Interactive Map Pulls in Real-Time Data on Oil Spill; Trimble Launches 2010 Surveying Student Paper Competition and more.

Interactive Map Pulls in Real-Time Data on Oil Spill

A new federal Web site developed by NOAA with the EPA, U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Interior is providing real-time information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill into one customizable, interactive map. Located at, the site integrates the latest data on the oil spill’s trajectory, fishery closed areas, wildlife data and place-based Gulf Coast resources, such as pinpointed locations of oiled shoreline and the daily position of research ships. The interactive map also includes data from Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, the Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, NASA, USGS and the Gulf states.

Links allow users to customize their map view by filtering for popular views and data layers. At press time, NOAA was serving more than 325 data layers to the public Web sitew including satellite data, shoreline over-flight imagery and bathymetry contours.

Trimble Launches 2010 Surveying Student Paper Competition

Trimble is hosting a Surveying Student Paper Competition. The winning student author will receive a trip to Trimble Dimensions 2010 in Las Vegas to present their survey application paper. The trip will include three nights’ accommodations. In addition, the winning student’s school will also receive a Trimble R8 GNSS System.

Entries will be accepted through Aug. 15. Judging will occur from Aug. 16 to Sept. 21. The winner will be announced on Sept. 22, 2010. For more information about the competition and to learn how to submit a paper, visit

Pennsylvania Moves Toward Geospatial Coordination Council

Legislation to establish a statewide geospatial coordination council in Pennsylvania was introduced June 8 by Rep. Russ Fairchild (R-85th). The bill, HB 2300, was introduced with 59 co-sponsors and referred to the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee. If enacted, the bill will establish a state Geospatial Coordinating Council and a Pennsylvania Mapping and Geospatial Technologies fund.

For more information, visit


Professional Topography

April 2010

I read with annoyance Joseph V.R. Paiva’s assertion that “some surveyors treat the results of their boundary line location as a secret to be kept between the client and themselves.” Most professionals understand the difference between secrecy and confidentiality, and I doubt Mr. Paiva could produce a single example of a licensed land surveyor explicitly advocating the former.

Mr. Paiva goes on to recite the timeworn canard that “every line set also sets the line of at least one other adjoiner” in support of some unstated mode of disclosure. ... I can’t “set” my client’s line; I can only provide a professional opinion, and many such opinions have been rejected by the courts. My survey and opinion do not in themselves legally determine where the adjoiner’s line or, for that matter, my client’s line actually lie, and there is thus no compelling reason why third parties have any broad right to know their contents. We don’t have nearly the power nor the importance that the advocates of such disclosure assume.

Furthermore, in Maine at least, if I were to shrug off confidentiality and disclose survey results to adjoiners against my client’s wishes, I could face discipline from my licensing board, whose rules state that “a licensee shall not reveal information which has been designated as confidential by the client or employer without the prior informed written consent of the client or employer, except as authorized or required by law.” This is not some idiosyncratic rule whimsically imposed by a maverick board; it reflects the long-standing practice of professionals in this state and, I suspect, many others, especially outside the PLSS. Yes, it sometimes poses an obstacle to interested third parties. So does confidentiality in the legal, medical, and other professions. But it has served our clients well. Folks are free to seek to change it, but they ought not meanwhile impugn the professionalism of those who respect it.

Creston Gaither, PLS

Vienna, Maine

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