In 1996, Mark Deal, a PLS in Oklahoma City, became interested in the Internet and enthralled with the concept of creating an open meeting experience on a worldwide basis for the surveying profession. Already Internet-savvy, he found a service provider, set up the board and sent out E-mails announcing the birth of RPLS.com to friends in the industry. Within a month, dozens of visitors came to the board. Now the visitors number in the thousands.
"The board provides a venue for developing relationships with surveyors around the world. It's a place to express opinions, say what's on your mind and get feedback from other surveyors," Deal said. "The board offers a tremendous potential for learning. Often, surveyors in small firms don't get the opportunity to discuss issues with other surveyors. The board provides that opportunity. That's its greatest value."
RPLS.com's popularity grew beyond Deal's expectations. Running his own firm, Mark Deal and Associates P.C., attending college for a master's in business administration at the University of Central Oklahoma, and twin daughters, Andrea Jean and Cora Lee, didn't leave him much time for expanding the board. "The board has a tremendous potential for growth. There's so much I wanted to do with it, but simply didn't have the time," he said.
That's where POB comes in. In order to better know what's on the minds of surveyors, staff members were frequent visitors to the board. We contacted Deal and asked if he would like to form a partnership with the magazine. Due to professional and family demands on his time, Deal asked if we would instead be interested in buying the site. We were.
"POB's acquisition of the board is a positive thing for the RPLS community," Deal said. "POB has the staff and the resources to bring RPLS.com to the next level." As part of the acquisition, Deal agreed to act as Internet Consultant for the magazine, write a monthly column on the website and continue to take an active role in the RPLS community.
What will change on the board as a result of the acquisition? Not much. Our vision is the same as Deal's-we want to provide a venue for surveyors to share ideas with other surveyors around the world. We will retain the general discussion board, as well as the manufacturer-sponsored discussion boards. Surveyors from all over the globe are welcome to post their ideas, opinions, two cents, etc., about any survey-related topics. We want the board to retain its integrity as a place of discussion without sales pressure, so we will monitor the site daily for any commercial postings. All such postings will be deleted and the originators of those postings will be contacted regarding their interest in placing an ad on POB's extensive online classified ad section.
Thanks to the acquisition of RPLS.com, POB now has the resources to establish monthly (eventually weekly) live web chats with well-known members of the surveying community (coming soon). Please let us know what topics you would like covered on POB web chats.
POB Online provides the surveying community with extensive news, product, editorial and reference sections and now-thanks to the acquisition of RPLS.com-the opportunity to learn from other surveyors as well.