Central New Mexico Community College announces new geomatics program; Nevada College creates four-year degree in Land Surveying/Geomatics; Florida Society announces new online continuing education courses; ACSM seeks support for Trig-Star funding; GLIS awards first winners of the high school GIS competition

Central New Mexico Community College Announces New Geomatics Program

The governing board of Central New Mexico Community College (CNMCC) approved a new two-year certificate program in geomatics on April 11, 2006. The college, formerly known as the Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute, intends to launch the program this fall.

The geomatics technology certificate is comprised of 36 credit hours divided into three terms. In addition to college algebra, trigonometry and plane surveying, students will also be exposed to the basic concepts of GIS; CAD for civil engineering, surveying and land development; remote sensing; photogrammetry; and the Public Land Survey System (PLSS).

This geomatics educational initiative is intended to prepare graduates for the NSPS Level I Survey Technician Certification exam. Students wishing to obtain an associate degree may complete 30 additional credit hours for the Geographic Information Technology-AAS degree at CNMCC. This degree concentrates studies in GIS-specific coursework with related links to surveying. Students who plan to pursue professional licensure by attending the four-year surveying degree program at New Mexico State University can add advanced electives to their schedules. Some of the credits obtained in the geomatics certificate program will be transferable to the university surveying program. For more information, visit www.nmps.org.

Nevada College Creates Four-Year Degree in Land Surveying/Geomatics

Great Basin College, located in Elko, Nev., now offers a four-year degree program in land surveying/geomatics that is intended for traditional students as well as working professionals.

In March 2004, the Board of Regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada approved the development of a four-year degree program in land surveying/geomatics in response to a 1999 state statute that requires a four-year degree for licensure in Nevada. Great Basin College hired Dr. James A. Elithorp as the program coordinator in August 2005. The program he developed intends to serve the practical needs of a range of students in Nevada and adjoining states through distance learning technology.

The land surveying/geomatics program at Great Basin College provides three lower division "bridge courses" to community college sites in Nevada to enable students to gain an associate degree that provides the foundation for upper division study. These bridge courses, which require extensive field labs, contain classical survey fundamentals and an introduction to construction surveying and land development. Students living in Nevada can take advantage of hybrid bridge courses combining the educational delivery tools of interactive video, Internet-based course management software and an Internet-based live classroom platform.

Students outside of Nevada must take courses equivalent to the bridge courses at their local community colleges. They will then be eligible to earn the four-year degree at Great Basin by taking the upper division courses via the Internet.

The college expects to graduate its first class from this program during the 2007-2008 school year. For more information on the program, contact Dr. Elithorp at jamese@gwmail.gbcnv.edu or visit www.gbcnv.edu/bas/ and click on the "BAS - Land Surveying/Geomatics" link.

Florida Society Announces New Online Continuing Education Courses

The Florida Surveying and Mapping Society (FSMS) began offering "eLearning" online continuing education courses on April 5, 2006. The eLearning courses, located at http://fsms.netdimensions.com, are similar to a correspondence course, and include interactive quizzes, a downloadable reference library and end-of-course exam.

At press time, FSMS offered three six-hour eLearning courses: "ALTA/ACSM Standards for Land Title Surveys," "Plat Law" and "Public Land Survey System." New courses will be added every six to eight weeks and will cover the history of surveying, practical geometry, Florida laws affecting surveyors and mappers, minimum technical standards, remote sensing applications and professional ethics. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) board has approved 11 eLearning courses for continuing education credits; four more are pending approval.

Participation in eLearning courses is not restricted to FSMS members; however, society members receive a 38 percent discount when they enroll in a class. The courses are especially timely in Florida because the state has implemented a new license renewal process. If the license holder does not have the required 24 credits at the time of renewal, his or her license will not be renewed.

For more information on Florida's eLearning courses, visit www.fsms.org or http://fsms.netdimensions.com, or contact Missy Rudd, FSMS education coordinator, at 850/942-1900 or director@fsms.org.

ACSM Seeks Support for Trig-Star Funding

The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) requested assistance from select members of Congress to obtain funding for Trig-Star, the high school math competition sponsored every year by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). ACSM sent Trig-Star information packets to members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. ACSM encourages surveyors who are constituents of the following representatives to contact them in support of Trig-Star funding. These include: Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif.; Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Conn.; Dave Weldon, R-Fla.; Michael K. Simpson, R-Idaho; Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.; Anne Northup, R-Ky.; Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.; Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss.; Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y.; James Walsh, R-N.Y.; Ralph Regula, R-Ohio; Ernest J. Istook Jr., R-Okla.; John E. Peterson, R-Pa.; Don Sherwood, R-Pa.; Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I.;Kay Granger, R-Texas; and David R. Obey, D-Wis. Surveyors can find their House representatives by entering their zip code at www.house.gov.

GLIS Awards First Winners of the High School GIS Competition

The Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS) introduced a new competition this year for high school students studying geographic information systems (GIS). The goals of the competition are to reward high schools that excel at teaching GIS and to recognize the abilities of high school students in their use of GIS technologies for problem-solving.

The competition invited high school students and teachers to submit project entries completed in 2005 that demonstrated GIS applications leading to better management of land and other natural resources. GLIS announced the winners at the ACSM annual awards banquet on April 22, 2006. ESRI (Redlands, Calif.) provided GIS software to the winners of the competition and GLIS provided teaching excellence prizes to the teachers of the winning high schools. First place was awarded to Margaret Grommes, a student of Dan Harms at Jo Daviess Carroll Area Vocational Center in Elizabeth, Ill., for her county prairie site evaluation. Second place went to 16 students under the direction of teacher Ronald Chip Fenenga at the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Ynez, Calif., for a cliff mapping GIS project in Isla Vista. And the 62-student class of teacher Mark Paul at Essex High School of Essex, Vt., placed third with its peregrine falcon GIS project.

Competition organizer and coordinator Prof. Gary Jeffress of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi noted at the ACSM awards banquet that he hopes this year's six submittals will blossom into 60 or more, and commended the students and teachers who achieved winning status.