Action Plans: Forum on the Future of Surveying

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series September 2016

The second meeting of the Forum on the Future of Surveying produced a plan of action and strategy.

Editor’s note: This column continues to provide monthly coverage of the national initiative, Forum on the Future of Surveying (FFOS). See the first installment in our March issue.

The goals of the second meeting of the Forum on the Future of Surveying, held in Baton Rouge in June 2016, were fulfilled: identifying three focus areas and forming subcommittees to work on each (read the meeting report). The selected focus areas are informed in part by the more than 2,200 responses from the online questionnaire developed for the NSPS for the period of April 3 to June 1 (read the questionnaire summary) and from feedback garnered from the participating forum organizations, their leadership, and general membership.

National Brand and Image

This subcommittee will explore definitions and image development as well as create talking points and sample elevator speeches for use in multiple situations. Goals include developing a message and definition of surveying, developing a brand and logo/symbol, increasing professional and public awareness, identifying practical yet impactful promotion and advertising options, and creating a unified message for education and recruiting/mentoring task forces to use for downstream development. The team has to look at the long game: considering future-year marketing and PR plans and programs.

Educating and Education

Strong themes and specific goals for this subcommittee stand out: toolkits for elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary programs plus a compilation of resources for professionals for both formal and ad hoc education and outreach opportunities. The idea is to have sets of resources developed with a consistent message.

To do this, practical matters will need to be addressed, such as kinds of deliverable formats for presentations and for specific target audiences and how to provide organization guidelines. Discussions at both meetings identified the need to also continue to educate the profession, with companion work through the recruiting and mentoring subcommittee and targeting the public through the work of the national brand and image subcommittee.

The second meeting of the forum produced a plan of action and strategy.

Recruiting & Mentoring

A key challenge: How best to encourage and engage members of the profession to mentor and recruit? This team will explore how to expand markets in defining the profession and to highlight appropriate technologies to bring younger people in. Mechanisms this team will develop include a letter to all surveyors from NSPS, presentations at conferences by the NSPS president, and PowerPoint presentations for state NSPS directors to present.

There is a lot of enthusiasm for the development of tech-savvy ways to recruit young people, which of course will require feedback and help from young people. The Young Surveyors Network will be key to this initiative. Other ideas to be formally explored and developed will include a Master Mentor Award and developing lists of actions that individual surveyors can tackle. For each idea chosen for further action, all three subcommittees will develop measurable criteria to gauge success over time.

Another key organizational development is that the NSPS will be assuming leadership of the forum, transitioning from the NCEES. The NCEES will continue to participate as a member organization; they graciously sponsored (both financially and organizationally) the initial forum and should be acknowledged and applauded for doing so.

The subcommittees have set up an online Basecamp to continue their work of these focus areas, and we will continue to keep you posted on progress. But you should also continue to provide feedback to your professional associations and societies to help the respective representatives on the subcommittees keep the ball rolling.

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