New scholarship offers history students $1,000; First American responds to ACSM concerns; and Lewis and Clark poster portrays progression.

Students who participate in reenactments, such as those pictured above, may be eligible for the new history scholarship.

New Scholarship Offers History Students $1,000

Surveying students big on surveying’s past may have a sizeable check in their future. The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) Foundation Board of Trustees and the one-of-a-kind Museum of Surveying in Lansing, Mich., created the Museum of Surveying North American Surveying History Scholarship for students who demonstrate enthusiasm for surveying history. The $1,000 scholarship is open to a junior or senior who is attending an ABET or equivalent accredited college or university in North America, majoring in surveying, geomatics or other similarly titled program and who maintains a GPA of at least 3.0.

The scholarship is awarded in memory of Patrick Benton, PS. Benton, an early supporter of the museum, was instrumental in its founding. He passed away shortly before the museum opened its doors in 1989.

Liisa Morton, executive director of the museum, said “it is our hope that this scholarship will promote the history of our profession, as too often in any profession, history gets overlooked. Our main purpose is to inspire students to take pride in, get involved with and promote surveying history.”

To qualify for the scholarship, the interested student must demonstrate how he or she has significantly contributed to the understanding of surveying history. This can be demonstrated by participating in a re-enactment group on a regular basis; participating in a significant, historical survey retracement; preparing a paper (preferably published) about a historical surveying event, person or technological development or advance in equipment; or performing a service project related to surveying history for a museum. These are several examples of qualifying efforts; applicants are not limited to those listed here.

The Museum of Surveying requires submissions for the scholarship by November 1st of each year; awards are announced by December 20th for the second semester of the school year. Morton said there has already been a strong interest in the scholarship. She encourages students heavily involved in history to apply and hopes the opportunity will motivate students who have not shown a strong interest in surveying history to become more involved. Application forms are available from the Museum of Surveying by April 1st of each year. Students can E-mail to request an application form.

First American Responds to ACSM Concerns

Earlier this year, surveyors got wind of a new product on the market that caused some concern and unease. This product was ExpressMap, an invention of First American Title Insurance Company touted as a non-survey alternative to the ALTA/ACSM survey.

These concerns were appropriately taken to the national association for surveyors, the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). ACSM Executive Director Curt Sumner, LS, drafted a letter detailing these concerns and asking specific questions concerning the ExpressMap product. He addressed the letter to Roy Minnick, who Sumner describes as a rather well-known surveyor and the apparent developer of ExpressMap. Sumner said he was disappointed when First American’s response came in a letter drafted by the company’s lawyer.

First American’s lawyer Edmund Regalia of Miller, Starr & Regalia, of Walnut Creek, Calif., stated in the response letter that First American has the “greatest of respect for the surveying profession.” The response repeatedly assured that the function of ExpressMap is simply to provide internal non-survey data upon which First American makes underwriting decisions. In response to the concern that consumers will not understand the difference between the ExpressMap product and an ALTA/ACSM survey, the letter states that First American makes sufficient “efforts to inform the client fully with respect to differences between an ExpressMap and an ALTA/ACSM survey” and that “consumers are not misled because [its] literature and its discussions with the consumers emphasize that the ExpressMap is not a survey and does not satisfy the needs that would be fulfilled by a survey.”

Sumner pointed out in the list of concerns that some of the ExpressMap activities may fall under some states’ definitions of land surveying, in which case the service could be viewed as practicing surveying without a license. First American concluded that this was incorrect and that even if this conclusion was wrong, the laws of most states provide that surveyors may conduct survey work in a state other than the state they are licensed in for some days each year. ACSM representatives have questioned states as to whether this is true and say “the vast majority of responses to our question has been no.” Based on these replies, ACSM plans to respond to First American in the future.

To view the letter sent to Express Map, the full list of concerns and the full response from First American, visit

Lewis and Clark Poster Portrays Progression

Lewis and Clark didn’t have GPS or digital imaging… but they still managed to do an impressive job mapping almost half the country. A new poster produced by the USGS commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery, better known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, contrasts an original Corps map against a modern digitally-produced map. And the results are pretty remarkable.

The poster features two maps in a parallel view. At the top is a reproduction of “Lewis and Clark’s Track,” a map published in 1814 by Samuel Lewis, a noted Philadelphia mapmaker, from the original drawing by William Clark. The map is the first to show the Rocky Mountains and the headwaters of the great western rivers with relative accuracy. Parts of the map were derived from Indian maps copied by Lewis and Clark.

The lower map is a vividly accurate shaded-relief image digitally produced from the elevation data in the National Map, covering the same geographic area portrayed on the 1814 map above it. It allows one to precisely locate the travels of the Corps and illustrates how difficult Lewis and Clark’s expedition was, how well they mapped unknown terrain, and how far cartographic techniques have advanced in 200 years.

The poster also includes text with facts about the Lewis and Clark mission and the mapmaking techniques used by the USGS today. The poster costs $10, plus a $5 handling fee per order and comes with a color brochure detailing the various phases of the journey from preparation to exploration to homecoming.