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Is GPS-ing surveying?

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3,690
Points
27
The GIS coordinator for a local rural county is being sued by the surveying association. She was out GPS-ing fire hydrants for their assets inventory and a local surveyor "caught" her "surveying" with out a license and reported her. The inital State Department of Education finding is that taking coordinates with GPS is indeed surveying. I personally think this is crap, and just the surveyors defending their "territory". If it is determined that GPS-ing is indeed surveying, then municipalities that don't have licensed surveyors on staff will have to farm this out to a firm and pay beau coup bucks to have something done that their staff intern had been previously doing for $6 an hour. So now this whole big court thing is going on u[ there that other municipalities are nervously watching. Is anyone else dealing with this?
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
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29
You're joking? Please, tell me you're joking?

A surveyor prepares legal instruments like surveys and plats. These are statutorily defined items that have standing in a court of law and a set of legally required minimum standards. The board exists to keep them to the written standards and identify others fraudulently practicing the art.

Anyone may legally use a GPS and record locations for any use as long as it is not being represented as the product of a licensed surveyor in my (I’M NOT A LAWYER) opinion and experience. Is there a disclaimer on the box that the GPS came in saying it is not for use in NY or CA? Must all maps be made by a licensed surveyor? Of course not. However, I have witnessed lawyers creating property descriptions from two surveys. Where was your board then?

The fact that the surveyor’s association is suing this individual leads me to believe that we either don’t have the full story or they all dropped acid one afternoon while in session. A third possibility comes to me: Screwy New York laws may also define knowing one’s location as a crime. You are the home of Senator Hillary after all. Is there a geographer's defense fund established yet? Has the ACLU been notified? Are the Road Atlas companies in trouble too. Does Landsat have the right to georectify imagery of NY? Can NASA post a picture taken from space? Where does it end?

They can have my Garmin 45 XL when they pry it from my cold dead hands!
 
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3,690
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27
Not even joking, Cletus....

Ok, here's the original email on the NYS GIS Clearinghouse's listserver. My husband used to work with this woman, and since our Town is also in the midst of asset collecting for GASB 34, called her right away to get the scoop. So it is verified.


"In January, I was contacted by an investigator from the New York State Education Department's Office of Professional Discipline. They had received a complaint from a surveyor stating that I was surveying without a license. I was using a Trimble Pathfinder Pro XR GPS unit to collect fire hydrant locations and then plot them on a reference map.

Two investigators met with myself, our planning director, and our county attorney. The investigators were unfamiliar with GPS and GIS and were basically on a fact-finding mission. The investigation has progressed, and today we met with the two investigators, an attorney from the Office for Professional Discipline and a surveyor from the New York State Board of
Licensed Engineers and Land Surveyors. The state's attorney told us at the beginning of the meeting that after reviewing the facts in the case, they do feel that we are guilty of practicing surveying without a license. She then gave our county attorney a chance to state our case, which I thought he did very well. We were informed that the board will make a decision within the
next week. The outcome of today's meeting basically boils down to two issues:

1) Were we practicing surveying illegally in this particular instance (collecting fire hydrant locations in North Creek)? If we are found guilty, we will be either asked to stop, or asked to stop and then referred to the Attorney General's office for prosecution. This is where the involvement of the Office of Professional Discipline ends.

2) Is any GIS or other person using a GPS unit to collect locational information to create maps for public use guilty of land surveying? This is obviously the larger issue, and the surveyors are ready to take us to task on this one. Their Board is meeting next week and will discuss this issue.
I don't know if the surveyor present was representative of the entire board, but he definitely believes that only licensed surveyors should be using GPS to collect information such as we are (utilities, signs, etc) and implied that his board is ready to introduce legislation in the State Assembly to that effect."
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
WHAT THE $%^&?

I always knew that the revolution would come someday. I just never dreamed it would come in this form. I can get five or six other well armed geographers together tonight. A few know upstate New York well enough. Can you send us a lat and lon for the meeting locations and Surveyor’s Association headquarters?;)



All kidding aside; this is the most asinine thing I have ever heard of. That includes the 8 years of the Clintonista occupation. If true they are effectively outlawing GIS and Cartography.

I have found:
http://www.op.nysed.gov/lsurvb.htm
http://www.op.nysed.gov/lsurv.htm

State Board for Engineering and Land Surveying
State Education Building - 2nd floor, East Wing Mezzanine
Albany, New York 12234
518-474-3817, ext. 140
lsurvbd@mail.nysed.gov

I just emailed the board the following:

Greetings,
I am a moderator on a Urban Planning Board: Could you please tell us if the rumors posted on this board are true? The are as follows:

The GIS coordinator for a local rural county is being sued by the surveying association. She was out GPS-ing fire hydrants for their assets inventory and a local surveyor "caught" her "surveying" with out a license and reported her. The inital State Department of Education finding is that taking coordinates with GPS is indeed surveying. I personally think this is crap, and just the surveyors defending their "territory". If it is determined that GPS-ing is indeed surveying, then municipalities that don't have licensed surveyors on staff will have to farm this out to a firm and pay beau coup bucks to have something done that their staff intern had been previously doing for $6 an hour. So now this whole big court thing is going on u[ there that other municipalities are nervously watching. Is anyone else dealing with this?

Ok, here's the original email on the NYS GIS Clearinghouse's listserver. My husband used to work with this woman, and since our Town is also in the midst of asset collecting for GASB 34, called her right away to get the scoop. So it is verified.

"In January, I was contacted by an investigator from the New York State Education Department's Office of Professional Discipline. They had received a complaint from a surveyor stating that I was surveying without a license. I was using a Trimble Pathfinder Pro XR GPS unit to collect fire hydrant locations and then plot them on a reference map.

Two investigators met with myself, our planning director, and our county attorney. The investigators were unfamiliar with GPS and GIS and were basically on a fact-finding mission. The investigation has progressed, and today we met with the two investigators, an attorney from the Office for Professional Discipline and a surveyor from the New York State Board of
Licensed Engineers and Land Surveyors. The state's attorney told us at the beginning of the meeting that after reviewing the facts in the case, they do feel that we are guilty of practicing surveying without a license. She then gave our county attorney a chance to state our case, which I thought he did very well. We were informed that the board will make a decision within the
next week. The outcome of today's meeting basically boils down to two issues:

1) Were we practicing surveying illegally in this particular instance (collecting fire hydrant locations in North Creek)? If we are found guilty, we will be either asked to stop, or asked to stop and then referred to the Attorney General's office for prosecution. This is where the involvement of the Office of Professional Discipline ends.

2) Is any GIS or other person using a GPS unit to collect locational information to create maps for public use guilty of land surveying? This is obviously the larger issue, and the surveyors are ready to take us to task on this one. Their Board is meeting next week and will discuss this issue.
I don't know if the surveyor present was representative of the entire board, but he definitely believes that only licensed surveyors should be using GPS to collect information such as we are (utilities, signs, etc) and implied that his board is ready to introduce legislation in the State Assembly to that effect."
http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=4332#post4332

El GUapo

PLEASE POST SOME LINKS TO FACTS VERIFYING THIS STORY.
 
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giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,397
Points
32
Good letter El Guapo, except your greeting should read:

Dear money grubing bastards:
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
Harken back to...

...Point / Counter Point on the old Saturday Night Live?

"Jane, you ignorant slut...."


Get the harken reference?
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
The original email was not posted on a message board, but through a list server that people can subscribe to. For more information, I would suggest contacting the Warren County Planning Department, (518) 761-6410.

As for asininity, I completely agree. When I was in South Carolina, I remember GIS people being in an uproar because there was some sort of legislation in the works to require that anyone who uses GIS have some sort of licence.

One of the responses that the original email from the GIS administrator received was from a guy who wanted to know if his dog had to get his surveying license to make mental maps of all the hydrants in his neighborhood.
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
24
shark infested waters

Very interesting - and fishy too -

Could it be a little post 9/11 willies. I mean, if you say your a $6 hr intern marking utility structures but how do we really know?

What is the current scholarly discussion over this, Are GPS systems idiot proof? What about the skill of the field tech?

Keep an eye on the politicians who will be introducing legislative language - follow the trail and there is your special interests at work!

[hijack]
El Guapo where is your cite regarding Senator Rodham and the Clinton administration and this matter? [/hijack]
 
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Messages
3,690
Points
27
GPS is not idiot proof, and it is only accurate to about 3 feet, which is why you don't have to be a surveyor to use GPS. Surveyors are required to be accurate within something like 1/100th of a foot, because they are creating legal documents. Any GIS person can recite their disclaimer off the top of their head, since they are not creating 100% accurate or legal documents. That is the joy of GIS and GPS, it makes all this amazing and useful technology somewhat affordable for the masses, and allows municipalities to be in control of their own asset management.

As for terrorists passing themselves off as college interns, the majority of assest collection involves fire hydrants, manholes and signs. We're not really talking about security sensitive issues.

I'm very curious to see what the surveying association has to say about this, and also how the ESRI and Trimble folk feel.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I can't believe this. Let's add a few more - the hiker using a GPS in some national park, the GPS system in a luxury car, GPS systems used by farmers to plant crops.... Are these all criminals?

I think it has been said here, but a survey is a legal document describing a property with great accuracy in reference to physical points on the ground. A gps coordinate is an approximate x,y location - in this case, used for mapping (i.e. not surveying).
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
Note: RANT Ahead

I always forget. I guess it is my fault

When I called the New York office in charge of these surveyor regs and such stuff I made the evil mistake of asking the person on the phone how they were doing. Big Mistake! Note: Do not make pleasantries with New York people. She kept giving me shit for inquiring about her wellbeing until I apologized by saying: “I’m sorry. I’m from the Midwest. I don’t know any better. I did not mean to imply I gave a shit about your existence. I will not be nice to anyone else today. Happy now?”

This in not the first time I have had this experience with the lovely people of this geographic region.

Yes, I know I am generalizing. Painting all with the same brush so to speak. But, If it always happens is it no longer a generalization?

 
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Messages
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El Guapo, I have to say, I also do not want to use the generalization paint brush, but I think that anytime you are calling a government office in NY, ESPECIALLY a state office, you are going to be treated to the most miserable people on earth. I don't know why, because I think generally upstate NY-ers are very pleasant and friendly people. I had to call the state DMV once after losing the title to my car in the move from SC back to NY. The woman on the phone was SO unbelievably rude and unhelpful. After she very curtly told me to deal with my SC DMV first, I called down. My SC DMV lady must have been the sweetest person on earth - she was so understanding and went so far out of her way to help, I was so ashamed to be a New Yorker at that moment. I can see why the rest of the country thinks we're a bunch of miserable SOB's after my run-in with our State's representatives.

Anyway, did you find anything out, E.G.?
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
New York, New York...No place I'd rather not be!

As to finding anything out, Nope: I doubt we will either. They didn't seem too concerned. After all what can I do for them seemed to be the reasoning used during our conversation.

A great friend of mine is from Upstate NY, and a kinder more, decent man you will not find. He must be one of the exceptions, like you, KMateja.

Interesting Phenomenon: Where I used to live people still actually stopped to help people with cars that were obviously broken down. That is unless they have New York plates. The Sheriffs Department, and I suspect the HP will even pretend they don' notice those cars. I wonder why?

I found the New York Moto: Oderint, dum metuant - Let them hate, so long as they fear - Cicero
 
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