Point of Beginning - October 2009 - (Page 43)

professionaltopography | BY JOSEPH V.R. PAIVA, PE, PS, PhD Our love-hate relationship with mapping and GIS. At the kickoff for the 2009 ESRI User Conference, ESRI CEO Jack Dangermond asked all of the attendees in the plenary session to introduce themselves to at least one neighbor. One of my neighbors turned out to be the GIS manager for a small town in the Rocky Mountain area. When he learned my profession, his response was: “What? A surveyor who isn’t afraid of GIS?” I just laughed in response. Since then, however, I have continued to reflect on this comment. to be due to a lack of realization that the body of knowledge we possess is considered by many, including non-surveyors, to include mapping. Just look at the average surveying textbook. For example, if you have Wolf and Ghilani’s “Elementary Surveying” handy, flip to the first chapter, and you’ll see that the formal expression of the surveyor’s role includes mapping. [S]urveying (geomatics) can be regarded as that discipline which encompasses all methods for measuring and collecting information about the physical earth and our environment, processing that information, and disseminating a variety of resulting products.1 While we produce charts, reports and data files, our dominant method of disseminating a resulting product is a map! Now, I know some of us call them plats or refer to them by other terms, but whatever you call them, in the end, they are maps. Surveying is Mapping Even if the GIS professional’s characterization of surveyors being afraid of GIS isn’t entirely accurate, it’s not way off the mark. To me, the activities involved in GIS are natural for a surveyor, just like CAD, COGO and CARTO activities. Surveyors have seldom, if ever, referred to their own records or the records at the local office of records as GIS—but, in mapping Jo Joseph V.R. Paiva, PhD, Ph PS, PE, is a consultant to developco ers er and marketers of products for the geomatics industry. ge He H can be reached at jvrpaiva@swbell.net. jv effect, that is what they are. In fact, GIS as a concept has been around long before computers made it the sweetheart technology to improve businesses and enterprises from A to Z. Not only have surveyors failed to recognize how GIS naturally complements their work, they have also failed to recognize their role in mapping. When I ask surveyors if they are mappers, many are quick to emphatically respond, “No.” It just doesn’t compute. How can surveyors deny that they have a role as mappers when that is often their main function? It seems Here’s another quote from Wolf and Ghilani that directly mentions maps: Surveying has been important since the beginning of civilization. Its earliest applications were in measuring and marking boundaries of property ownership. Throughout the years its importance has steadily increased with the growing demand for a variety of maps and other spatially related types of information.1 www.rpls.com | Point of Beginning | OCTOBER 2009 special section: http://www.rpls.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Point of Beginning - October 2009

Point of Beginning - October 2009
Web Site/Digital Edition Contents
Editor’s Points
Control on the Edge
Hurricane Watch
The Need for Speed
A Digital Desert
31 Degrees of Latitude
Taming the Wild GIS
The Magic Bullet
From the Ground Up
Professional Topography
Safety Sense
The Business Side
New & Notable
Classified Ads
Fun & Games
Ad Index

Point of Beginning - October 2009