Learning to Stay Relevant at the Survey Summit

The 2012 Survey Summit, hosted by Esri and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), wrapped up Sunday evening at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. About 250 people attended the event to discover how advances such as high-tech tools, information systems, and data in the cloud can benefit those in the survey industry.

“I come to the Survey Summit to be in the realm of other land surveyors, to see how they use GIS,” said Ryan Hunsicker, deputy county surveyor for the County of San Bernardino Public Works department. “I am going home with new ideas and a broader understanding of GIS to help solve problems.”

Saturday was filled with lightning talks and technology presentations. Tom Greaves, of CyArk, shared an engaging story about the organization’s work to digitally preserve the California Missions along the Camino Real using 3D imagery. Rowland Harrison, of Hawkeye UAV, wowed the crowd with his talk on uninhabited aerial vehicle systems (UAVs) for mapping and survey—a small drone plane capable of capturing imagery as low as four centimeters.

The first day culminated with a keynote speech, “Positioning America for the Future,” by Tony LaVoi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As a geospatial information officer, LaVoi works toward policy development, standards, and coordination activities related to geospatial technologies out of the NOAA CIO office.

Day two brought sessions organized by tracks that included high accuracy GIS, surveying business, geodesy, new survey workflows, technology, and Esri technical workshops.

Michael Beavers, of Frontier Surveying Company, drew a large crowd for his technology session, “ArcGIS Online for Organizations: Deploying Enterprise-wide GIS in the Cloud.” He dispelled some apprehension as he showed others how easily he is able to store and access data in the cloud.

“The surveying world is rooted in tradition,” Beavers said. “How does this technology help us? It is the return on investment: the time you save in the field, prepping the job, passing data along.”

Sunday concluded with the closing session amidst talk of major professional shifts for surveyors and ideas about next year’s conference. Most attendees expressed upbeat opinions about the event and were pleased to have picked up some useful skills and exposure to technology.

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