Rhode Island drafts two-year degree proposal; USGS unveils new online map locator; USGS Coalition seeks increased funding.

Rhode Island Drafts Two-Year Degree Proposal

The Rhode Island Society of Professional Land Surveyors (RISPLS) and the state's board of registration have drafted a plan to offer a two-year degree in land surveying technology at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). The society hopes that the degree will be approved by this fall. To read the draft plan, click to www.rispls.org.

USGS Unveils New Online Map Locator

For surveyors who depend on topographic maps from the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) to determine the "lay of the land" and to plan their work, the USGS online store's new Map Locator offers an easy way to find and order a map. Visitors to http://store.usgs.gov can click their way to the Map Locator, which shows a map of the United States. A drop-down menu allows visitors to determine how they want to use the map; users can zoom in on a point clicked or search the store for all products covering a point clicked. At certain zoom levels green boundaries and map names are displayed to identify maps available for purchase. Sessions time out after 30 minutes.

USGS Coalition Seeks Increased Funding

The USGS Coalition is a cooperative group of 57 organizations that includes the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The allied organizations in the coalition are committed to furthering the development of USGS programs, and are currently involved in an effort to increase the USGS federal budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005.

On April 2, 2004, the USGS Coalition submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies asking that the USGS budget for FY 2005 be increased to $1 billion. This is the equivalent of a 6.5 percent budget increase. If passed, this funding would be used to strengthen USGS partnerships, to restore resources to science programs that have been cut and to provide for an inflation adjustment, and salary and benefit increases.

At press time, the House was still in its hearing phase. Because it is an election year, the usual appropriations cycle has been thrown off, and the competition among various interests and agencies for federal funding is very high. People interested in promoting the USGS are encouraged to contact their representatives in Congress and request that they support the increased funding.

Concerned citizens are also invited to inform their representatives of their support for House Resolution 556 (H. Res. 556), legislation proposed this year to congratulate the USGS on its 125th anniversary. Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., introduced the bipartisan H. Res. 556 along with 11 co-sponsors. The resolution gives a brief overview of the history of the USGS and states that the House of Representatives expresses "strong support" for the USGS.