Wishing You a Happy, Healthy 2017

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series january 2017

My, how time flies. Three years ago this month, we announced to the world our intent to transform our mainstay monthly magazine Professional Surveyor, which had been serving the surveying and precision measurement community for more than three decades, into the greater-encompassing pub you have on your screens.

And what a great ride it’s been so far—only to get even better.

In 2003, when I joined this publishing company, I never dreamt we’d become what we are today. The wide variety of topics we now cover, from the professional ap- plication of drone technology to the use of single photon lidar in surveying, wasn’t in our lexicon back then.

In the past month at three major industry events, Commercial UAV, Trimble Dimensions, and Autodesk University, we were on occasion, asked “Why xyHt?”

Five memorable moments (for me) contributed to our decision to launch xyHt.


One of the first trade shows I attended after becoming publisher was Con Expo in Las Vegas. There, Ray O’Connor, president of Topcon, walked me into a parking lot where he gave me a first-hand glimpse at machine control, a concept so unheard of that most everyone was stunned. I watched the blade on a bulldozer go up and down automatically and precisely without the direct input of the operator.


Around the same time, Geoff Jacobs, recently re- tired from Leica Geosystems, approached me with an idea for a regular column on something called “high-definition scanning.” It turned out to be one of our most popular columns, and scanning is now a standard tool for our readers.


Eight years ago at the huge Esri Users Conference, GIS professionals told those of us manning the Professional Surveyor Magazine booth that they loved our maga- zine but wouldn’t subscribe because they weren’t professional surveyors. We knew they were missing out.


Six years ago, John Matonich, president and CEO of Rowe Professional Services, a Michigan surveying and engineering firm, spoke at an NSPS meeting about the importance of getting outside your comfort zone. As an example, he described how, by going to a large expo for aggregates, he discovered new opportunities for his surveying business.

$1,000 for The Next Big Thing


One of the most popular exhibitors at the 2011 Esri UC was a booth staffed by a group of young Belgians who demonstrated how their Gatewing fixed-wing drone could be used in surveying and geospatial work. Who, but them, knew what was coming?

My point is that the breadth and enthusiasm of you—our readers and advertisers—have long guided what content we provide, and you continue to do so.

As we continue to grow, I’d like to challenge you to help us identify The Next Big Thing.

If you’ve come into contact with a new technology or system of operations that you believe will transform the way you and our readers will work, tell us about it. We’re offering a total of $1,000 for three winning essays on The Next Big Thing. Thanks for always looking out for us, and have a healthy, happy New Year.


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