ACSM opens 2006 student competition; India becomes Galileo partner with European Union; Colorado celebrates GIS Week; and NGS enhances OPUS.

The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) released the guidelines for its 2006 Student Competition, which will be sponsored by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). One team from any surveying, geomatics, or similarly named degree-granting program may compete. The programs may be either two- or four-year degree programs. Teams must have at least three (3) and no more than six (6) members. Students other than surveying majors may participate on the team as long as more than 51 percent of the members on the team are surveying/geomatics majors. Teams must register with NSPS to compete and are responsible for providing their travel and lodging expenses at the conference. Students are encouraged to seek support for travel and lodging from their college or university and from their state professional society. Each competing team must complete the following requirements:
Paper (worth 60 points): The subject of the paper will be “Solar and Celestial Observations for Direction and Position Determination.” The paper could take several directions including, but not limited to, the history of the development of these observations, the techniques used in these observations and/or the mathematics behind the observations. The form and format of the paper should conform to the publication guidelines of Surveying and Land Information Science, which can be found at The paper should not exceed 30 double-spaced, typwritten pages. The deadline for submittal of the paper is March 15, 2006.

Field Exercise (worth 40 points): The field exercise will consist of an observation (most likely solar, but celestial is acceptable) to determine the direction of a pre-assigned line. Instrumentation must be non-electronic, but NCEES-approved electronic calculators are acceptable for computations. The field exercise is planned for Sunday, April 23, 2006 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Each participating team must submit a statement of the equipment and technique they intend to use no later than March 15, 2006, so that the event chair and judges may predetermine appropriate accuracy standards. Points will be awarded based on a sliding scale of the accuracy with which each team is able to match the predetermined direction of their assigned line.

Costumes (optional): Costumes for the 2006 competition should be of the mid-1900s time frame. This could include military costumes, civilian attire, other government uniforms, or even a foreign costume. If teams choose to wear costumes, they must write an appendix to the paper describing their costumes and provide authentification of their choice. This appendix must be delivered with the paper and is not considered part of the page count for the required paper.

Twelve college teams participated in the 2005 Student Competition held in Las Vegas. The current reigning champions are the students from the Community College of Southern Nevada.

India Becomes Galileo Partner With European Union

On Sept. 7, 2005, India signed an agreement to become a partner with the European Union (EU) for Galileo, Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) scheduled to become operational in 2008. India is the fourth non-EU country to join the program, following China, Israel and the Ukraine.
India and the EU first began discussing a Galileo-based relationship in January 2004. After intense negotiations and talks, representatives of India and the EU signed a partnership agreement in New Delhi. The agreement between India and the EU requires India to make a substantial monetary contribution and to aid in the development of Galileo. In return, India will be allowed to use the navigation system; the exact details of India’s level of involvement are yet to be finalized.

Colorado Celebrates GIS Week

Governor Bill Owens of Colorado proclaimed September 19-23, 2005, as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Week for his state. The official proclamation of GIS week recognized the major contributions of GIS to the citizens of the United States and Colorado through “the creation, implementation and use of systems that support decisions based on location.”


GIS Week coincided with the 18th Annual GIS in the Rockies conference held September 21-23, 2005 at Denver’s INVESCO Field at Mile High. GIS in the Rockies was jointly sponsored by the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Colorado Section; the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Rocky Mountain Region; the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA) Rocky Mountain Chapter; the Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado (PLSC); the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Rocky Mountain Chapter; and GIS Colorado. The 2005 theme of GIS in the Rockies was “The Geospatial Revolution: A Whole New View,” and corresponding workshops and track sessions were offered during the first two days of the conference. The third day featured geospatially-related recreational opportunities, including a local geocaching activity and technical tours to the USGS Rocky Mountain Mapping Center in Denver, Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. For more information on the conference, visit

NGS Enhances OPUS

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) enhanced its Online Positioning User Service (OPUS) to facilitate the work of U.S. surveyors. OPUS allows users to submit their GPS data files to NGS, which processes the data with respect to three Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) sites to determine a position. The extended version of the OPUS output now includes the transformations of the northing and easting State Plane Coordinate (SPC) values from meters to U.S. survey feet or international feet when appropriate. This transformation is available only inside the respective states where these alternative linear units are still in use. Per user request, the results appear at the end of the OPUS extended output.