Like so many ideas in surveying, starting this magazine started over a beer at a great little Irish pub with friends, where we discussed what the landscape of surveying might look like in the not-so-distant future.
I figure, during the course of almost 50 years that I’ve been a geodetic surveyor, virtually all parts of our continent have moved more than two feet. The Earth is dynamic; it might seem immovable at a cursory glance and we might derive comfort from viewing it as static, but there are many forces—from Earth tides, polar tides, ocean tide loading, and tectonic plate velocities—that move every place on Earth and everything we place on it. Everything has location; that location is dynamic, and everything is influenced by and, in turn, influences the world around it.
Something else that has become quite clear to me from a lifetime of observing and measuring the dynamic Earth (this is our profession, and any field or profession that locates, positions, or measures is by nature dynamic): nothing we do is in a vacuum. Land surveying, geodesy, imaging, remote sensing, engineering, construction, hydrography, geospatial IT, the marine industry, energy, agriculture, environmental sciences … you name it, and there are common threads among them all. Everything we do is part of something bigger.
The built and natural environments we seek to measure, engineer, analyze, monitor, conserve, and manage are served by and drive multiple disciplines, fields, and professions. It would be a great disservice if we did not encourage folks to look around. The methods, tools, and skills requisite of these various fields and professions share common foundations, much more now than ever before. We can all learn from and teach each other.
Flatdog Media, whose flagship magazine Professional Surveyor has been serving the surveying profession for three decades, has seen its greatest success in recent years by embracing the dynamics of this broader scope of interrelated positioning, location, and measurement fields—and with an emphasis on the professional aspects thereof. I’ve been involved with this staff in the planning for a new magazine (and related family of media outlets), called xyHt, for more than a year, and it is hard for me to contain my excitement.
Surveying will remain the heart and soul of the new offerings. We are not abandoning anything, but we plan to encourage and enable surveyors and others to grow together in this exciting and challenging environment.
Starting in July 2014, Professional Surveyor will be xyHt.
If you are wondering about the new name—xyHt—that was my idea. What does it mean? I’ve written and spoken about this at numerous seminars: it’s the horizontal ordinates (xy), the orthometric height (yes, big “H”) and time (t). We live in a 4D world. I thought, what better way to capture the dynamics of our world and geospatial endeavors than with a geodetic term that could be used to define any location—on Earth and in time.
Hoist a pint and join us.