It’s North vs. South at Rendezvous 2010; Esri, ACSM to Host Joint Conference in 2011 and more.

Bart Crattie checks the variance before setting off on a survey of the Wachovia Tract during Rendezvous 2006 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

It's North vs. South at Rendezvous 2010

The Surveyors Historical Society and the Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors (TAPS) will host Rendezvous 2010 on Sept. 16-17 in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the Delta Queen Steamboat. The 14th annual event will feature a mix of classroom instruction and field exercises focusing on mapping techniques of the 19th century with an emphasis on the Civil War and the cartography contributions of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

Participants pose for a photo at the SHS banquet during Rendezvous 2009 in Camp Caesar, W.V.

During the first day of the event, participants will divide into two teams, North vs. South, to perform plane table surveys with tools and techniques used during the war. The teams will compete to produce a period-correct map, and the maps will be framed and auctioned off later at the event. “Whichever map brings the most money wins the war,” said Bart Crattie, SHS financial officer.

On the second day, current or former employees of TVA will discuss the organization’s contributions to the mapping sciences. “Most don’t know that aerial photogrammetry was perfected by TVA,” Crattie said. “TVA was at the forefront of mapping for the war department during World War II. They actually ‘flew’ Europe during the war.”

The event will wrap up with the annual SHS banquet and benefit auction.

Rooms are still available at the Delta Queen, but space is limited. For more information, visit

From left: Brent Jones of Esri, Curtis Sumner of ASCM and Donny Sosa of Esri.

Esri, ACSM to Host Joint Conference in 2011

Esri and ACSM announced they will hold a joint conference in San Diego in 2011. The organizations signed a three-year agreement that will build on Esri’s Survey and Engineering GIS Summit and broaden the scope of the ACSM annual conference.

The event, called “The Survey Summit,” will feature technical sessions and presentations as wells as a manufacturer expo. It aims to bring together GIS users with individuals from the surveying and engineering community. “We’re really excited about this partnership,” said Curtis Sumner, ACSM executive director. “This event will allow us to demonstrate to the world that the surveying, engineering and GIS professions do intersect with each other and can work together effectively. We think it’s going to be good for the community at large.”

The organizations expect to launch a new website soon at

GISCI Considers Updates to GISP Certification

The GIS Certification Institute’s Board of Directors on July 8 asked a committee of certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) to propose revisions to GISP certification requirements. Recognizing the changes in the geospatial industry since GISCI was founded in 2004, board members unanimously endorsed the certification update initiative. “The purpose of GISP certification is to advance the GIS profession by promoting competent and ethical professional practice,” said David DiBiase, president of GISCI. “Portfolio-based certification made sense in 2004, when no authoritative specification of geospatial competencies yet existed. The Department of Labor’s recently issued Geospatial Technology Competency Model helps fill that gap and sets the stage for serious consideration of competency-based GISP certification.”

The board asked the committee to consider offering a new competency-based examination, streamlining the certification process and improving the existing criteria and procedures.

GISCI’s Certification Committee plans to present their proposed GISP certification update plan to the board by the end of the year. The public will be given a month to comment on the plan in early 2011, after which the board will decide whether to adopt, revise or table the plan. If approved by the board, any new certification requirements are expected to take effect three years from the date of approval.

“GISCI has certified over 4,500 GISPs,” said Sheila Wilson, executive director of GISCI. “Successful applicants submit portfolios that document substantial achievements in education, professional experience and contributions to the profession. Many GISPs believe that an even more rigorous certification process will further enhance their standing in the geospatial field.”

For more information, visit

New Trimble App Charts Oil Spill

Trimble’s new Map the Spill mobile app lets Gulf Coast residents report on effects of the oil spill. The free app, currently available on Android and BlackBerry phones, uses rich media and GPS technology to allow residents to capture and chronicle what they see happening to the land, sea and wildlife in their areas.

Users can log reports, upload photos, map their locations and share updates with other users. These data can be shared with scientists and organizations participating in the cleanup to assist their efforts. “Map the Spill empowers citizens in a way never done before, so entire communities can be a part of the reporting and cleanup,” said Rich Rudow, general manager of Trimble Outdoors.

Trimble said the app will also be available soon for iPhone users. To download the free app, visit

Letters & Comments

Surveying GIS/Traversing the Law

July 2010

I find it interesting, if not downright ironic, that an article extolling the virtues of GIS and the need for a national database of surveying information should be placed back-to-back (seemingly through sheer coincidence) with an article decrying the application of “armchair” surveying to determine boundary location (i.e., utilizing existing info with computer-based applications). The first article [Surveying GIS] praises the benefits of the new technology--I suppose, when applied “correctly”--while lamenting the reluctance of many to embrace this underused technology. The second [Traversing the Law] blasts the misuse of this same technology--it would seem, incorrectly applied (one would wager the overlay is a GIS application). In fact, the point of this article seems to be that overuse of this technology leads to confusion, at best, and actual harm to the general public.

The profession of surveying has been endangered from outside the profession since the inception of the surveyor’s license, at least. What is troubling in this particular era is the assault on our profession by those from within our own profession. The two articles--read back to back--could hardly have highlighted the yin and yang of this dilemma in better terms. Perhaps this juxtaposition was more than happenstance on the part of POB. Since the Pandora’s Box of GIS is clearly open wide, our discussion should center on how to deal with that fact.

Mike Joiner, PSM

Editor's note: Traversing the Law was not "anti-GIS" but a caution against relying too heavily on math and computer-generated results. However, a dichotomy in the profession nonetheless exists with regard to GIS. Join the discussion at

Technology Benchmark: GPS Reference Networks Need Regulation

July 1, 2010

Regardless of the algorithms used and the specific corrections rendered, the end users are, and should remain, responsible for their results. If they are professionals, they will through field procedures and error analysis determine if their results meet the project requirements.

Blog comment by Surveyeer

Trends in GIS: The Big Megaphone

July 14, 2010

There does need to be far broader and stronger collaboration between GIS/geodesy and other surveying camps. Without that, the GISers will eat everyone’s lunch and completely hose the entire process and profession of surveying. United we stand, divided we fall.

Blog comment by Gunter Chain

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