FieldNotes: Arizona PLS Assoc. Conference Addresses GIS and Surveying Standards

The Arizona Professional Land Surveyors’ Association held its annual state conference April 24-26 at the Prescott Resort in Prescott, Arizona. Attended by more than 200 surveyors and geospatial professionals, the conference featured national speaker Jeff Lucas on boundary disputes and pincushion problems, Warren Ward on the location of the Four Corners monument, and Michael Dennis on GIS initiatives and software at the National Geodetic Survey. Regional presenters discussed issues ranging from water boundary law and updated minimum standards for the practice of surveying to crowd-sourced GIS data and its uses for surveyors.

One particularly well-attended session discussed the issue of GIS professional licensure, led by the APLS Geospatial Chapter chairman Steve Whitney. Arizona is a national leader in GIS and surveying cooperation and has developed a standards and specifications document that is used by governmental entities statewide. The licensure discussion presentation concluded that rather than pursuing statutory registration of GIS professionals, a focus on metadata accuracy and education would be a more effective way to insure high-quality geospatial data availability and use.

The exhibitor hall was always packed and featured the latest in surveying technology from the conference’s Gold sponsors (RDO Integrated Controls, Holman’s USA, and Sterling Systems) and several regional firms. Terrestrial and airborne lidar scanning devices were a popular exhibit, including innovative approaches to deploying UAV technology in advance of the anticipated FAA regulations permitting commercial drone aircraft operation.

Easily the most popular social venue of the conference was the Texas hold ’em tournament until the early hours of Friday morning at the Hotel St. Michael bar on historic Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott. 

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