NSPS Questionnaire Says…

This entry is part 1 of 12 in the series July 2016

The NSPS questionnaire report is released.

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.

Responses to the questionnaire developed for the NSPS for the period of April 3 to June 1 total more than 2,200. Is this a scientific sampling of the views of surveying profession? Perhaps not, but it is a significant tally and should provide the FFOS with valuable insights in advance of the second forum meeting (mid-June).

To recap: at the initial meeting in January, representatives from 15 surveying-related associations, societies, and agencies were asked to brainstorm as many potential points for discussion as they could (with limited time). They were then asked to narrow the lists (e.g. strengths, weaknesses, threats, opportunities, recruitment, outreach, etc.), which were summarized in a report that you can download here.

This did make for a lengthy questionnaire; thank you to the hearty souls who took the time to participate. It was decided not to shorten or abridge the topics identified by the forum; they’re all items deemed worthy of consideration. The questionnaire was based on that report.

While it will be up to the NSPS and the representatives in the forum to look for relevant patterns and trends in the questionnaire and how they might inform recommendations moving forward, a few things stood out.

It appears that most responding surveyors had the view that the profession is, or should be, viewed broadly, at least in terms of services provided and activities performed. The subject of education and mentoring/apprenticeships is a hot topic (and one that xyHt is examining in this and subsequent issues).

There was “heat” in the free-form comments and elevator speech sections of the questionnaire, but the great majority of comments are well thought-out ideas and suggestions. Again, the questionnaire was never envisioned as a complete resource. Matters of supply and demand for surveying services were not directly examined; responses from individual surveyors do, though, give a glimpse of the state of markets in various regions of the country.

Surveying is a profession and provides services; these services constitute a market. But what are the prospects for the future as the Millennials (soon to outpace the Boomer bubble) hit their peak for such services? The local surveyor knows better than anyone his/her local conditions. Viewed as an entire profession (in matters of succession planning), it may behove the profession to commission an economic study, and federal grants are available for such undertakings.

The results of the survey included more than 2,200+ responses (some from every state) with 1,500 from the NSPS alone. The NSPS has the raw data for further analysis, but a summary was compiled as a single report, with two appendices (for respondent comments and “elevator speech” ideas).

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