There may always be a group of surveyors who reference engineers and lawyers with asterisks (eng**eers, la**ers) to illustrate their disdain for these professions and portray their suspicion that such specialists could attempt to work professionally with surveyors. And there may always be that pocket of surveyors who scoff at the idea that GIS-ers and surveyors could work in harmony. But for those who look to any and all future possibilities, both for the advancement of the professions in a changing world and the protection of the public to which they serve, a recent conference on the West Coast was a time to meet and plan for such advances.
Bridging the Gap 2003, hosted by GIS-leader ESRI of Redlands, Calif., was held last month in beautiful San Diego to help integrate the efforts of surveyors and GIS practitioners, and to plan for their future. The event was hosted by ESRI and held in conjuction with its annual International User Conference. The Survey and GIS Summit was sponsored by industry manufacturers Leica Geosystems (Atlanta, Ga.), Trimble (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and UCLID (Madison, Wis.). Other sponsors included national organization ACSM, international organization FIG and national industry publications POB magazine and Professional Surveyor magazine. Exhibitors included all of the sponsors and: Condor Earth Technologies of Sonora, Calif.; Grontmij Geo Informatie of The Netherlands; Geodata Information Systems Pty. Ltd. of East Maitland, Australia; The Keith Companies of Irvine, Calif.; SOKKIA of Olathe, Kan.; Tadpole-Cartesia of Carlsbad, Calif.; and Topcon of Pleasanton, Calif.
If surveyors and GIS-ers sail on the efforts of others, perhaps the gap between these two groups of professionals will be bridged. The National Map, NSDI’s Geospatial One Stop and homeland security programs are examples of collaborative efforts that have come to fruition. As Eric Anderson, current CaGIS president noted in his presentation at the Summit, “People are starting to get over the technology problems and asking about how the data will be used, how it is acquired, who owns it and what standards apply.”
Please see page 14 for more news on the conference and visit our web page for extended coverage and numerous pictures of the Summit. POB will be sure to announce the dates for the second annual Survey and GIS Summit as news becomes available. ESRI is already in the works planning next year’s event, which promises more attendees, valuable technical sessions and networking opportunities.