NSPS President’s Message to the Membership

A message to the membership of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS)

 from the NSPS President Jon Warren, PLS


To all our new members, “welcome to your National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS)”, and to our previous members, “welcome to your new NSPS!”  And, borrowing a phrase from a past NSPS President and Chairman of the NSPS Joint Government Affairs Committee, “It’s a great day to be a Professional Surveyor”! 

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the previous NSPS Presidents, Officers, Directors, Governors, and staff.  They built the strong foundation for us to continue to grow our new NSPS!  We have finally become what our leaders envisioned back in 1981 when NSPS was created.

Who and what is the new NSPS?  We are 16,000+ members from the United States, Canada, and from other countries around the world.  The majority of NSPS members are from the 47 Joint Membership Affiliate States.   And, we are your National Voice and Advocate with:

Congress: We are strongly represented in the Congress by our lobbyist, Mr. J.B. Byrd, of John M. Palatiello and Associates, opening doors and getting us heard, while our NSPS Government Affairs Committee continuously reviews legislation, provides guidance to our lobbyist, and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for decisions.  We are your vigilant national eyes, ears, and voice. You may have noticed that we recently reported that LightSquared is again in the news. We are watching!!!

ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology): NSPSrecruits and supports a team of Program Evaluators (PEV) who are our advocates in support of our responsibilities to ABET for the review and evaluation for accreditation of multiple 4-yr and 2-yr degree surveying programs.  This obligation is among the most important roles for NSPS in protecting the integrity of the surveying profession. Surveyors, not others must fill that role.

MINIMUM STANDARD DETAIL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEYS: Gary Kent and the NSPS/ALTA Committee continue to answer questions from members on an ongoing basis, and utilize those interactions to develop an issues database from which to negotiate with representatives from ALTA in developing updated standards every five (5) years.  The new 2016 ALTA/NSPS standards are scheduled to become effective February 23, 2016, and will be the subject of a workshop during the NSPS/MAPPS 2016 Spring Conference in Washington D.C.

COFPAES (Council on Federal Procurement for Architectural and Engineering Services): the organization, currently comprised of NSPS, MAPPS, and ASCE, has traditionally been responsible for the continuous defense of the Brooks Act, which dictates that the Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process be utilized for the procurement of professional services (such as architecture, engineering, surveying, and mapping) for projects on which federal funding is utilized.  COFPAES also acts at the request of state societies on issues related to the use of the “mini-Brooks” in that state for state-funded projects.

COFPAES acts regularly your behalf, making immediate direct contact with offending agencies, reminding them of their responsibility to utilize the QBS.

CFedS (Certified Federal Surveyor) Program: NSPS administers a contract with BLM for the development and delivery of CFedS program/training materials through its relationship with a third party contractor. NSPS manages the financial aspect of the program for the facilitation of payment to the contractor. A good example of NSPS working together with a federal agency, resulting in a mutual beneficial relationship.

CST (Certified Survey Technician) Program: NSPScreated this program more than 30 years ago as a mechanism for survey technicians to be able to demonstrate their competence during the multiple components of serving as a surveying intern, and as an evaluation tool for employers and educators to evaluate the progress of their respective employees and students.  Also, NSPS recently entered into an agreement with the U. S. Air Force to provide CST examinations to Airmen, and has begun dialog intended to include members of all branches of the military in CST. A Good example of NSPS providing a nationwide program, consistent throughout the nation, thereby helping the states by not needing to develop 50 different and inconsistent tests.

NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying): NSPSis a member of the NCEES Participating Organizations Liaison Council (POLC), and is an active participant in the NCEES Surveyors Forum. Recently, NSPSExecutive Director Curt Sumner was appointed to serve as an advisor to the NCEES Future of Surveying Task Force. NCEES also works with NSPS to promote the surveying profession to potential future surveyors.

NGS, BLM, FEMA, USGS (Survey/Geospatial related federal agencies): Curt Sumner, NSPS Executive Director, and members of the NSPS Executive Committee routinely meet with staff at those agencies to provide our support, feedback, council, and exposure for their initiatives.

NSPS Foundation, Inc: Serves as the Steward for over $25,000 in scholarships, funded by a variety of individuals, companies, and organizations, to encourage and support college education in surveying and the geospatial sciences. The Foundation also maintains a Disaster Relief Fund for surveyors, and their businesses and employees who are impacted by disastrous events.

NSPS Trig-Star:Is a long standing nationwide high school student math competition. The 2015 competition included students from across the country in the local and state competition, with 39 state winners participating in the national competition. The top three (3) national finishers were from Alaska, Wyoming, and Alabama, respectfully. While not specifically developed to recruit students into the surveying profession, CST helps them to understand what surveyors do. In recent years, NSPS created the Trig-Star Scholarship, a $5000 award for which any high school senior who has participated in Trig-Star during their high school career can apply when they can confirm acceptance into a four-year or two-year surveying related curriculum.

What is NSPS doing for our membership?

NSPS is working with the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act:

This bill will call upon the professional surveyor community to assist the Department of the Interior in creating a single, federal multipurpose cadastre in accordance with standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, while also encouraging the integration of state and local government real property data and holdings. Such an inventory will assist in improved federal land management, resource conservation, environmental protection and utilization of real property, as well as identify property the federal government no longer needs to own.”

COGO (Coalition of Geospatial Organizations), NSPSis a founding member of the group, which is collectively engaged in issues affecting the entire geospatial community which includes more than 170,000 individual producers and users of geospatial data and technology.  Recently, COGOpublished a Report Card on the status of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) efforts on the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), pointing out areas in which improvements are needed. The group is also working together to find common ground to advocate for the Geospatial Data Act. NSDI Framework Data

NSPS is working closely with other organizations on business issues affecting private-practice surveying and mapping firms through the Business Coalition for Fair Competition (BCFC).

NSPS Media Outlets:

NSPS Radio Hour– Curt Sumner, our Executive Director hosts this one hour broadcast each Monday at 11am EST, which typically has more than 100,000 downloads per year, in addition to those who listen when the show is being broadcast.    

NSPS News & ViewsTrish Milburn, our Executive Administrator, works with Curt, our Government Affairs team, and various other media sources to assemble this Weekly e-mail/newsletter.  Trish and Curt also collaborate to maintain our Facebook, Twitter, and Dual Frequency Blogs.

NSPS supports travel for delegates and pays dues, as your representative to FIG (Federation Internationale Geographers)on the international stage.  NSPS members should take advantage of this membership in FIG, and develop a presence and partnership with other international firms.  There is advanced technology available to bring to other countries of the world that are looking to utilize, but need your assistance to apply it to their locale.  FIG meets annually for the “Working Week” and every four years for a Congress at different cities around the world: June 2016, Christ Church, New Zealand; June 2017, Helsinki, Finland; Congress 2018, Istanbul, Turkey; June 2019, Hanoi, Vietnam; and we are planning to submit our proposal to host the FIG Congress in April 2022!

NSPS hosts an annual Student Competition, providing students with an opportunity to hone their skills in organizing a project and presenting it using various media (Paper, Map, and Oral Presentation) utilized in surveying professional and/or scientific work.  The competition also provides the opportunity for students to directly interact with practicing professionals.

The NSPS Young Surveyors, connected with the FIG Young Surveyors, is a program through which Surveyors who are 35 years old or younger can develop a greater connection with NSPS, and can share their perspectives, influence, and expertise with their peers.

April 13-16, 2015 NSPS partnered with MAPPS in Arlington, VA., for what is expected to be the first in a series of joint conferences.  Some highlights of the conference were: the NSPS 14th annual Student competition; a geospatial symposium presented by NGS; a very successful joint “Capitol Hill Day”, (meetings with over 80 senators and over 100 representatives); a very well attended 3DEP (3D Elevation Program)

http://nationalmap.gov/3DEP/Stakeholders Meeting, with federal agencies (USGS, NGS, FEMA) and members of COGO (NSPS, MAPPS, ASPRS, NSGIC, NGAC); NSPScommittee meetings; and the NSPS Board of Directors meeting. A 2016 joint conference is being planned for March 14-18 in the same location.

How does the fact that NSPS now has over 16,000 members, enhance our influence with Congress and Federal agencies?

This five-fold increase from only a few years ago, not only provides more clout to open doors in Congress, it also provides a much larger unified group of Professional Surveyors who have personal and/or professional relationships with their respective Senators and Representatives, and who can visit with those legislators in their home states/districts. 

In the best-case scenario, where do you see NSPS a year from today?

We would be very pleased with having an agreement in place with all 50 states and Puerto Rico, bringing our membership numbers close to 20,000 and rising as the economy improves.

We also want to re-establish our National Surveying and Mapping Conference.  We need to lead the way to our Geospatial future!

What are my primary goals for NSPS for 2015-2016?

  • Strengthen our National Voice/Advocate with Congress, Federal Agencies, and FIG. FLAIR Act, National Geospatial Data Act, QBS, ABET, JGAC, NCEES, etc…
  • Develop Promotional Materials to Market our Profession for all states
  • Promote, support, and grow the NSPS Young Surveyors Program.  At each state level and FIG; future NSPS and profession leaders
  • Promote, support, and grow the NSPS CST Program. 3500, and growing with Military program addition
  • Connectivity, Networking, and Strength in Numbers
  • NSPS Spring and Fall meetings: sharing, listening, and gaining ideas
  • Survey Summit Forum for all state Society Presidents



Jon Warren, P.L.S.


National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS)




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