on the 25-year plan,” Foster joked.

She has been a member of The Texas Society of Professional Surveyors (TSPS) for over 10 years and has served on the TSPS Education Committee for nearly a year. She is also collaborating with Shine on a book entitled, Inland and Coastal Waters of Texas and Their Boundaries.