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Geodesists are in Drastically Short Supply

graphic of Drastic Shortage of Geodesists
Drastic Shortage of Geodesists

In January 2022, a white paper entitled America’s loss of capacity and international
competitiveness in geodesy, the economic and military implications, and some modes of
corrective action was released (Bevis et al.). This collaborative paper paints an alarming
picture of the dwindling pool of trained geodesists within the United States.

The report highlights America’s loss of capacity and international competitiveness in geodesy and states: “The U.S. is on the verge of being permanently eclipsed in geodesy and the downstream geospatial technologies. This
decline in capability threatens our national security and poses major risks to an economy strongly
tied to the geospatial revolution, on Earth and, eventually, in space.”

From the ION Quarterly Newsletter by Everett Hinkley.

Though the word crisis correctly describes the dire predicament well, it didn’t occur overnight. Due to several converging trends, the geodesy crisis has been decades in the making. A national lack of geodetic expertise presents a significant challenge with downstream impacts on positioning, navigation, mapping, and dependent geospatial
technologies. The Department of Defense, intelligence community, and federal civil agencies’ mapping entities rely on accurate and precise maps for a broad range of purposes, and reliable maps depend on an accurate geodetic underpinning.

The geospatial community relies on geodesists, though few in the community are
fully aware of this connection nor understand the importance of geodesy to their work.
With the loss of geodetic knowledge in the United States, a deterioration of the down stream geospatial activities will surely follow until maps, surveys, and positioning become unreliable or will be wholly reliant upon the geodesists of other nations, possibly those if adversarial positions to the U.S.

For the complete article CLICK HERE.

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