Dr. Paiva's article, “Why Can't Johnny Pass The Exam,” is supremely indicative of the disconnect between those outside, and presumably above, the rank and file of the surveying trade and those soldiers out here trying to pay the bills. The new economy coupled with technology will dictate, in fact, a need for fewer surveyors, contrary to Dr. Paiva’s reasoning. Everything is set to contract in some way, not expand. And if that doesn't happen as a consequence of potential new surveyors getting real to our predicament, then market forces will have their way eventually, à la that bursting sound heard around the world compliments of real estate.

Surveyors will appear on scene as the demand for their services (which certainly isn't what it used to be) increases. Our ranks are certainly not stretched thin now. I know of accomplished licensed surveyors selling cars to make ends meet. Many work only part time. There were many factors at work affecting surveying long before the current hard times set in. To my mind, most notable was when the banks decided they didn't need us any longer back in the ’90s. After all, a mortgage company being run out of every fifth basement on the block means lots of competition. In light of that, the requirement for most surveys went out the door. Housing as a viable continuing industry is not sustainable.

So where does that leave surveyors? Larger, specialized companies will thrive. The sole proprietors and smaller companies-well, will not. But the latter is where most surveyors have found a way to make a decent living. Do the math. Fewer surveyors in the future will be needed. 

Dr. Paiva is right about one thing: A lot of people have already rationalized that a survey isn't necessary. After all, they can't eat it and they can't drive it to town, so what good is a survey, they say. They will opt to just put that money into landscaping or fencing, something they can see and feel. It's just human nature, yours and mine.

--Submitted by e-mail; name withheld by request


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