News & Views
Sep. 24, 2014

MTU student writes about participation in NSPS student competition
Michigan Technical University (MTU) student Ben Stroven has published an article in the Michigan Surveyor magazine about the experiences of the four-person MTU team in preparing for, and participating in, the finals of the 2014 NSPS Student Competition held during the NSPS spring business meetings in San Diego. The team also participated in the Young Surveyors event held in conjunction with the NSPS meetings.More

NSPS stolen equipment registry
You may not be aware that NSPS offers a registry for any NSPS member to use for listing stolen equipment, and for members to check if they are approached to purchase equipment from unknown sources. Anyone wishing to utilize the NSPS registry can access it by using this link.More

Struggling to wrap your arms around personal lines insurance! Did you know that the NSPS Insurance Program offers personal lines?
Among the benefits of the NSPS Insurance Program are personal lines for both NSPS members and their employees. Check out the attached fact sheet for more information.More

NSPS executive director speaks to Penn State Wilkes-Barre students
On Thursday September 18, Curt Sumner, LS traveled to the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus to speak with students enrolled in the school's Surveying Engineering program. Instructor of Surveying Engineering, Brian Naberezny, arranged for the visit as part of the program's fall Surveying Seminar course. Sumner spoke about professionalism in the practice of surveying, stressing that the term relates to one's conduct, and approach to service to clients and the public, rather than having been automatically bestowed by virtue of specific credentials that are based primarily on knowledge of a subject.

Approximately 60 students are currently enrolled in the four-year Surveying Engineering program at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. More

NSPS Radio Hour — Sept. 29, 11 a.m. EDT
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will be the focus of discussion when host Curt Sumner welcomes Paul Rooney and Stuart Rooney from FEMA's Risk Analysis Division. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), Elevation Certificates, the FEMA mapping process, and Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) will be discussed.

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.

During the show, listen for the "key question" and be the first to email the correct answer to to win a $50 gift certificate from our sponsor, Parker Davis Quik Stakes. No purchase is required to receive the gift certificate. Winners limited to once every three months. More

Congress passes funding bill to Dec. 11, goes home for election campaign
The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed a "continuing resolution" funding the government from the October 1 start of the new fiscal year through December 11, 2014, and recessed for the fall election campaign. Congress will return to Washington, D.C. on November 12 for a post-election "lame duck" session. More

Nevada Gov. Sandoval requests NSPS help
On September 18, NSPS lobbyist John "JB" Byrd met with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) in Washington, DC, where the Governor asked if NSPS could assist in identifying a land surveyor to fill a vacancy on the state licensing board. Byrd committed to prompt action to meet the Governor's request and contacted the NSPS Governor/Director for the Nevada Association of Land Surveyors (NALS) to inquire whether it had initiated the process of nominating a candidate for the Governor's consideration. This is an example of how NSPS and its national government affairs program proactively represents and benefits state surveying societies.More

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduces Digital Coast Act
NSPS is pleased to announce the Senate introduction of a bill, S. 2890, authorizing a full "Digital Coast" program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The bill would create a coordinated and comprehensive national mapping effort for coastal, Great Lakes, and territorial waters of the United States. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the "Digital Coast Act of 2014" on September 18. The "Digital Coast" is a geospatially enabled project to improve coordination and support work with stakeholders to identify geospatial priorities; improve coordination of coastal mapping and management activities; use standards and standardized methods for data acquisition, processing, and distribution to ensure broadest utility of data; promote best practices when applying geospatial data for coastal decision making; and contract for the collection and creation of quality non-navigation feature data sets to include: shoreline change, satellite and aerial imagery, land use and land cover maps, benthic habitat mapping, terrestrial topography, shallow water bathymetry, and submerged aquatic vegetation. The bill would build on the current "project" and authorize a full program. The introduction of the Digital Coast Act by Senator Baldwin compliments a bi-partisan effort in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), cosponsors of Digital Coast Act of 2013, H.R 1382. NSPS Executive Director Curtis Sumner was quoted in a Sen. Baldwin's fact sheet in support of the legislation. Sumner said, "The provisions of the Digital Coast Act will significantly enhance the Digital Coast project through the creation of a sustainable program to utilize geospatial technologies to map and monitor coastal waterways of the United States, providing an invaluable benefit to the public and to the professionals whose charge is to protect their health, safety and welfare." Joining Sen. Baldwin as original cosponsors were Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). S. 2890 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.More

House committee releases P3 report, moves Amtrak reauthorization bill
The Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives released a report on public-private partnerships (P3s) across all sectors within the committee’s jurisdiction including surface transportation, aviation, public buildings, water systems and treatment, and ports and inland waterways. The report was drafted by a bipartisan working group of committee members and seeks to balance the needs of both the public and private sectors utilizing P3s as a financing tool.

Committee leaders noted that the findings from the report would be incorporated in the future legislation under the committee’s jurisdiction, as well as shared with the House budget and tax committees.

The committee also approved the "Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2014" (PRRIA), to reauthorize Amtrak for four years and provide further reforms to passenger rail service. The bill, H.R. 5449, would change Amtrak's funding system to reinvest profits from the heavily-traveled Northeast Corridor on that segment, thus making it more difficult for Amtrak to subsidize the rest of its money-losing national network. The bill would also reduce the current annual authorized funding levels for construction by 40 percent, to $700 million. More

Senators seek to protect cash-based accounting for professional service firms
Nearly half of the U.S. Senate (46 Senators) signed a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee urging the preservation of the cash accounting for tax purposes, particularly for professional service firms. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Pat Roberts (R-KS.), Angus King (I-ME) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) led the effort. Congress has been discussing, but has not yet acted upon, comprehensive tax reform, with some proposals seeking to eliminate cash accounting for certain firms. When Congress last overhauled the tax code, in 1986, the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), the predecessor to NSPS, was the leader in defining surveying and mapping as a professional service, with firms eligible to use cash-based accounting. More

NSPS and Spatial Media announce CST program cooperation
Spatial Media LLC
The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and Spatial Media LLC, publisher of The American Surveyor Magazine, have announced an effort to support the recognition and development of certified survey technicians via an ongoing ad program and NSPS-endorsed eLearning website. Curt Sumner, Executive Director of NSPS, devoted the September 8th NSPS Radio Hour to the initiative. To listen, visit:

With each passing year more and more organizations are requiring CST certification as a condition of employment. Technical colleges are beginning to use the CST exam for exit competency requirements. Individuals and employers are realizing the importance of certification for career advancement and as a standardized statement of aptitude. In order to support this upward trend and help prospective CST candidates prepare for the CST examinations, has been developed by Spatial Media in conjunction with the NSPS CST Board of Directors.
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Falling prices will spur innovation, competition in high-precision GNSS market
Inside GNSS
The high-precision GNSS industry should expect to see industry consolidation and a scramble for new markets and innovations as prices for high-end chips and modules continue to slide, experts told attendees at a ION GNSS+ panel discussion in Tampa, Florida. The falling prices could strain R&D budgets, they noted, but could also create opportunity as high-end receivers come within reach of emerging industries. More

With Army's geospatial tool, new terrain is familiar terrain
Defense Systems
The Army is using its own kind of Google Street View to help commanders, engineers and analysts judge the lay of the land before moving into new territory and identify such thing as the best routes for troop movements, the location of arable land or the availability of water sources. More

US Strategic Command confirms fall of Russian military satellite
RIA Novosti
Russian reconnaissance satellite Kosmos-2495 reentered the atmosphere and crashed last week, a spokesman for the U.S. Strategic Command told RIA Novosti on Friday. The Russian Defense Ministry has previously denied media reports of a Russian military satellite, allegedly exploded above the United States. The Kosmos-2495 was launched on May 6, 2014. More

China to join effort on aircraft satnav standards
GPS World
Europe's EGNOS augmentation system sharpens the accuracy and reliability of GPS signals so they can safely be used for landing approaches across a growing number of European airports. But aviation is a global enterprise — so the aim is to develop a seamless network of augmentation systems in future. More