Seemingly big news came out of the ACSM Congress
meeting in San Diego last week: Representatives to the Congress approved a motion to disband and dissolve ACSM, with all operation, control, assets and liabilities turned over to NSPS.
A statement issued by the presidents of the three member organizations—NSPS
—noted that the NSPS would immediately attempt to create a unified organization comprising individual members representative of the broader definition of surveying, including professional surveyors, geodesists and other geospatial professionals. Specifically:
“The mission of the organization shall be to represent and advance the sciences and disciplines of surveying, geodesy, cartography, and related fields through education and communication, in furtherance of public good.”
The realigned group plans to reach out to all members of the geospatial community, including “licensed and non-licensed boundary surveyors and construction surveyors, geodetic surveyors and mapping surveyors, GIS specialists and photogrammetrists, machine control and LiDAR specialists, cartographers and drafters, and any other related disciplines.”
I spoke with Curt Sumner, executive director of ACSM, and Bill Coleman, president of NSPS, to get their views on this recent development. Both Sumner and Coleman emphasized that this development is a logical first step in the ACSM’s reorganization. “It’s part of the realignment structure,” Coleman said. “We’re seeking to reunify the organization. We hope it’s going to be a very amicable marriage that will result in one organization that adequately represents all three geospatial groups.” Coleman stressed that all three member organizations are committed to working together to create a unified organization.
Sumner agreed, noting that the urgency was primarily for financial reasons and that NSPS has the resources to best assist with the transition. “It’s important to understand that ACSM still exists—nothing has been torn apart. It’s really just a name change. All the people are still here, and we’re committed to maintaining our existing relationships and following through on our commitments,” he said. “What this move does is disband the Congress, which essentially moves the administrative responsibilities for the organization to the NSPS until a new unified structure is created.”
A committee is being formed of representatives from NSPS, AAGS and GLIS to conduct a financial operational analysis of the organization and begin developing a plan for creating a member-driven organization that is inclusive of the all the groups it represents. Sumner admitted that the tasks ahead are daunting. But he believes the long-term benefits will far outweigh the short-term challenges. “Everyone who is a part of ACSM through the various member organizations are tied to surveying in some way or another,” he said. “Our organization needs all of these people so that we can better understand how all of our work is interconnected.”
Although the group will move forward under the NSPS name, a change in the organization’s name as part of the reorganization has not been ruled out. Sumner said the organization name might remain NSPS, it might become ACSM, or it might be something else entirely. “We need to end up with something that is representative of the breadth of the professionals we represent, but it’s hard to say right now what that decision might be,” he said.
Both Sumner and Coleman agree that individual participation is crucial, now more than ever, as the organization seeks to find the best way forward.