Editor’s Desk: Can Do, Will Do

Think about what ties together the following challenges put forth in this issue. How do surveyors develop new markets for your services? How can you objectively examine a controversial boundary-surveying subject? How can you enrich mapping with extended data? And how is it that researchers dream up cutting-edge technologies surveyors use on land and in the water? My answer is that it takes people with a special can-do attitude.

A proactive attitude is essential not just for the tasks immediately at hand; it takes a special kind of can-do approach to anticipate the long game … sometimes the very long game. Two examples in this issue come from marine surveying and hydrography research and development. Jeff Salmon presents the story of how a full-service surveying firm proactively created a new worldwide market in scanning services for shipbuilding, fitting, and repair. Gavin Schrock explains insights from two noted scientists with distinguished tenures in naval and oceanographic research that show how can-do dedication over decades yielded some of the common tools surveyors use today.

We feature other fine examples of “can-do” showing us “how-to.” Andrew Gillis (son of longtime PSM contributor Jim Gillis) gives us a first-person look into the hard, gritty, cold, and challenging but ultimately rewarding work of surveying in the far north. Rudy Stricklan invites you to participate in an interactive exercise he’s kicking off to teach building effective “databased maps”; your input (via an online poll) will shape the design. Teresa Smithson applies the fruits of her academic research to the timely but sometimes controversial subject of coordinates as evidence in boundary research. This is a subject that must be examined objectively and soon. 

These days it might seem like scanners have taken over—perhaps you see the profession as a kind of “canned-do.” You can find laser measurement and scanning in such activities as fitting custom floor mats for cars or scanning your kitchen for remodeling, but there are many other new markets where surveyors could (and maybe should) exhibit their unique skills and expertise to become the preferred practitioners of scanning. In addition to the surveying company I mention above that is pursuing ship scanning, we also examine the potential scanning market niche in support of landscaping and landscape architecture.

It will take a lot of can-do attitude to face the ongoing and future challenges ahead for our profession, including revitalizing the national association, educating future surveyors, and researching, developing, and effectively implementing technologies, in the short game and in the long game. We plan to lead the effort.

Neil Sandler

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