TSPS Teams With College to Create New Surveying Program; FEMA Phases in New Elevation Certificate and more.

TSPS Teams With College to Create New Surveying Program

Trustees of Odessa College in Odessa, Texas, unanimously approved the curriculum in April for an associate in applied science degree in surveying. Graduates of the program will be qualified to sit for the surveyor-in-training certification exam. The degree program is the direct result of efforts made by the local surveying community to address the growing need for well-trained employees and provide an opportunity for practicing surveyors to become registered. “We decided a local surveying and mapping program was the best solution to solve the problem,” said R. Craig Alderman, RPLS, the west area representative for the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors (TSPS).

Pending approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in July, Odessa College will offer courses for the new surveying program in fall 2009. “Our goal is to develop and train surveyors ‘from the ground up’ with a strong emphasis on boundary surveying and legal principles which will prepare the students with the skills needed to follow in the ‘footsteps’ of the legendary surveyors of West Texas,” Alderman said. “We are all very excited to see the first class become a reality.”

FEMA Phases in New Elevation Certificate

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced in April the implementation of new Elevation and Floodproofing certificates effective March 16, 2009 through March 31, 2012. “The primary impacts of the new form for surveyors relate to the two new additional building diagrams, clarification on separate lowest adjacent grade elevations for Letter of Map Amendment applications, and expanded instructions that also serve as an educational tool,” said Wendy Lathrop, PLS, CFM, who served the as the primary ACSM/NSPS representative on the work group creating the new form.

The Elevation Certificate, FEMA Form 81-31, includes new items in Section A and C along with accompanying clarifications and expansions to the instructions section. Two new building diagrams have been added: Diagram 1B for raised-slab-on-grade or slab-on-stem-wall-with-fill single- and multiple-floor buildings and Diagram 9 for all buildings elevated on a sub-grade crawlspace (except split-level buildings). Changes to the Floodproofing Certificate, FEMA Form 81-65, are limited to the new expiration date and revisions to the Paperwork Burden Disclosure Notice.

The revised Elevation Certificate will be phased in over a 12-month transition period beginning April 1, 2009 and ending March 31, 2010. During this period, FEMA will accept either the new form or existing copies of the old form, which are no longer distributed. On the last day of the transition period and thereafter, the new Elevation Certificate is mandatory. Related updates to the “Flood Insurance Manual” are forthcoming. For more information or to obtain the new Elevation Certificate, visitwww.fema.gov/business/nfip/elvinst.shtm.

Congress Considers Survey Grants to Indentify Renewable Energy Sources

A bill authorizing the federal government to provide grants to support voluntary state efforts to survey coastal waters for the identification of areas suitable for the exploration, development and production of renewable energy was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March.

H.R. 1690, titled the Coastal State Renewable Energy Promotion Act, will amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to authorize the secretary of commerce to make matching-fund grants of up to $1 million per fiscal year from 2010-2013 for a maximum of three years. Surveys and survey elements developed with grants include hydrographic and bathymetric surveys; observations and measurements of the physical ocean environment, especially seismically active areas; identification and characterization of areas possessing important conservation, recreational, ecological, historic or aesthetic values; surveys of existing marine uses in the outer continental shelf and identification of potential conflicts; and inventories and surveys of both shore and offshore locations and infrastructure capable of supporting renewable energy development.

The bill provides the opportunity for participation by any relevant governmental agencies, regional organizations, port authorities, and other interested parties and stakeholders both public and private. The results of surveys conducted or supported by a grant, including relevant data, are to be made available to the public. The full text of the bill is available atthomas.loc.gov.

Second Compass Satellite Launched

China successfully launched its second Compass navigation satellite on April 14 onboard the Long March 3C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. The launch is the first in a series of launches announced by China to form the complete Compass constellation comprising approximately 30 vehicles. The Compass Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) is China’s second-generation satellite navigation system capable of providing continuous, real-time passive 3D geospatial positioning and speed measurement for the Chinese territory. Future phases will provide global coverage.

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