Guest Essay: Vision, Education, and Excitement!

Over the course of more than four decades as a surveyor, engineer, and planner, Bill Beardslee has shared his experiences and insights through (literally) thousands of presentations and writings, including many in this publication examining business, legal, and practical elements of our profession. Bill is a tireless advocate for our profession, having served as president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors and having been honored as their 2006 Surveyor of the Year.

When I started in this wonderful profession many years ago, the services we provide today would have been seen only on sci-fi TV shows like The Jetsons and Lost in Space. Taking locations from a satellite—what’s a satellite?  Taking a point cloud scan of a building—“Danger Will Robinson, danger!” And a robotic laser instrument—just fantasy.

I see no reason why the surveyors of tomorrow won’t be working with technology that we haven’t thought of yet and using it for tasks far removed from the use of our services today.  There may come a day when most surveying can be done from satellite imagery at an accuracy unimagined today.

But where will the excitement and camaraderie come from? After 45 years, I hold very dear the memories of finding an old corner in a rock pile in the woods and of digging out an old monument last cited in a deed in 1789, and the great fun of sharing a slide in the mud on a mountainous site with fellow crew members. The more technology we embrace, the further our outdoor roots are bared and left to dry out.

While I believe the field expertise of the future surveyor will diminish, the avenues potentially available to those surveyors are very exciting. They will be better suited for the continued technology explosion as they will be better educated and more in tune with technology than we were. Most will have four-year degrees with better business and communication skills.

I firmly believe the surveyor of tomorrow will be an exciting, educated person with vision and amazing technical knowledge and will be a leader in the professional world.

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