Professional Development

All surveyors in Louisiana must maintain a certain number of Professional Development Hours (PDH) each year to keep their licenses. Many meet these requirements through state conventions and local meetings, much like others around the country. These meetings and conventions are usually filled with small-talk and a few presenters or forums for the surveyors to listen to, most of which surveyors pay attention to as readily as an ADD child in geometry. The most common response when asked why they didn’t take the laser scanning or GIS topics more seriously is “it’s not what we do”.

That answer is perfectly acceptable, as the life of any businessman is filled with so much day-to-day management that learning about offshoots and related business practices are impossible to retain more than a few days. This does not remove the professional, however, from the effects these things have on him. Here are three things that would help you to be ready for the future and make those PD hours take on more meaning:
  1. Learn a computer language
    1. Python and Java are relatively easy to learn with lots of free online documentation. As our information (survey data) becomes more fluid in how it’s created and shared, having an understanding of how computers talk will save a lot of headaches and creates more opportunities.
  2. Start slimming down
    1. While being physically fit is important, this means becoming less bulky by removing the physical parts of the data flow and keeping the digital ones organized in as small a space as possible. Current and future data building methods create massive amounts of data, so much so that keeping physical copies of everything is impractical. Keeping things in small, simple file structures also makes finding and using data for years easier.
  3. Learn about photo modeling
    1. There are many paths surveying tech may evolve to, but my prediction is area capture via imagery and scanning. If you agree, then learning about how to build and work with models is potentially free and the skills required in how you create that data transfer from cheap photo-models to full on laser scans.
Those topics are things that any surveyor stands to benefit from, but as every region is different in some way so too are the needs of the professionals who work there. What would you recommend as good topics to bring up at a young surveyors next PDH meeting? 
Posted by Andrew Gaiennie on Jul 13, 2011 11:16 PM EDT