Discussions on what land surveyors should call themselves are becoming increasingly common as many surveyors seek to broaden their scope beyond boundary surveying by offering scanning, modeling, GIS and other services. From my perspective, a change in terminology could be a good move for a profession dogged by value perception issues and education problems.



APOBNewsline storyin our May issue focused on Purdue University’s controversial decision to end its Bachelor of Science degree program in land surveying and geomatics engineering (BS LSGE) in favor of a broader program focused on geospatial science and engineering. Elsewhere in that issue, columnist Milton Dennywonders if it’s time to move away from the term “surveyors” and begin using a more expansive label. These discussions are becoming increasingly common as many surveyors seek to broaden their scope beyond boundary surveying by offering scanning, modeling, GIS and other services.

From my perspective, a change in terminology could be a good move for a profession dogged by value perception issues and education problems. Today’s young people are drawn to high-tech fields with an emphasis on earth-oriented applications, so a title such as “geospatial engineer” or “geomatics professional” is likely to attract far more attention among the next generation of prospective professionals. Also, it seems logical that individuals with such titles could command higher fees simply based on the perception of those roles. While boundary surveying and retracement services will always be needed, most professionals agree that diversification and the embracing of advanced technologies and practices are key to the profession’s long-term survival. It makes sense that the terminology associated with the profession would likewise become broader in scope.


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