Publisher’s Desk: Evolution to xyHt

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series June 2014

by Neil Sandler

The decision to change an established three-decade-old brand into something new is one of the most difficult of my 40+ year working career.

While I introduced the idea to my inner circle almost four years ago, ironically I was the final person who needed convincing it was the right thing to do. I’m an old-school guy who resists change at all costs.

To the many people who responded positively to our announcement last month that Professional Surveyor will become xyHt in July, thank you. To those who feel that by changing our name we are abandoning the surveying profession, we understand your concern and simply ask that you give xyHt a chance to ease that concern.

Our evolution to xyHt is the result of a three-year process during which we asked questions about the future of surveying and quietly listened to the responses offered by some of the leading authorities in the survey profession and business world.

The inspiring news we brought away from these discussions is that our expanded focus puts a much larger slate of opportunities at the feet of surveying professionals. Nothing is being taken away from you. Quite the contrary, we are handing you the world. You are the experts in precision positioning, measurement, and the professional judgment required of such valuable and essential work.

The demand for this expertise and your services has never been greater. Yes, it may involve traveling outside your county (if you’ve only focused on boundary surveying), or you might be bringing new services to your local area. Yes, it may involve learning about related disciplines as diverse as hydrographic surveying, building information modeling, and possibly even forensics or precision agricultural work. But that’s exciting, and yes, it’s work that pays, and often pays well.

The truth is we have been evolving for some time. Ten years ago we launched regular columns introducing laser scanning. Some readers protested, but scanning is now an essential tool used in increasingly creative and profitable ways. A story in this issue (see pp. 22-24) outlines how an Indiana surveying company is discovering new uses for its scanner almost weekly.

Now, the future looks like it will be adding UAS to your toolboxes. Who could have imagined that a decade ago? What’s next? Look to xyHt to both inform you and help guide the way to your success.

Last week, Bill Orsinger, the incoming president of the Maryland Society of Surveyors, stopped by our offices. Bill, who is director of survey for one of our state’s largest engineering and construction services companies, spoke positively about how his company is in the midst of a hiring spree of 20-somethings who are excited about their futures. These newcomers to our world see traditional surveying as just one of a variety of services now being offered to their clients. When I mentioned that one of the country’s largest surveying firms, SAM, Inc., is now calling itself “a geospatial solutions company,” Bill replied, “Sounds like us!”

Similarly, when a colleague who works in the GIS profession wanted to discuss our change, he mentioned how GIS professionals now too feel the pressure to expand their horizons. “We’re no longer the new kids on the block,” he told me, “and if anything, we’ve not evolved enough over the past ten years.” How ironic!

Our evolution to xyHt is our way of providing this profession with a fresh and informed vision of the future. Our contributors are some of the finest minds in the profession that we could have gathered, and yes, they include younger folks who are optimistic about their careers in our world. xyHt is nothing more than a conduit of their ideas, expertise, and experiences.

xyHt is not really creating anything new, but rather providing a reflection of what is taking place in the real and rapidly changing world around us. It’s an exciting world, and we’re honored to be a part of it.

Our goal is to hand you the world of today and tomorrow on a plate. The first course arrives next month.

—Neil

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