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FEMA issues new version of elevation certificate
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Wendy Lathrop, a NSPS Past President, served as the representative for ACSM/NSPS on FEMA's Technical Mapping Advisory Council for many years, and has expressed interest in again representing NSPS on the soon to be reinstated TMAC.

She has provided the information below for the benefit of our readers:

The latest version of the Elevation Certificate has finally been issued in its entirety (having first been posted Nov. 12 with missing pages). The FEMA library states that there will be a 12-month phase-in of the revised form, with that transition period beginning Aug. 1, 2012 (the date stamped on the form, not when it was released to the public). The new form must be used after July 31, 2013.

In general, the form does not change substance, and primarily tweaks language. The font is, however, smaller as a result of adding spaces and words in various places (including a typographical error of a repeated paragraph both before and after the header for instructions regarding Section F). Those with aging eyes had better clean off their glasses, squint or reset the zoom level on their computer screens.

In many places, the tweaks involve using numerals instead of spelled out numbers. When referring to the distance between the bottom of flood openings and lowest adjacent grade, however, the designation of "1.0 foot" rather than "one foot" should make it clearer to those who would like to push the limits of significant figures.

A brief summary of the new form:
  • A Privacy Act Statement has been added to the introductory page after the cover page and before the form itself.
  • Sections A and B remain unchanged.
  • C2 removes "conversion/comments" and adds check boxes for the datum, also adding a note about only reporting in meters if in Puerto Rico.
  • Section D moves the check box for attachments to the front of the form rather than the back.
  • Section E changes spacing for easier reading (also makes E2 easier to understand)
  • Section F remains unchanged.
  • Section G again adds a note about only reporting in meters if in Puerto Rico.
  • Page 3, where building photographs are to be added, has a new third sentence (formerly appearing only in the instructions) to explain what should show in the photographs.
  • The Building Diagrams remain unchanged with the exception of more consistent use of asterisks and spelling of "floodwaters" as a single word.
The new Elevation Certificate form can be accessed from FEMA's Library by clicking here or from Wendy's website (along with this commentary) by clicking here.

Hurricane Sandy relief
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The NSPS Foundation stands ready to provide disaster relief funds to surveyors and their employees who have been affected by the storm. Please click here to print a application form.

Hurricane Sandy reminds us to DONATE to the NSPS Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. Visit to donate online.

Special matching donation offer
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Land Design Insurance Group announces support for surveyors affected by Hurricane Sandy through the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation. Backed by the support of Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, LDIG will match 50 percent of eligible donations made to the NSPS Foundation Disaster Relief Fund from Nov. 26-Dec. 31.

In order for LDIG to match 50 percent of your donation, please register at NSPS Donation Match. (This registry will be compared to the list of donations received by NSPS in conjunction with LDIG's funding of the matching contribution)

Click Here to view Press Release

NSPS sale items
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  • S508 Surveying Solved Problems, 3rd Edition. Sale price: $40 plus shipping. Save $27.
  • S499 Stormwater Management for Land Development. Sale price: $70 plus shipping. Save $33.20.
  • S515 The Global Positioning System and GIS, An Introduction. Sale price: $48 plus shipping. Save $20.
How to order:

Online: and enter the eStore. Select "Sale Items"

Phone: 240-439-4615, ext. 105

If you would like a FREE copy of The Surveyor's Contracts and Risk Management Manual send $5 to cover the cost of shipping and handling to NSPS, Attn: Trish Milburn, 5119 Pegasus Court, Suite Q, Frederick, MD 21704. Please make checks payable to NSPS and in the memo field write Contracts Manual.

Student essay contest
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Presented by Professional Surveyor Magazine and

There is a surveying student essay contest with some cool prizes (a rover, cash). We're trying to promote writing skills for surveyors; this is the first in a series of such promotions. For more information, click here.

An accurate point of reference
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At the "Big Rock Interchange" in Little Rock, Ark., where Interstates 430 and 630 intersect, cars and trucks weave through a mass of partially built concrete and steel structures and numerous cranes and dirt-moving machines. Orange pylons and barrels help guide drivers into different lanes and around detours. Venture into this construction jungle, and the complexity of meshing construction processes with traffic flow becomes apparent. More

Riding the rails with mobile scanning
Professional Surveyor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Locating rail centerlines and corridor boundaries more than 150 years after they were built isn't easy, but that's exactly what the North Carolina Railroad Company needed to do. NCRR built its railroad in the 1850s, with a 200-foot boundary corridor extending 100 feet on either side of the rail centerline. Today the track spans 317 miles, and each day it carries 50 to 60 Norfolk Southern freight trains and 10 Amtrak passenger trains. More

Record title, Part 2: Land record systems
The American Surveyor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Real Property is the basis of wealth and the "quiet and peaceful ownership" of it is one of the prime purposes of modern Real Property law. In part one, we saw how the legislature moved society from oral contracts to written contracts, specifically from title transfers via livery-of-seisin to transfers by deeds. The legislature subsequently established land record systems providing for the recordation and retrieval of those written instruments as well as priority amongst them in the event of conflict. More

NPR: The motive of the mapmaker
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AudioBriefFrom ancient Babylonia to the Renaissance, mapmakers have been driven by politics, religion, emotion, and math. In his new book, A History of the World in Twelve Maps, professor Jerry Brotton examines the construction of a dozen world maps throughout history and argues that world maps are no more objective today than they were thousands of years ago. More

NatGeo mapmaker undertakes Esri's story maps project
Riverside Press-Enterprise    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For some 10 years, Allen Carroll was chief cartographer at National Geographic, guiding the creation of the iconic maps that subscribers received folded up in their magazines or purchased to hang on their den walls. Two years ago he gave that job up to go to work for Esri, a Redlands, Calif.-based company that is a giant in the GIS industry but lesser known to the general public. More

Lidar confirms Sandy's dramatic coastal change impacts and future coastal vulnerability
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The extent of Hurricane Sandy's wrath — and the future coastal vulnerability of the region — is clear in a new U.S. Geological Survey analysis of recently collected lidar coastal data. The research documented particularly dramatic impacts within the Fire Island National Seashore on Long Island, N.Y. More

Landsat poised to meet scientific mission
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The Landsat Data Continuity Mission, a joint project between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, is poised to deliver better data to monitor global land-use change with the planned launch of Landsat 8 early next year. Sensors & Systems spoke with Jenn Sabers, Remote Sensing Branch Chief, Earth Resources Observations and Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, about the upcoming Landsat mission, the technology and the important role of meeting the scientific mission. More

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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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