When the ACSM governing body voted in July 2011 to disband and work toward merging the respective corporate entities of ACSM and its member organizations, there was a difference of opinion in how a unified organization would best represent the diverse group of members. Citing an inadequate realignment plan, unsatisfactory negotiation on critical concerns and a lack of unity in the decision-making process, the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS) decided to continue as a separate organization.

On April 18, 2012, GLIS formally announced that it would be moving forward as an independent entity with the goal of becoming the national premier surveying and mapping organization for all that have an interest in promoting and working with geospatial data. “We envision GLIS to be the go-to organization for any national survey-related GIS issue or concern,” said GLIS President Coleen Johnson, RPLS.

The organization plans to provide a continuing forum for communication and coordination between GIS and surveying professionals as well as develop useful educational events and materials. Johnson noted that a 2012 membership in GLIS includes a two-hour ethics course, which is required by many state licensing boards for continuing education, as well as discounted rates on other online courses that are in development. Links to free software and examples of professional land surveying exam questions will be provided in the members-only section of the GLIS website, and an “Ask an Attorney” feature for legal questions related to the geospatial world is also in the works.

Other GLIS objectives include fostering the development and adoption of useful standards, specifications, and procedures for the development and operation of land information systems; and supporting local, regional, and national cooperation among other GIS and surveying organizations. “We are looking to create new ideas, new talent and new energy,” the GLIS board of directors said in a statement.

Johnson believes there is room for both the NSPS and GLIS and pointed out that a number of registered surveyors were members of both organizations under the ACSM umbrella. “We will continue to offer a discounted membership rate to any regular member of NSPS,” she said. The peer-reviewed journal SaLIS will continue to be jointly owned and produced by NSPS, AAGS and GLIS.

What’s different is that GLIS will provide a focus on the geographic and land information system disciplines as they relate to the surveying world—an emphasis that the GLIS board of directors believes is lacking in other organizations. It’s a focus that’s being captured through a wide angle lens. “We intend to remain flexible enough to change with the advances in technology and the evolving interests of our members,” Johnson said.

What do you think? Do you support the move by GLIS to remain an independent organization? Please share your comments below.