Forum for Equal Opportunity to Disband; CORS Coverage Blankets 49 States Plus Much of Alaska; MSPS Celebrates 50th Anniversary; and NCSS Seeks Surveying Degree for North Carolina.

Forum for Equal Opportunity to Disband

Gail Oliver, current chair of the NSPS Forum for Equal Opportunity, announced that the Forum (formerly known as the Forum for Women in Surveying) would disband, citing the fact that women are now accepted in the mainstream of surveying.

The Forum for Women in Surveying was founded in 1983 to combat a series of offensive advertisements that appeared in trade journals. The Forum served as a committee of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) under the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). Among its earliest accomplishments were a strong set of advertising standards and a corresponding set of fair language guidelines that were adopted by ACSM. In its later years, the Forum sponsored seminars and workshops at national conventions and encouraged NSPS to promote women to the top of its ranks.

Since women are so active in their own surveying associations, Oliver has been unable to find a successor to chair the Forum.

“After long consideration and discussion with a few of the more active Forum members, we realize it is time to bring the Forum to a close,” Oliver said. “In the USA, women have been accepted into the mainstream of surveying, and the original affirmative action issues have been dealt with. If the Forum were to continue, the issues that need to be addressed are recruitment into our profession and the continuation of scholarship fund-raising activities.”

Forum members think committees within ACSM and NSPS can serve those purposes and have agreed to sign up any Forum members interested in participating with those committees.

The disintegration of the Forum comes at a time when the international movement for equal opportunity issues has been strengthened. To stay in touch with global events and give American women the opportunity to expand their network, Oliver and the other Forum members plan to conduct E-mail correspondence on a regular basis.

MSPS Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Minnesota Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) kicked off its 50th anniversary year this spring. As part of the annual conference this year, to continue annually, a traveling trophy was auctioned off at the MLS Foundation auction, a foundation formed in 1982 to promote education through scholarships. The trophy is a portion of a bearing tree with blazes intact and scribing, removed by road construction on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Clearwater County with the Colonial Surveyor statue attached to the top, compliments ofPOBmagazine. The money generated from auctioning this statue will be directed to the foundation at no expense and used for scholarships and education. The successful bidder will receive a framed picture and history of the trophy when they return it the following year.

CORS Coverage Blankets 49 States Plus Much of Alaska

The new GPS base station established in Pine River, Minn., by the U.S. Department of Transportation makes it possible to determine positions immediately to within a few meters (yards) through the NDGPS (Nationwide Differential GPS) service coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard. After collecting a few hours of data at a particular location, it is possible to refine determination to an accuracy of a few centimeters (inches) through the CORS (Continuously Operating Reference Station) service coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

With the establishment of the Pine River station, the CORS network has reached a milestone in its development, in that all points in 49 states plus much of Alaska are now located within 400 km (250 m) of at least one of its stations. In addition, more than half the land area in these 49 states is located within 100 kilometers of at least one CORS.

The cooperation of these two services takes positioning to a whole new level. With the CORS service, land surveyors can establish accurate reference frames for interrelating transportation arteries, utility lines, area boundaries, and other map-worthy features. With the NDGPS service, traffic on land and water can be kept flowing both safely and efficiently. The NDGPS service will also help farmers distribute fertilizers and pesticides economically and help snowplow operators keep their vehicles on the road during the heaviest of snowfalls.

Positioning, however, is only one thing GPS data from the Pine River station can provide. Meteorologists can use GPS data to forecast accumulations of rain and snow. Earth scientists will use several years of GPS data from Pine River to measure how fast the land is deforming in this region as the land continues to rebound from indentations caused by massive ice loads of prehistoric vintage whose melted remains have long since dissipated. Atmospheric scientists will also use GPS data from Pine River, and from hundreds of other CORS around the world, to monitor how solar flares are disturbing radio transmissions by ionizing molecules in the upper atmosphere.

With a GPS receiver and a radio transmitter that rebroadcasts the incoming GPS signal, it is possible to capture the GPS data transmitted from this receiver and process these data with GPS data from several CORS located within a few hundred kilometers of it. It is then possible to compute positional coordinates for the receiver’s location with an error of less than a meter for each second of time. Once computed, the positional coordinates can be migrated to a Geographic Information System, whereupon anyone could easily find the positions at a later time.

To compute a position for each second of time, it is often necessary to interpolate the GPS data retrieved from the CORS because many of these stations collect a GPS signal only once every 30 seconds. However, requesting that these data be automatically interpolated to a 1-second sampling rate using government computers is no problem with UFCORS, found on the CORS web page:

Errors in the computed coordinates increase as the distance between the receiver and the CORS nearest to it lengthens. The average error, however, continues to shrink from year to year because the total number of CORS in the United States has been continually growing by several stations per month. Cooperative endeavors among international, national, state and local organizations—as well as academic and commercial organizations—are fostering this growth. As of March 2002, the CORS network contained more than 500 stations in the United States and its territories, with more than 200 stations in California alone.

Representatives from the NCSS Education Foundation have raised $24,000 from individual surveyors, small firms and society chapters.

NCSS Seeks Surveying Degree for North Carolina

August 11, 2001, was both the end of a long road and the beginning of a much longer highway for surveyors in North Carolina. On that day the NCSS Education Foundation Board of Directors accepted the request for funding a Bachelor’s Degree in Surveying program from N.C. A & T State University. The request was the culmination of years of work by the North Carolina Society of Surveyors to bring such an opportunity to the state.

The Society’s Formal Education Committee, headed by Mike Benton, was determined to build on North Carolina’s successful two-year surveying degree program. With surveying knowledge and technology leaping forward, more will be expected of surveyors and a more advanced degree program is needed to produce educated surveyors to support surveyors already practicing.

John Furmage became the committee’s point man for the effort. Furmage was convinced the degree program would give the surveying profession a supply for the future of the best and brightest. Those students will choose a profession that goes through a four-year institution.

With the backing of the committee and the Society, Furmage worked with Associate Vice Chancellor Kenneth Murray of N.C. A & T State University to form a viable plan. In November 2000, Dr. Murray presented his vision to the Society for a surveying program that reached out to the practicing professional surveyor, the technicians working to advance, and the student coming into the field.

Dr. Murray told the Society that the University of North Carolina system will not provide funds for a new program, so the Society’s Board of Directors voted on how to fund the program. In May 2001, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to form the NCSS Education Foundation Inc. as a non-profit public charity to support its educational purposes. The Foundation incorporated and received IRS approval as a tax-exempt charity.

So began the highway to the future of the surveying profession. N.C. A & T State University submitted a detailed proposal to the Foundation along with the request to fund the program for one year. The university system will fund the program based on the students enrolled after that. In August 2001, the Foundation Board of Directors unanimously voted to accept A & T’s proposal.

As of February 2002, the Foundation has raised $24,000 through the gifts of individual surveyors, small firms and eight society chapters. John Furmage, now president of the Foundation, said this total makes it clear that the profession is solidly behind making the Bachelor’s Degree in Surveying happen in North Carolina. The Foundation’s Directors are now reaching out to the broader professional, business and charitable communities.

This spring, the Foundation will hold auctions on its website to help raise more money for the program. These auctions represent a great opportunity for a surveyor to support education and get a great value on cutting edge surveying equipment. Earl Dudley Associates, Charlotte, N.C., and Leica Geosystems, Atlanta, Ga., are jointly donating a Leica TCR705 reflectorless 5" total station valued at $11,000 for the Foundation to auction. Tom Dudley of Earl Dudley Associates, and also a Foundation director, along with Bill and John Dudley, worked with Matthew Smith, president of Leica Americas, and Ken Jagman, southeast regional manager of Leica Geosystems, to extend Leica’s long history of supporting surveying education to the Foundation’s mission. All of the proceeds will go toward the degree program in North Carolina.

Topcon Positioning Systems (Pleasanton, Calif.), Southern Photo Print and Supply Company (Greensboro, N.C.) and Clausen Instruments (Raleigh, N.C.) will jointly donate two Topcon HiPer RTK GPS systems valued at $36,000 each. The Foundation will return half the proceeds from these auctions to Topcon to help defray the cost of the units and use the rest for the degree drive. Foundation Director Mike Barr is working with other manufacturers and dealers to put together more auction packages.

The auctions will be conducted on the Foundation’s website, Bids can be submitted by fax to 919/942-0120, or by E-mail to The website also has detailed information about the Foundation’s mission, A&T’s degree proposal, the Foundation’s donors, and ways to make a tax-deductible contribution.

POB editors compiled this month’s stories for “The Latest News.” If you have a timely, newsworthy item, contact 248/244-6465 or E-mail Also visit for daily news updates.