Ceremonies, exhibits and people news from the show.

Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address

Upon entering the Marriott Ballroom for the show's Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address, Editorial Director Jerry McGray, RPLS, and I were surprised to see and hear an elegant brass band on the highrise platform in the back of the room--nothing short of classy and impressive.

The massive room held hundreds of people, several flags of the world and a giant video screen on either side, awaiting images of presentations.

Bob Foster, current FIG president (and POB columnist) took the podium following a welcoming statement from Mary Clawson, Congress Director. Bob himself welcomed the audience to the Congress and hailed the international organization of FIG for its continuing efforts over the years since it was founded in 1878. Serving and representing more than a quarter million surveyors, FIG stands to protect and enhance the work and efforts of surveyors across the globe.

Foster cited the many different names and titles surveyors call themselves across the world, but said the differences encompass one common thing: "Whatever we call ourselves," Foster said, "it is about the land."

Foster also highlighted the need for a standardization of geospatial information by working toward a Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI). This is to be an effort embraced by surveyors, as they are the core players, users and makers of spatial data.

"Surveying is in the center of the solution of all land questions and concerns," Foster said.

Dr. Anna K. Tibaijuka, executive director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), came to FIG as an honored guest and speaker. Dr. Tibaijuka said there has been much progress in human settlement issues through the UN-HABITAT and encouraged further progress in its international efforts by resigning its agreement with FIG. UN-HABITAT recently set a goal with the World Bank Organization until the year 2020 to work toward cities without slums. She cited that Africa, Asia and Latin America especially have problems keeping up with technology and methods of land administation and valuation. She challenged FIG to come up with better, more efficient and cost-effective ways for land infrastructure in these areas and around the world.

The second welcomed speaker to the FIG Congress was Jack Dangermond, president of ESRI of Redlands, California. Dangermond centered his presentation on the rapidly evolving world and its need for surveyors. The role of geographic information will grow and our Earth is becoming digital, Dangermond's PowerPoint presentation stated. "What this means is that we're measuring everything," Dangermond said.

With the evolution of geo data, he says, comes more ways of using and integrating it. GIS web data, even in recent years, has gone from data to products to services (including such services as MapQuest), proving the advance of geo data's use. GIS is now being integrated with other areas, including engineering, land valuation, environmental planning and use, and biology.

"We are collapsing the time of measuring to using data to nothing," Dangermond said as he demonstrated with his hands coming together.

As has been seen, GIS helps in the areas of education, Internet applications, mobile GIS applications (measure, manage, use) and creates information communities, the sum of which means that connecting the data is now easier and easier.

Dangermond asked the audience members to take a minute to "break the ice" by meeting someone near them as an example of creating relationships and understanding the integration people make and need, just as GIS does. Integration of data (and those who create it) is the way of the future, as "data is more important and valued now since it has multi-purposes." The role of professionals who create and use geo data will grow, Dangermond says; thus, surveyors and GIS specialists will need to understand user needs, will plan, provide data, manage and collaborate with every piece of data they make.

Dangermond promises that GIS software is becoming so advanced that GIS specialists can take survey measurement data and integrate the actual points for overlays. And it promises to prove this soon with new products.

Technology Exhibition

Well, the hustle and bustle, drills and yells of constructing the manufacturer booths finally came to an end for the exhibit hall to open its doors on Monday. More than 121 exhibitors started to put its plans to use in the afternoon following the Opening Ceremony. Attendees, sales staffs and administration of some top named manufacturers started their demonstrations, talks and possible sales at 12:30. Many attendees took to the floor to eat their lunches provided through their registrations.

Others were seen admiring the works submitted for the Map and Plat Competition.

Topcon announces new products.

Topcon's GPT-8000A with RC-211 FastTrak
Topcon introduced the GPT-8000A robotic total station with RC-211 FastTrak, a one-man surveying system that provides optical communications for radio-free operation, an instant lock/remote location system and reflectorless distance measurements so that productivity is maintained in even the toughest field conditions.

The GPT-8000A with RC-211 FastTrak provides both instant lock capability at the press of a button and optical communications without the use of a radio. The RC-211 Optical Communications and FastTrak remote control provides radio-free operation, eliminating potential radio interference and licensing issues; and provides fast, simple acquisition of the GPT-8000 tracking beam. When jobsite obstacles disrupt the beam, FastTrak instantly re-acquires lock at the press of a button. As a reflectorless total station, the GPS-8000A features a measurement range to 400, 50 degree per second maximum rotation speed, 12 degree per second maximum auto-tracking speed and an auto-tracking range of 2,600 feet.

Should the job require greater range, the Topcon GPT-8000A also enables surveyors to use traditional radio technology. Plus, its waterproof and dustproof construction stands up to inclement weather and the harshest jobsite conditions.

Topcon and Carlson Software Announce SurvCE Freeware
Topcon Positioning Systems and Carlson Software Inc. released Carlson SurvCE Freeware. Topcon will offer a 90-day trial version of Carlson SurvCE Complete with Advanced Roading features (a $2,995 value) to customers through Topcon resellers. It also is downloadable from Topcon's websiet at www.topcon.com. SurveCE Complete comes with an electronic version of the reference manual and can be easily registered online. At the end of the 90-day trial period, SurvCE Complete reverts to SurvCE Basic, which has a reduced functionality but continues to interface with all robotic and conventional total stations as well as RTK GPS.

With reduced functionality, Carlson SurvCE Basic will be a strong data collection product offering such features as point stakeout, re-sections and area calculations. It can also be used as freeware indefinitely. Customers may purchase a fully licensed vrsion of SurvCE at any time during the trial use of SurvCE Complete with Advanced Roading, or after the trial when using SurvCE Basic.