Staying Relevant

In my last post, I mentioned the current attempt to remove the education requirements civil engineers need to become a PLS. If you think I'm missing the mark, you should check out the service developed by First American called ExpressMap. ExpressMap's focus is to skip the time and cost of traditional ALTA surveys by using a flyover and publicly available data. Essentially, the technology and methods outside of what can be learned on a jobsite are now assaulting a prime income maker for the licensed surveyor. At the same time, these professionals are trying to remove themselves from what can help them the most in the name of practicality and tradition.

 This series of events reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend, where he asked me if I thought he couldn't keep up with what was valuable to his own business. His implication was that he would keep up with what was important without some inexperienced, fresh-out-of-collage kid  telling him what was best. My answer is the same: no, no you don’t have any idea how far behind you are. It's not an attack or insult, just the facts. The reason there is a degree for surveying is a human is incapable of learning all the basics of spatial data acquisition and use without a structured environment run by people who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of knowledge.

College students are not overeducated technicians. A degree program is a great way to help our profession grow. The future of what a surveyor is means more than what it is now, where surveying forming the base of a wider number of new and advancing industries . Just like ExpressMap coming out of the blue or LightSquared threatening GPS, enterprises will always exist to challenge the validity of the surveyor. My preferred method to meet these challenges is not to legislate competitors to death but to understand and to create new solutions, much like what our detractors do but from within and with a mind of supporting my fellows.

What are you going to do, what are you doing to reaffirm the PLS's value? What technologies or ideas make the most sense to pursue? 
Posted by Andrew Gaiennie on Dec 2, 2011 10:53 AM EST