On “button pushers.”

I, as I imagine many of you, often hear complaints about “button pushers.” (Perhaps even you bemoan these types.) The label of “button pusher” is often used in a negative connotation and followed by examples of the unseasoned or indifferent field worker who pushes the buttons on the data collector or total station and moves on to the next step of the project without concern or interest for what occurred or why.

However, many of the valuable seminars I sit in on (and I mean those with valid interaction among the audience members) are at the intermediate and advanced levels, where the audience members and instructors toggle questions and tips about software shortcuts.

Now I realize that the entry level course often contains material that calls only for a listening ear and questions of interest or clarification, not where audience members toggle tips of easier use or quick fixes. But, when new surveyors see the “button pushers” exchange tips without explanation, it could make it tough on them. These surveyors are already flooding their brains with new technical lingo, attempting to understand everything they’re seeing and experiencing, and trying to apply what they’ve learned in class to a real-life setting. Add to that a barrage of coworkers who talk in advanced language with little detailed explanation of its meaning, and the result could be frustration. This in turn could lead to the exit of these fresh surveyors to another vocation.

My hope is that what I see in a square room is not what happens in the field. I have met several surveyors and others in the industry who contradict the example I’ve given. And I hope there are more of these decent professionals than the other. There are already plenty of challenges to conquer in this profession… let’s not create another by alienating the new blood. Mentor and grow with those new to the profession.

…And for the technologically savvy—whether a “button pusher” or a newbie—new products from Thales Navigation and Autodesk Inc. coming this month may satisfy hardware and software hungers. Thales will be releasing a new RTK GPS solution with more flexibility and Autodesk promises multiple enhancements to its AutoCAD product line. Look for more information on these products in upcoming issues and at www.pobonline.com starting March 3rd. At the end of this month, Click on POB’s Road Show for news from the exhibit floor, halls and classrooms of the ACSM Conference in Phoenix.

Calling All Students and rpls-ers!

Speaking of ACSM, thePOB staff will host its second annual rpls.com gathering on Sunday, March 30th. We invite all rpls.com posters (and gawkers) for an informal get-together in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 7:30 p.m. Please join us in spirited conversation and to finally put a face to some of those names and pseudonames you’ve interacted with or even admired online. This year, surveying and mapping students are encouraged to join the event for networking opportunities, mentoring prospects and general socializing. (C’mon, we know you want your picture in the magazine!)

To contact the editor, send an E-mail to brownl@bnp.com or mail to 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Ste. 1000, Troy, MI 48084.