Survey Earth in a Day | ACSM Bulletin 2012
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Survey Earth in a Day | ACSM Bulletin 2012

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Survey Earth in a Day | ACSM Bulletin 2012 Survey Earth in a Day | ACSM Bulletin 2012 Document Transcript

  • Scott Warner Justin Farrow Pete Fonseca In March 2010, members of the Wiscon- dreds of surveyors using GPS technology hit the sin Society of Land Surveyors (WSLS) cel- fields across the United States to provide detailed ebrated National Surveyors Week with a positioning information for the online databasestatewide survey project called “Survey Wisconsin maintained by the National Geodetic Survey (NGS).in a Day”. It was to be the first event of its kind According to Joe Evjen, a geodesist with the NGS,where land surveyors from around the state simul- Survey USA Day was a public relations event fortaneously gathered GPS data by setting up their the National Society of Professional SurveyorsGPS receivers on various points throughout Wis- (NSPS); however, the data submitted to the Onlineconsin. This project was to be not only about the Positioning User Service (OPUS) contributed to thedata or the “world record” of simultaneous GPS reference system that is the basis for most map-observation, but also of publicly demystifying the ping and surveying in the country.role of the surveyor and increasing awareness of The idea of a global surveying project wouldthe profession in order to foster a positive public undoubtedly be of equal interest to surveyors.image. The event suggested that a united front Seeing the success of both the Wisconsin eventof land surveyors certainly could allow for a more and the national event indicated that the timingaccurate mapping of the world and stands to ben- was right for a worldwide surveying event. Plus,efit everyone individually. with thousands of professional Land Surveyors We observed how the data the WSLS collected United members linked online, the Land Surveyorswas processed into a single precise latitude and United platform would allow surveyors to easilylongitude location for each point measured. Every collaborate for the global project. And so, the ideapoint was precisely post-processed to within for Survey Earth in a Day was born.about 1 centimeter on the surface of the Earth. In December 2011, Survey Earth in a Day wasThe members of WSLS plan to re-measure these introduced on the Land Surveyors United website,same monuments in the near future in order to and members considered what the event coulddetermine any shift in position. The idea of a large- mean in the larger sense of geodesy. Could thescale surveying project in the interest of the pro- shape of the Earth be different during an equinoxfession—both in terms of a unique set of data and or a solstice? How could we manage to gather andin public relations—would become larger the very process the data? Certainly, it would require a col-next year. laborative effort between individual participants, In March 2011, Survey USA was held, expanding and well established geospatial organizations suchthe WSLS project, and further indicating the possi- as ACSM / NSPS, NGS, and perhaps other groupsble success of a worldwide surveying event. Hun- whose members are interested in positioning.10  ACSM BULLETIN april 2012
  • The more we thought about it, the more we event grew exponentially as the enormity of therealized that if something like Survey Earth in a project sank in, as well as the potential it offeredDay were to ever happen, Land Surveyors United in terms of tying in geodetic data across the globe.would be the platform for organizing surveyors GPS points collected and ost-processed to theand sharing the data. With over 2,500 members, highest level of precision possible would amelio-Land Surveyors United is the only global geospatial rate current knowledge about the Earth’s shapecommunity online with representation in all seven and surface.continents (even Antarctica) and all 50 U.S. states, And then it all became even more exciting, andand it is the only platform with real-time communi- more complex. What if one could design and buildcation and zero language barriers. global “geodata” networks which Google Earth, All of the LSU members can, if they so wish, be for instance, could utilize to correct errors on itsin constant contact using social media tools avail- maps? And could collaborative mapping platformsable through the site’s many regional forums. They use this geodetic information to provide a morecan access the network on any mobile device from precise condition on the ground during a naturalthe field, and, as of this March, a number of new disaster, for instance?upgrades were made which will further improve Certainly, the technology is there to create andcommunications via the LSU platform. maintain such geo-networks and use them to We already have an iPhone app ready for down- draw maps that are more correct in scale and pro-load and use and expect the upgraded Android jection. Technology such as the National Geodeticand Tablet versions of the site to be available in Survey’s OPUS (Online Positioning User Service)April. Utilizing technology enabling professionals makes it possible for surveyors to quickly post-to communicate directly with their local represen- process collected GPS data and incorporate themtative and fellow surveyors has always been a key into a map. Mapping out these locations shortlygoal for the network and, in recent days, we have after the data have been collected has becomebegun to enjoy the freedom and advantage that much more efficient thanks to the more powerfullcomes with it across the globe. Mobile communi- hard drives now available on the market for storingcation has proved a valuable asset in our efforts to data and mobile technology which enhances shar-unite surveyors in local group forums. ing of information. Each location-based group forum is geolocated Mobile devices are already being used for GIS-in such a way that each group on the LSU platform mapping based on data stored in geodatabases;exists in the area which it represents. As a result, and smartphones with a mobile enabled browserall information shared amongst professionals in a are routinely used by the public to access locationgroup is searchable in local search engines. Not information of interest to them. And experienceonly that, each group conducts its discussion in has shown that producing actionable informationthe native language of the area which it represents, from data is much enhanced if there is a networkand members have the ability to translate any page of databases with precise, and accurate, groundon the site with a single click. data. Land Surveyors United utilizes web.2 tools to All information needs to be periodically updatedcommunicate on levels never before attempted to remain relevant and useful to users. And inin the land surveying industry. Not only do we this lies the purpose of the proposed Survey thehave instant, direct communications through LSU Earth in a Day event. The intent is to use the GPSaround the globe, but the information shared on data collected during the 24 hours of the eventthe LSU platform is indexed in all the social media, to update currently used GIS maps. This goal isreaching potentially a wide pool of geospatial pro- fully in line with the mission of the land survey-fessioanals. ing industry, namely to ensure that maps depict- Because of the multi-faceted communications ing boundaries and fixtures on land are based onability we have via the LSU platform, we origi- survey grade data.nally wanted to organize an International Survey- The first Survey Earth in a Day event is scheduledors Week. But then we realized that a trully global to take place on the day of the Summer Solsticecommunication accomplishment would be to host this year. More information about participating ina global GPS convention in a single day—Survey the event can be found on LSU’s website, on Face-Earth in a Day. Interest among LSU members in the book and on Twitter. april 2012  ACSM BULLETIN  11