The advancement of technology has been the biggest change to the surveying industry.
Over my 40 years of surveying experience, I’ve seen the use hand chaining and transit surveys change to the use of GPS, scanners, and drones, as well as the practice of drafting from a board to drafting in CAD.
This begs the question, “Has change bettered the surveying profession?” I say yes, and no.
Technology has provided the surveying profession with additional tools to assist the professional the ability to complete tasks faster, and measure with more precision and accuracy than in ever before.
However, survey professionals today are forced to learn the ever-changing technology, foregoing basic courses in business, real property and the legal principles of land surveying, in favor of classes in GPS and GIS. Most newcomers are thrown into the industry without a licensed professional to mentor them or show them the ropes like in years past. New staff no longer have the opportunity to work themselves up the professional knowledge ladder.
The development of our young professionals today vs. the past has to change. We need to remember that young surveyors no longer go through the process of starting at the bottom and work their way up from rodman to chainman to instrument man to crew chief to professional.
Today’s young professionals are very bright, energetic, and eager to learn the surveying profession. We need to assist their development through mentoring and equip them with the knowledge to succeed.