On Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 11 a.m. MT, surveyors around the U.S. are being asked to gather up their GPS/GNSS equipment and head outdoors for Surveying USA, an initiative designed to raise awareness about NSPS and the surveying profession as a whole. 

NSPS Seeks Volunteers for Surveying USA Events in March

On Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 11 a.m. MT, surveyors around the U.S. are being asked to gather up their GPS/GNSS equipment and head outdoors for Surveying USA, an initiative designed to raise awareness about NSPS and the surveying profession as a whole. Surveyors and other participants will occupy points and gather data for time periods ranging from 30 minutes to four hours or more. The events will kick off National Surveyors Week, which runs March 20-26.

Although the events are being coordinated nationally through NSPS, each state will celebrate in a different way. “There will be a coordinator for every state, and each coordinator can decide how to draw attention to the events in his or her state,” explained Debi Anderson, NSPS Governor of Montana and chair of the NSPS Surveying USA committee. “We have some states holding Lincoln memorials, while others are highlighting special monuments in their state. Ideally, surveyors at each location will be available to answer questions about the event and discuss the role of surveyors in the community. It’s a great opportunity for surveyors to share what they do.”

The goal is to have at least one surveyor involved from each state so that all 50 states are represented in the effort. However, Anderson believes the events will be much larger. “The response so far has been overwhelming,” she said, noting that Guam, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are also expected to participate. “Even if we only have 10 people from every state, that’s more than 500 people participating at one time. And that’s the thing I find exciting--we’re all going to start at the same time, regardless of the time zone, so these events could really generate some good publicity.”

Beyond drawing the attention of the media and the general public, the events will also serve an even greater purpose. Survey data that meet NGS requirements will be used to update the National Spatial Reference System, a nationwide survey control network which links and improves federal, state, and local surveying and mapping activities. The NGS is providing field notes and instructions on how to upload data to OPUS, which will be used to process and publish the survey results.

Anyone with a GPS or GNSS unit (handheld or otherwise) is welcome to participate; a surveying background and membership in the NSPS is not required. “We’re actually hoping to get a broad range of participants, from surveyors and GIS professionals to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and anyone else who’s interested and has GPS equipment,” Anderson said.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, contact your NSPS state affiliate or e-mail Anderson at nspssurveyingusa@yahoo.com. Additional details can also be found at www.nspsmo.org .

Group Moves Forward with ACSM Realignment

The ad-hoc ACSM Reorganization Committee reached a broad agreement in January on recommending a realignment of ACSM as a unified membership organization with close ties among professionals in diverse disciplines and geographic areas. The committee developed a more inclusive mission statement of the realigned organization, recommended that it be named ACSM, and drafted a proposed structure for this organization.

The new mission statement recognizes the different disciplines represented by the organization and emphasizes welcoming a diversity of expertise rather than splintering the group by profession. The scope of the new mission statement reflects the progress that has occurred in surveying and mapping science and technology, as well as the need to create an organization with a greater meaning and value to a growing and diverse group of surveying and mapping professionals.

The committee overwhelmingly endorsed the name “American Congress on Surveying and Mapping,” citing its long history in the cross-disciplinary field of surveying and mapping. A number of participants were of the opinion that a national organization should “build the future of our profession” and “speak with one voice.”

The discussion on the proposed governance structure was guided by a number of key points. These included the desire to ensure involvement of a wide range of geospatial constituencies, to facilitate implementation of new programs and activities of value to membership, and to encourage participation in these programs and activities. The proposed governance structure will feature a board of directors elected by the membership at large, with no board seats set aside for specific interest areas within the overall membership. However, segments within the membership defined by their specialized areas of interest, expertise, geography, and other distinguishing characteristics will be able to form and feed into the board’s activities in a relatively flexible structure. This will allow any member to become involved based on their interests and willingness to participate.

The work accomplished by the ad hoc committee will be followed by the release of its report to current member organization leaderships and their memberships. This report will present the proposed structure as well as some of the suggested future core activities. After a brief comment period, it is expected that further refinement will take place, including discussion of membership fees and internal administrative issues. The committee’s recommendations will be presented to the boards of directors of the member organizations at the 2011 Survey Summit in San Diego.

For more information, contact Curtis Sumner, ACSM executive director, at curtis.sumner@acsm.net.