Wednesday, August 26, 2015

18 Awesome Career Choices Most College Kids Would Never Think Of

Click Here to view article - Check out #6!

ALTA/NSPS question

Question:  One interpretation of Item 15 in Table A is that this item does not require rectified orthophotography, etc. but rather it allows the surveyor to use alternative methods to locate certain features (i.e. parking stripes) relative to a boundary as long as he provides an adequate discussion of the methodology and its ramifications. Withstanding that interpretation, if the surveyor elects to “hand shoot” all features on a property, he or she has met the requirements of Item 15. Is this a proper interpretation, or does checking #15 require the surveyor to include these technologies? Thanks for your opinion. 

Answer:   The idea on item 15 was to provide a way under the standards for a surveyor to save a client some time and money on locating some features that all parties – title company, lender and client – agree can be adequately addressed without fieldwork (or as much fieldwork as would otherwise be required pursuant to the standards). If the item is checked, the assumption is that there was some meeting of the minds (and agreement) between the surveyor and the other 3 parties as to an approach and its shortcomings (i.e., completeness and precision). The agreed-upon approach would then, as you note, be documented and explained on the face of the survey pursuant to the requirements stated in Item 15. My feeling is that if none of those alternate methods were employed, then Item 15 is not applicable and should not be certified to. I do know that some clients check that item off without having any idea of what it means (maybe it sounds like a good idea). In those cases, I tell surveyors that they should ask the client what they had in mind when they checked it off and if they say “it sounded like a way to save some money,” I would be prepared to discuss with them what the possibilities and ramifications are (in addition to outlining the restrictions spelled out in the item itself). In short, I don’t think Item 15 requires such approaches, but if they are not used, then Item 15 is irrelevant – it doesn’t apply and shouldn’t be included in the certification

Friday, August 7, 2015

NSPS Radio Hour — August 10, 11 a.m. EDT

When author/physician/attorney William J. Morton was a guest on the NSPS Radio Hour in January 2012, he talked about his keen interest in surveying, and about a new book he wanted to write. The book, Andrew Ellicott: The Stargazer Who Defined America, is now completed. It tells the story of the four-year long expedition to survey the boundary which was established between the United States and Spain by the signing of the Pinckney Treaty in 1795. Join Host Curt Sumner as he and Bill Morton talk about Morton’s adventures in researching for the new book, and about his hero Ellicott.

If you are unable to listen to the show when it is being broadcast, listen to the archive of the show at Archives for each show are typically available for listening within a few days after the show.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

K-12 education reform bill passed by the Senate includes STEM and Geography Education

The U.S. House and Senate have passed K-12 education bills to replace and reform the “No Child Left Behind” program. The House passed H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act” on July 8. The Senate passed S. 1177, the “Every Child Achieves Act” on July 16. Section 2403 of S. 1177 contains a purpose for national activities “to promote new and existing evidence-based strategies to encourage innovative … geography instruction …” while Section 9101 defines ‘core academic subjects’ to include science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and geography. The two chambers will form a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills and develop a bicameral agreement. The House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senate Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and House Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) have begun meeting to discuss proceeding with a conference committee to resolve differences in the House- and Senate-passed bills.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NSPS Trig-Star scholarship winner selected

A few years ago, NSPS created a scholarship for which any high school senior can apply if they have participated in Trig-Star at some point during their high school career, and plan to enroll in a college degree program leading to either a two-year Associates, or four-year Bachelor’s degree in surveying and mapping. The applicants are not required to have won a Trig-Star competition at any level; however, the scholarship will not be issued until the student provides proof of enrollment in an eligible program.

NSPS is proud to announce that the 2015 Trig-Star scholarship is to be presented to Leah Portnoff, 2015 graduate of Liberty High School in Madera, CA. Leah plans to attend the University of California, Fresno to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in the school’s well known ABET-accredited Geomatics Engineering program.

Through a club at school, Leah has been able to take a position as a Land Surveyor Technician in a local surveying company, regarding which she says, “it urges me to learn more about transportation, its role in society, and to become a licensed land surveyor”.

NSPS congratulates Leah on her accomplishments thus far, and looks forward to welcoming her to the professional surveying community in a few years. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

National Trig-Star Committee Selects Winners of the Richard E. Lomax National Trig-Star and Teaching Excellence Awards

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Richard E. Lomax National Trig-Star Awards.  The Trig-Star committee met on July 31 and August 1, 2015 to determine the three top high school students from the national examinations submitted by state winners.  This year there were thirty-nine state winners submitted.  A past president of NSPS, Richard Lomax was the driving force behind the elevation of the local Trig-Star program to the national level.  In October 1994, Board action named this high school trigonometry skill award in his honor.

William Mitchell
Russell Kenney

William Zhang

The Richard E. Lomax National Trig-Star Awards are as follows:

First Place:        William Mitchell, West Valley High School, Fairbanks, Alaska
Second Place:    Russell Kenney, Big Piney High School, Big Piney, Wyoming
Third Place:       William Zhang, Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Alabama

The Richard E. Lomax National Teaching Excellence Awards are as follows:

First Place:        Sandra Ryan, West Valley High School, Fairbanks, Alaska
Second Place:    Jennifer Banks, Big Piney High School, Big Piney, Wyoming
Third Place:       Todd Taylor, Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Alabama

The first place student receives $2,000, second place student receives $1,000, and third place student receives $500.  The first place teacher receives $1,000, second place teacher receives $500, and third place teacher receives $250.  The Trig-Star Policy states that “the National Student and Teacher Awards be given to the winning students at or before the next state professional land surveying organization conference of the student’s home state.”

The following is a list of the remaining State Winners in the order of finish:
Zhongxu Chen, Oregon; Haoxiang Li, Illinois; Wally Johnson, Kentucky; Erika Lustig, Michigan; Christian Jacobsen, Montana; William Lies, Kansas; Nashalie N. Ortiz Torres, Puerto Rico; Vincent Pan; Nevada; Anastasia Mullins, Georgia; Joseph Work, Ohio; Joseph Barnes, South Dakota; JiangLai Zhang, New Jersey; Katherine Platt, Pennsylvania; Alan Zimmer, Missouri; Alexander Snouffer, Maryland; Grady Mauch, North Dakota; Joshua Shepherd, Washington; Elizabeth Han, Iowa; Taylor McCreary, California; Jack Bao, Indiana; Luke Guo, North Carolina; Haoxiang Zhang, Connecticut; Nhi Tran, Minnesota; Lubin Deng, Colorado; Kyle Pittman, New Hampshire; Katie Kanich, Delaware; Jordan Goldstein, Texas; Kael Stelck, Idaho; Antonio Faraci, New York; Christopher Fechisin, Virginia; Benjamin Reas, Wisconsin; Jeremy Green, Utah; Jacob Judd, Tennessee; Alexander Foster, South Carolina; Isabella Latta, Maine; and Alexander Cooper, Massachusetts.

The Richard E. Lomax National Trig-Star and Teaching Excellence Awards are a few of several annual NSPS awards.  For more information about the NSPS awards and scholarship programs, please contact NSPS, 5119 Pegasus Court, Frederick, MD  21704, (240) 439-4615, e-mail: Trisha Milburn at, or visit the NSPS web site at