The Training Dilemma

  1. Is there still a shortage of trained laser scanning professionals, given the current economy?
  2. US federal job re-training funds are restricted to job categories where there are not enough applicants for open positions.
  3. There really is only on the job training today.

I have been doing some research and thinking about the need for training in the 3D laser scanning industry. On the one hand I hear from various players that one of the key issues holding back growth of the industry is the lack of trained personnel. Given the economic conditions I wonder if this is still the case.

I looked into the possibility of obtaining federal funding for re-training people who are unemployed, but in order to obtain that funding there must be a documented need by firms trying to hire people that they cannot find. The old “catch 22”.

The colleges and universities, especially the 2 year programs cannot afford to purchase the scanners and the software at today’s prices. Surveying is being phased out in many of these programs.

So today it seems that the only way to become trained is to work for someone that has purchased the scanner and software, which means you will be working with a proprietary technology. Of course there is a certain amount of the learning that will be transferrable, but it is not the same as learning principles and fundamentals.

What is your position on the need for training? Your feedback would be appreciated.

This entry was posted in Business Development, Education, The Industry, training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Training Dilemma

  1. miketheman11 says:

    Training staff for the editing and deliverable generation is no easy job. I do it all the time when I hire new staff. Typically I pull students from the local college which does not even talk about LiDAR. When a new hire starts I always say that it is going to take about three months of editing to get a good grasp at what you are looking at in the points to see the errors effectively and efficently. Still I give them at least year of editing before I let them review other editors work and provide feedback to more junior editors. Now rather than train a lot of analysts I think what we need to do is create better classification algorithims that do things adaptively rather than just pushing things through the computers then expect the analyst to fix the same errors over and over again. Analysts are still required however rather then training for editing why not train them to be experts in algorithims/macros. Also I think that the algorithims need to be run using different techniques? I always thought that using intensity might provide some use however as most know intensity is not always exactly the same from day to day in the LiDAR, which will cause some issues. Anyways that is my two cents!

  2. Harold Rempel says:

    OJT is currently the most effective way. Even those that are exposed to LiDAR to some degree through coursework or internships will eventually need that practical experience. Nothing beats earning your “stripes” via a couple of LiDAR projects with sytematic errors!

    I am guessing that even if we could show that there is a shortage of trained LiDAR professionals, the numbers would still not be considerable. It is a relatively small field.

    Karen Schuckman at Penn State and Mike Renslow (ASPRS)are going to be teaching a pretty good online LiDAR course (10 weeks) as part of her geospatial curriculum. It will require the student to at least have some background (such as being able to define “geodesy” and knowing some remote sensing) before taking the course. It will go beyond LiDAR “101” and delve into types of sensors,applications, etc.

    If the course has been posted on the Penn site I can post the link here.

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