The term “surveyor” has tremendous historical significance dating back to the Egyptian “rope stretchers,” but I think the time has come for the idea of the geomatics professional to emerge.
The digital transformation began in the 1950’s for the surveying profession with the invention of the electronic distance meter and the computer. The development of GPS (GNSS) has completely changed the world and lidar is poised to have a similar impact in the form of autonomous vehicles and robots of every shape and description.
In addition to autonomous mobility, the rise of the use of artificial intelligence, AR/VR, laser scanning, drones, the time – dependent modernization of the North American datums, the Internet of Things, Smart Cities – the list is a long one, all require a knowledge of accurately determining location, in many cases, 3D geodetic location that has nothing to do with 2D boundary law.
The land surveying profession, particularly with regards to the legal aspects of determining property boundaries will always play a critical role in society and they should be licensed to do so. The personal computer, GIS, GPS, the Internet and the cloud are all tools that the land surveying profession has taken advantage of, but the digital technologies above require much different training and skills compared to boundary surveying.
In order to attract young people to the profession we need to change the game. There is a tremendous amount of new, exciting location-based technology coming on stream. Of course this will have to happen much more slowly than we would like – evolution, not revolution, but our vision needs to be revolutionary.
That is why I would like to propose the term Geomatics Professional. I really don’t see why this person needs to be licensed by a state board, although there should be some professional organization that administers the credentials.
Let’s leave it at that for now. Please let me know what you think.
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