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Chris Glantz – “Spotlight on a Young Geospatial Professional”

This interview of Chris Glantz is the second Lidar News Young Geospatial Spotlight Interview. Congratulations to Chris for what he has accomplished in a short time and please think about sharing your story.

Chris Glantz photo

Chris Glantz

Please provide a recap of your post high school education and training. Do you have any licenses or certifications? Are you a member of any organizations?

I studied Geomatics Engineering at California State University, Fresno. After college I worked seven years for private engineering firms in roles ranging from survey technician to project manager. In 2014, I went to work for a national aerial mapping firm managing their land survey group on the west coast. In 2016, I moved to the Oregon Department of Transportation, where I became the Lead Remote Sensing Surveyor. I’m licensed in six western states and I’m an active member of the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon, where I’m the chair of the Oregon Young Surveyors Network; and the National Society of Professional Surveyors, where I’m the President of the Young Surveyors Network.

When did you become interested in the surveying profession and what are some of the things that made it something that you wanted to pursue?

My interest in surveying and geomatics is sort of boring. I was the first to go to college in my family and my guidance counselor was going to be sure of that. I knew I wanted to study something in the engineering field and the name “Geomatics” stood out to me. My counselor and I looked through maps and aerial photos and I was sold. I grew up camping, hiking, and being outside, so fieldwork was a natural fit. Once I saw the technology in the industry, I was hooked.

Can you provide a timeline with description of the positions you have held in the surveying profession to date?

April 2006 to May 2007 – Party Chief for Provost and Pritchard Engineering, Inc. – I lead a survey crew mainly working on land development projects. We performed various types of surveys ranging from geodetic to topographic.

May 2007 to September 2011 – Party Chief for David Evans & Associates, Inc – I lead a survey crew performing construction staking, topographic surveys, geodetic surveys for various public agencies ranging from transportation to energy. We utilized surveying technology such as robotic total stations, GNSS, static and mobile scanners.

September 2011 to November 2014 – Project Surveyor/Project Manager for David Evans & Associates, Inc – As a Project Surveyor and Project Manager, I managed field crews on surveying projects for energy and transportation clients. My main tasks included researching, preparing, processing, and finalizing survey data for records of survey and right of way retracement. In addition, I prepared legal descriptions aiding energy clients to acquire new land rights.

November 2014 – April 2016 – Survey Manager for Quantum Spatial – I managed land survey field and office staff on the West Coast. Management consisted of ensuring the field staff had proper resources to complete their work. I scheduled and estimated the land survey component of remote sensing projects. I also planned and reviewed geodetic control surveys and photo control plans for aerial lidar and imagery acquisition. I created new operating procedures and maintained existing procedures. In addition to new operation procedures, I created training programs for new and existing employees.

April 2016 – March 2017 – Survey Support Specialist for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) – I created and maintained standard operating procedures related to GNSS, topographic, and control surveys. I supported ODOT’s regional surveyors with equipment and software related problems. I provided technical support to ODOT’s Lead Surveyor and Chief of Surveys. In addition, I researched and tested new survey equipment and procedures to ensure ODOT’s survey group was equipped with the latest standards and equipment.

March 2017 – Present – Lead Remote Sensing Surveyor for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) – As the Lead Remote Sensing Surveyor, I manage all of ODOT’s remote sensing equipment and projects. ODOT currently operates a mobile laser scanner, terrestrial laser scanners, and various UAS collecting aerial imagery. In addition to internal capabilities, I manage consultants providing aerial lidar and imagery. I’m also ODOT’s UAS Operations Coordinator, meaning I manage all operations, equipment, procurement and research and development relating to UAS.

Do you think this will be a long term career for you? Why or why not?

This is a long term career for me. I can’t see myself doing anything else. The main reason why is diversity in the work. Currently, I get to work with customers from all backgrounds in ODOT that range from geology to communications. It’s astounding how everyone seems to have a need for positioning technology. Having a background is geomatics is perfect to try and help them solve their problems.

Do you have a couple of ideas that could attract more people to the surveying profession?

Although I love this profession, I think we need to invest more in the younger generations. The investment can be time or money, but we need to start investing. It was an amazing moment when I realized that a manager of mine took an interest in my career without me asking. It seems so easy, but it’s one of the most difficult things to accomplish. College doesn’t teach us how to be mentors. I wish someone would have told me that I would have someone’s career in my hands one day. That’s a big responsibility that I think some take for granted.

Surveying wasn’t built by those who were afraid to work and to attract more people we need to start working hard.

Any further thoughts or comments?

The one thing I mention to all of the young surveyors I meet is that they are in charge of their careers. Don’t wait for someone to give you something, go after what you want. If they aren’t happy, move on. You’ll be better for it.

Oh, and learn how to program. You’re going to need it.


For more information on the Young Surveyor’s Network click here.

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