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ALTA/ACSM standards
Please send questions/comments you may have about the standards to NSPS Executive Director Curt Sumner via email at Responses will be posted in NSPS News and Views.


We’ve been asked to prepare an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey covering multiple parcels and owners from an accumulation of multiple title commitments. We typically prepare unsigned “base maps” based on the individual commitments, but complete the actual ALTA/ACSM Survey only after there has been a Pro Forma commitment prepared that wraps all of the individual title commitments into one. Because of the timing of this particular project, we have been asked to complete the Survey from the individual title commitments before the final consolidated Pro Forma is issued. Will the title companyl accept such an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey without the Pro Forma? What else should we be concerned with? Can an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey be based upon more than one title commitment? It would also be awkward trying to label the individual parcels and exceptions on the Survey. Do you have any thoughts about such a request? What items should we be concerned about? How might you reply? Read More for Answer
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NGS Seminars/Webinars on Geodesy Topics
As part of NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) mission to provide access to the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS), and to be a leader in geospatial activities, the agency periodically conducts seminars on various subjects detailing topics in geodesy, geodetic surveying and elements of the NSRS. The presentations are both in-class (usually conducted at the Corbin Virginia Training Center) and via webinars. Past webinars have been captured and can be accessed from the NGS Online Learning Resources web page which is now linked from the NSPS web site. Additional information on upcoming NGS classes and the Corbin Training Center can be found here.
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Senate may take up FEMA flood reform delay
The U.S. Senate may soon consider changes to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, the 2012 law that reformed the FEMA flood insurance program, including its risk mapping activities.

The Senate is expected to move as early as Wednesday, January 8 to consider legislation that would delay for four years any phase-outs of premium subsidies for second homes and business properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. The bill also would halt efforts to update the NFIP's Flood Insurance Rate Maps and to phase-in appropriate risk-based rates for those properties whose designations have changed.

Because the NFIP's statutory authority is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017, a four-year delay would effectively gut reforms that were passed by Congress by overwhelming margins in 2012. The NFIP remains roughly $24 billion in debt to U.S. taxpayers and hasn't repaid any principal on its loans since 2010.

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NAPA issues report on elevation data, endorses 3DEP
When Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, in the MAP-21 Act, (P.L. 112-141), including the highway bill, FEMA flood reform and changes to the federal student loan program, it included a variety of mapping-related provisions. A key section, 100121, required a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) study on how FEMA can improve interagency and intergovernmental coordination on flood mapping, including a funding strategy to leverage and coordinate budgets and expenditures and establish joint funding mechanisms with other Federal agencies and units of State and local government to share the collection and utilization of data among all governmental users. The NAPA report is out. Included is the following recommendation (page 11): "Recommendation 15: The Office of Management and Budget should use the 3DEP implementation plan for nationwide elevation data collection to guide the development of the President's annual budget request." NSPS has endorsed the 3DEP program, and petitioned the Appropriations Committee in Congress to begin funding the contract program for collection of elevation data, primarily through LIDAR.
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OMB issues guidance on federal grants, protects QBS
The Office of Management and Budget has issued new guidance on the administration of federal grants. Of interest to COFPAES, of which NSPS is a member, is the preservation of the "Brooks Act" and numerous state "mini-Brooks Acts," which provide for the qualifications-based selection process (QBS) to be used for contracting for architecture, engineering, surveying and mapping services.
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Did you know that the CST Program is recognized by the Department of Labor?

FAA selects sites for UAV testing
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on December 30 the selection of six sites for research and testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The tests will be conducted to enable FAA to develop a plan by 2015 to integrate commercial UAVs into the nation's airspace, as the agency was directed to do in an aviation bill enacted into law in 2012.
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OMB issues policy on value engineering
The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is publishing final revisions to OMB Circular A-131, to update and reinforce policies associated with the consideration and use of value engineering (VE).
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Congress limits GLONASS
Before leaving the Nation's Capital for the holidays, Congress passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision that virtually bars Russia from building about a half-dozen GLONASS receiving stations on American soil that critics fear Moscow could use to spy on the United States, or worse. Under the new law, unless the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence certify to Congress that the ground stations would not be used to spy on the United States or improve the effectiveness of Russian weaponry — or unless they waive that requirement altogether on national security grounds — the plan is dead. The waiver would also require that the stations not pose a cyberespionage threat or weaken the American GPS technology for consumers.
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NSPS Radio Hour — Jan. 13, 11 a.m. EDT
Welcome back! The Christmas and New Year holidays are over, and a new year is ahead of us. During 2013, we are planning an ongoing series on insurance. We kicked off the year on the January 6 with a discussion about health insurance. Considering that the holiday season was just winding down at that point, and the importance of this topic, we have decided to replay that broadcast again for the January 13 show to give as many listeners as possible the opportunity to hear the important information that was discussed. Based on comments we may receive from you, the listeners, we may devote another show to the health insurance issue.

The guests on the show are Lisa Isom and Lance Perry with Assurance Risk Managers, the official agency for the NSPS Insurance Program for members.

If you are unable to listen to the show when it is being broadcasted, 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.

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Job opportunities
Job Opportunities are posted on the NSPS website.

Employers interested in posting job opportunities on the NSPS website should contact John D. Hohol at

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Franken calls for location privacy law after GAO study
The Hill
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., reiterated calls for a location privacy law, pointing to a recent Government Accountability Office report that found a need for clearer privacy practices for in-car navigation companies. Some companies operating location-based car devices are operating with "unclear" privacy practices that "could make it difficult for consumers to understand the privacy risks that may exist," according to the report.
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Privacy issues raise concerns for remote sensing
Point of Beginning
As unmanned aerial systems become more prevalent in the skies, the United States is engaged in spirited conversation about their impact on the constitutional guarantees of privacy and free speech. Over the next 10 years, tens of thousands of these vehicles could be safely darting in our national airspace, providing a wealth of valuable services to homeowners, ranchers, farmers, journalists and businesses.
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How can geography literacy be so bad in the age of Google Earth?
Directions Magazine
It's a difficult question to answer given that we are surrounded more by maps today on so many different electronic devices than ever before. But author Anne-Laure Freant tells us more about this puzzling dichotomy and maybe why geography has to redefine itself.
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Apple, drones and Foursquare make news over holidays
Directions Magazine
AudioBriefYou might think it was quiet in the geospatial technology industry during the holiday season. It wasn't. There was news about Apple, Foursquare, drones and more. Our editors will get you caught up.
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Upcoming seminars/conferences
Arizona Professional Land Surveyors Association Annual Conference
April 10-12, 2014 - Tucson Marriott University Park
Florida Surveying and Mapping Society
Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors
The Eastern Section of the ISPLS is proud to be hosting the 2014 Conference - "40 Years — A Firm Foundation," March 4-7, 2014 at the Red Lion Inn in Pocatello. For information, contact Chairman Rodney Burch,
Register for the 2014 Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors' Annual Conference – January 15-17, 2014 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. For more information contact Jason Coyle.
Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers
New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors
Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors
Registration is now open for the 2014 PSLS Surveyors' Conference!
Please join PSLS in Hershey January 12-15 at the 2014 Surveyors’ Conference - our biggest event of the year!
Texas Society of Professional Surveyors - TSPS Symposium, February 21-22, 2014 in Lubbock, TX at the Overton Hotel
Virginia Association of Surveyors - VAS 66th Annual Convention, Wyndham Va. Crossings Hotel, Glen Allen (Richmond), VA - January 23-25, 2014. For More Information, Contact: Judy Hite.
CLSA-NALS Conference, April 12-16, 2014, San Diego, CA
Click Here to Visit the Conference Website for More Information
94th Annual Convention of the Wyoming Engineering Society
The following organizations hold meetings in conjunction with the WES convention:
  • Professional Land Surveyors of Wyoming
  • Wyoming Chapter American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Wyoming Society of Professional Engineers
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Wyoming
  • Dates: February 6 & 7, 2014
    Location: University of Wyoming Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Laramie, Wyoming
    Contact: Joe Lord, Executive Director, Wyoming Engineering Society
    Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon conference Jan 22-24, 2014 at the Convention Center in Salem, Oregon
    Oregon GPS Users Group is putting on an all-day workshop entitled “Modernization of the National Spatial Reference System”, presented by David Doyle on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014, at the NW Eola Viticulture Center, Chemeketa Community College, 215 Doaks Ferry Rd., Salem, OR 97304. The cost is $70 and includes a buffet style lunch. Go to for contact information. Registration is limited to 150 on a first-come, first-serve basis. This workshop should be quite interesting so it is recommended that individuals considering attending should not delay in making their decision. The NW Eola Viticulture Center offers a beautiful view of a piece of the Willamette Valley from its veranda, especially if the weather is nice.
    Land Surveyors Association of Washington
    Starts Wednesday, March 5 and is located at Tulalip Resort in Marysville, Washington
    Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors 73rd Annual Conference, February 18-21, 2014 at Little River Casino Resort, Manistee, MI. Visit for more information.
    Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon, Digging the Past - Setting the Future, January 22-24, 2014, Salem Conference Center, 200 Commercial Street SE, Salem, Oregon

    News & Views
    Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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    Dennis Hall, Senior Content Editor, 469.420.2656   
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