Once again the politicians in Washington have forced a government shutdown that is having a direct impact on the surveying community.
Jan. 2, 2019 – From an article on the xyHt website by Dave Doyle and Gavin Schrock
Editor’s Note: We find ourselves in another government shutdown that has affected services from the National Geodetic Survey (NGS)—like the automated online post-processing user system (OPUS) that surveyors have become increasingly reliant on. Several readers asked us to re-post the following from the retired NGS chief geodetic surveyor Dave Doyle, as relevant as it was the last time around. We’ve also added tips and resource links at the end. We realize that the underlying elements of any such event can be a cause for heated disagreements, but this is not the place to vent those frustrations.
Please listen to Dave: he is wise and informed, and let’s all try to get through this as best we can.
Re-post from March 2015:
Maybe Joni Mitchell said it best in her song, Big Yellow Taxi, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
The federal shutdown has had [an] impact on many aspects of life and the economy in this country, not the least of which has been the surveying and mapping communities. [xyHt], the offices of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), and I received numerous responses/complaints from surveyors across the country concerning the lack of access to information from a variety of federal agencies, especially from the National Geodetic Survey (NGS). Denial of access to the CORS network and OPUS, along with other products and services of the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS), had an immense impact on the activities of many users requiring high-accuracy positions from GPS observations.
Some complaints suggested that NGS should have just left the computers running and let everyone have access even if there was no one around to service them. Be assured the computers were not shut down (but the authorization to sufficiently staff and operate all the real-time web services, e.g. OPUS and data sheets, had not been given), and there was at least a skeleton staff at NGS and other offices to respond to safety-of-life and property issues. Also be assured that the staff at NGS (and the other federal employees) were anxious to be back at work performing the services and other functions that most of us believe are a critical part of our national infrastructure.
They are not working because, under the specifics of the order, they were prohibited by law from doing so.
From the Office of Personnel Management directive [from the 2015 shutdown], “A shutdown furlough occurs when there is a lapse in appropriations, and can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not exempted by law. Typically, an agency will have very little to no lead time to plan and implement a shutdown furlough.”
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