Surveyors Invited to Join Research Delegation

Land Surveyors and other geospatial professionals are being sought to join a delegation to Switzerland in September of 2018 to research models for cadastral systems. This is the first of an envisioned series of international delegations and exchanges seeking to foster a broader understanding of cadasters and cadastral systems within the surveying community. This is to encourage the surveying profession to take a leadership role in conversations and initiatives in cadastral and land records modernization and reform. 

The delegation is originating from the U.S., but geospatial professionals worldwide are encouraged to join in, especially professionals engaged in the operation of cadasters in their own countries. This could be a good opportunity to compare notes on various cadastral and land information systems and share this with the U.S. delegates.

Delegation organizer Rich Leaver is a practicing land surveyor from Wisconsin and is passionate about modernizing land information systems.  He has over 30 years of experience in both the public and private sector.  He considers the current systems in the U.S. to be suffering from archaic, inefficient, and expensive legacy mechanism, and asks the question: “What could we be doing that could improve this situation?” He cites the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) D+ grade for the U.S.  on its land information systems as evidence that it is time for change.  He believes that this change will only happen when geospatial professionals have the opportunity to see firsthand modern and very successful models.  He believes that a successful model exists in the country of Switzerland and has arranged for a delegation to visit Swisstopo, the federal agency there that manages the cadaster. Read Leaver’s RPLSToday post on the subject here.

Dr. Daniel Steudler of the Swiss Directorate on Cadastral Surveying has graciously extended an invitation for a U.S. delegation of geospatial professionals to visit Swisstopo September 12-14 in Bern, Switzerland.  There will be a 2-day session with learning focused on the Swiss way of land surveying, mapping, GIS and modern land information systems. Swisstopo is also the host of the world’s first real-time network (RTN): Swipos. The 3rd day is an arranged tour of the Leica Geosystems factory in Heerbrugg

Many who have studied this cadastral model believe that a major contributor to the success of the Swiss cadaster is the emphasis on the role of the cadaster in the security and prosperity of the country – read the Swisstopo brochure on the subject here.

The bad news is that there are less than 2 months before this trip will take place.  The event organizers apologize that this could not have been scheduled out further to better work with all of your calendars.  After months of communications with the Swiss government, the opportunity for a focused 3-day learning event became available, and the event organizers decided to take it.

The good news is Swisstopo has room up to 12 more visitors, and they would love to welcome a U.S. delegation.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about different land information systems and to be part of this inaugural team. If you agree with Rich and several other distinguished delegates who have signed on, that real and positive change could come to U.S. land information systems and that surveyors and geospatial professionals should take the lead, here is a prime opportunity to help frame solutions.

This is a purely volunteer initiative at this time.  Delegates would need to cover their own travel expenses. This would, though, be a worthy cause for sponsorship by state and national surveying societies and associations and for respective young surveyors networks, international and domestic.  Corporate sponsorship is also welcome and will be acknowledged in the resultant papers and reports. The delegations should be producing reports and/or papers that can be shared with surveying professional associations and would make for interesting presentations at state society meetings.

If you have any further questions, please direct them to Rich Leaver at, 920-887-2401.


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