News & Views
Jun. 3, 2015

NSPS Foundation fundraiser offers cruise choices
The winner of a raffle currently being conducted by the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation will choose one of three seven-night cruises (Alaskan Southern Glacier; Danube River; Mediterranean-Italy/France/Spain) scheduled for mid-2016. Proceeds from the fundraiser will provide money to support scholarships offered through the Foundation to students in surveying related curricula. See the attached flyer for details.More

District of Columbia boundary stones project
The D.C. Daughters of the American Revolution have initiated yet another project associated with the District of Columbia boundary stones. Some NSPS News & Views readers will recall that more than 20 years ago an idea spawned in ACSM to obtain geodetic positions on the 40 boundary stones along the District's original boundary lines. Although never fully completed, a group of surveyors representing NSPS, VAS, MSS and DCALS worked on that project for several years with the aim of "blue-booking" those positions in the NGS database. In 2012, a group of volunteers from a variety of organizations set out to restore/replace the wrought iron fences that were initially erected to protect the stones. Now the local DAR chapter is seeking to restore the 40 boundary stones. Read moreMore

NSPS Radio Hour — June 8, 11 a.m. EDT
David Marquardt, A.L.S. will join host Curt Sumner to talk about his research and experiences as a Senior Alberta Land Surveyor, and his international experience working with Engineering Ministries International.

If you are unable to listen to the show when it is being broadcast, listen to the archive of the show at Archives for each show are typically available for listening within a few days after the show airs. More

Government actions generate need for surveying, mapping data
Three recently announced controversial government actions could create increased demand for surveying, mapping and geospatial data and services. The Department of Housing and Urban Development settled with a bank over claims that it engaged in "redlining," the discrimination against certain mortgage applicants. The action points to the need for a national parcel program to create an early warning system to alert regulators, policy makers and enforcement personnel to anomalies in the mortgage market. The Obama Administration's sage grouse conservation plan could require mapping and other geospatial data and analysis of these and other threatened or endangered species. Finally, the EPA, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, issued the federal government’s final rule on "Waters of the U.S.," under the Clean Water Act, creating requirements for surveying and mapping of elevation data required to define navigable waterways and their tributaries, along with any physical and measureable nearby, adjacent and neighboring waters.More

Congressional panel examines pipeline infrastructure status and modernization
The Committee on Energy and Commerce of the U.S. House of Representatives has begun a series of "Architecture of Abundance" hearings. Most recently, it held a hearing focusing on oil and natural gas pipeline infrastructure by conducting a review of the role the Department of Energy (DOE) has within the President's Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). This includes energy transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D), and utilizing the networks of pipelines, wires, storage, waterways, railroads, and other facilities. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz testified to the importance of transmission and distribution infrastructure, "The transformation of our energy landscape has grown the economy, but also has implications for the Nation’s energy transmission, storage and distribution infrastructures—the vast networks that move energy supplies to intermediate processors and end users. These infrastructures are aging, not well-matched to new sources of supply, and exposed to increases in extreme weather events associated with climate change such as sea-level rise, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes." As to the cost, he further commented, "Nationwide, the replacement of aging natural gas distribution pipelines is estimated to cost $270 billion."More

NTSB says positive train control would have prevented recent Amtrak crash
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hosted a hearing to review the recent Amtrak crash in Philadelphia, where National Transportation Safety Board chairman Christopher Hart testified that, "positive train control would have prevented the May 12 accident." NTSB's annual Most-Wanted List highlights safety-critical actions that the US Department of Transportation (DOT), United States Coast Guard, other Federal entities, states, and organizations need to take to help prevent accidents and save lives. In January 2015, the NTSB released its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2015. This year's Most Wanted List includes "Implement Positive Train Control in 2015."More

Hundreds of drones approved as FAA eases limits
Inside GNSS
Work to integrate drones into the nation's regular air traffic picked up speed over the last eight months as aviation regulators found new ways to permit unmanned flights while still keeping the skies safe for other aircraft. In September 2014 the agency announced the first of what is now more than 450 waivers enabling commercial companies to begin for-profit operations in the United States. More

The life and death of Ikonos, a pioneering commercial satellite
The commercial satellite industry is in something of a boom time right now, with everyone from Elon Musk to Google planning to launch spacecraft of varying sizes into Earth's orbit, and eventually, beyond. Today, people all over the planet can see photos and even HD video of Earth from above with the click of a button on a computer or phone. But this wasn't always the case. More

On the road to driverless vehicles
GPS World
Land-vehicle autonomous navigation requires centimeter-level qualification tools to enable confidence build-up for delivery to open-road traffic insertion. External positioning sensors over a dedicated road section can be replaced with an embedded high-accuracy, highly responsive epoch-by-epoch differential GNSS receiver coupled with an inertial navigation system. The demonstrated absolute accuracy and mobility extends the potential test area and minimizes cost for multi-environment validation. More

Esri launches Human Health and Climate Change App Challenge
Directions Magazine
Esri unveiled its Human Health and Climate Change App Challenge, calling on the worldwide GIS community to create apps that help communities visualize, understand and combat the health impacts of climate change. Esri will award three winners more than $15,000 in cash prizes or the equivalent in software. The deadline to enter is Aug. 14. More