Geo Week News

December 11, 2013

Grabbing On Means Letting Go

Well, here we are at the end of another year. Typically, this time of year sees me trying to refocus on the best and brightest as I make plans for the new year in business. However, this year finds me in a new position, as I have run out of time. I can pick up new tech and/or grab on to new ideas, but only if I let go of something else. I’m not sure why it is so different this year. Maybe I’m managing things better, so things are not simply falling off my radar. Maybe it’s just Moore’s Law landing squarely upon my desk…

At any rate, I thought it would be interesting to look at that which I am thinking of letting go as opposed to the newest things I hope to hold in their place.

· Laser scanning/3D imaging certification. I have had some portion of my brain devoted to this idea since I attended the first meeting to create what would become IAFSM several years ago. The idea was that some type of certification or verification of skills and knowledge was necessary since the traditional means (licensed surveyor, engineer, etc.) did not seem to be working with laser scanners any better than it had with GPS. I think the window for this to happen has closed. While I would be willing to make an exception for law enforcement-related imaging, the fact is that the aforementioned pace of change is greater than academia can absorb. In short, you can’t get a curricula created and approved before it is outdated. Save some incredibly major mishap with service providers that causes enough monetary losses to create a public outcry, I think this idea is dead.

· Carrying every major brand and title. I would like to put this back in another year or two, but for now, I can’t do it. I do not have the staff or time in my week to keep up with it all, especially to the degree necessary to support end-users. This is actually good news for the market as a whole as it is a concrete example of just how much it has expanded in the last few years. The funny thing is that today I resell and support more hardware and software than existed in the entire industry 10 -12 years ago. At that time I thought it was too much for any one person to stay on top of. I guess I sold myself short! I think I’ll add it back on my list in a year or two. I’m just not sure if it will it be due to increased staff, manufacturers going out of business, or more acquisitions that streamline the offerings.

· Adoption of a national standard for reality capture. This is another one I have held onto for a long time. I am a licensed surveyor and I think the systems we have set up for land and property recording through surveying are great, especially considering that they were devised centuries ago and have only seen minor updates in the intervening years. However, when I look at a plat while trying to assess the value or condition of property, it drives me mad. I can tell so much more from a point cloud than from a finished survey. Anyone can. It is a more accurate reproduction of reality. I would love to see some sort of 3D imaging or digitization replace standard surveys. I would think the boon to the insurance industry alone would be enough to get the ball rolling, but then again I’ve thought that for the past 5-6 years. It might be time to push this one back until we get a new generation in leadership roles on the boards that currently oversee property recordation.

· The idea that I will get out in the field more. Every year, I lament the additional hours spent “chained” to my desk versus previous years. Every time I go to the gym, I think about how much better shape I was in when I didn’t go to the gym because I was too tired from field work! The grass is always greener and I put myself behind a desk on purpose as I tired of 109° (42 C) afternoons in the Texas Summer and 15° (-9 C) mornings in the Tennessee Winter. But I do miss the hands on problem solving and sense of accomplishment you can only get through physical work. These white papers aren’t going to read themselves, you know…

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