Editorial: A Global Community

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Our LinkedIn Surveyors group with nearly 4,300 members continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It has become a unique global community. As manager of the group my only stipulation for membership is some kind of connection to surveying. With locations that span the globe, as expected, job descriptions run the gamut as to what kinds of surveying members do, where they work, and what education level they have. Members are not permitted to market products or services in the discussion area, and discussions are limited to surveying, not politics, personal attacks, etc. My goal is for the group to be a place where surveying professionals can gather and learn from each other.

Topics range from boundary surveying to geodesy to software. Most recently, there have been threads about whether or not surveyors should share survey information with other surveyors, why a surveyor cannot be a client advocate in boundary surveying, an inquiry about setting out azimuth alignments for underground drill rigs, and more.

Particularly heartwarming to me are the way our members respond graciously and kindly to even the most fundamental of inquiries as well as to the highly technical questions. Recently, for example, an Iranian geomatics engineer asked for assistance regarding resources for applications of ellipsoid definitions for the earth. The group responded.

Because America is one of the few countries on the planet where boundary determination is a major reason for licensing, I suspect there’s a bit of headscratching from some of our highly trained and educated overseas visitors over the boundary discussions. But I also suspect that they wish they had our kind of cadastral surveying as part of their offerings!

Knud Hermansen recently weighed in with a plea encouraging surveyors to be proactive in visiting high schools on "career days" and advocating a career in surveying. A particularly active discussion pertained to whether to locate headstones while doing an ALTA survey for a cemetery. Another discussion asked for recommendations for records keeping and billing software. As you can see, the topics have a wide range.

A regular poster to the group is Gene Roe, the editor of our LiDAR Blog/News/ Magazine. Gene follows the laser scanning industry very closely, and his posts and insight are very useful to anyone interested in this thriving geospatial space.

I’ve asked myself why there’s so much interest in the group from our overseas members, and I think it’s the same answer it’s always been: the world is interested in technology coming out of America. Often, they take this technology and run with it, creating jobs and wealth. We hear a lot about how our country is declining, but it’s my opinion, at least in the case of geospatial technology, we are not declining at all, but rather still leading the way.

A few months ago I posted a request to the group to provide their economic outlook for this year. As expected, the majority sentiment was for more of the same, even though we are seeing glimmers of increased construction activity. As evidence of an improving economy, the job postings are increasing. Please consider joining and participating in the group. Your contributions to this unique global community will help widen the circle.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.