I’m not going to argue with Albert Einstein, especially when it comes to time.

“I never think of the future,” the famed scientist and author of the theory of relativity once said. “It comes soon enough.”

Indeed. Another year has ended, and a new one has begun. It seems like we just celebrated the arrival of 2013, and now we already are welcoming in 2014.

Of course, the new year brings promises and challenges for the surveying and geospatial community. POB asked some equipment and software dealers to offer their opinions for 2014, and their answers may surprise you.

Many of them believe new technological trends, including unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), lasers scanners and software integration, offer growth opportunities for many surveyors.

“How people will leverage that technology is going to be fascinating and is exciting,” said George Allport Jr., the president of Keystone Precision Instruments. “There’s going to be tremendous growth, and that’s going to be exciting to be associated with.”

In truth, the technology already is here. Major manufacturers such as Leica, Topcon, Trimble and Faro all offer the latest in scanning equipment. Some dealers said that advancements in software will fuel innovation this year. And although the FAA prohibits commercial use of UAS (remember, please don’t call them “drones”) in the United States, the technology has taken off in many other countries. The FAA has promised it will integrate commercial UAS into the national airspace by 2015, and the agency released its first roadmap, outlining progress toward that goal, in late 2013. To paraphrase Einstein, UAS will come soon enough.

The big issues aren’t about what new technology will come along but how can surveyors prepare for new trends; how can surveyors decide what technology will work for them; and how can surveyors make the most out of new tech if they decide it fits their business.

POB will strive to answer those questions in 2014, both in the magazine and at www.pobonline.com. POB wants to continue to offer business strategies to surveyors to maximize their work. POB wants to offer suggestions for capitalizing on emerging trends and technologies. POB wants to be the place surveyors turn to for news they can use.

With a new year beginning, there’s no better time to reassess our bearings. Looking ahead is a good thing, but we can’t ignore what’s already taking place. Software has improved, scanners have evolved and technological advances have come soon enough.

The future is now.

I think Einstein would agree.

POB wishes everyone a safe 2014. To help everyone stay safe in the new year, Ron Koons of the consulting firm RoSaKo Safety will answer your questions about surveyor safety and OSHA compliance. Email your question to Ron Koons at rosakosafety@prodigy.net with the subject line, “POB Safety Q&A,” and he will address your question in an upcoming issue of POB.

Share your thoughts on this column at www.pobonline.com or www.rpls.com. To contact Editor John Hetzler, send an e-mail to hetzlerj@bnpmedia.com