What really is the role of a survey technician....
An engineer with a LSIT's help is finally, actually an engineer. Otherwise, just a consultant.
When did we all decide that making a good living and getting professional development at work are mutually exclusive?
I'm slowly beginning to believe our failure to bill appropriately is due to pride and tradition. We tend to look at land surveying as a noble and ancient profession without considering the baggage that can come with tradition. For millennia the value of most land and human life hovered around zero. Only recently has land value increased to such a level where it became necessary to establish a baseline of competency. The forces that necessitated this change are currently getting a free ride, but it won't last forever. Although it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I'm leaning more towards Dan Beardslee's observation that most of our value comes from a form of liability insurance. Our license speaks to our competence. Our protection of the the public and the cadastre is not valued and is simply a function of competency in the same way that no one applauds an electrician for not wiring a house haphazardly.
My all-time favorite poster, Kent McMillian, explained in his terse manner that hourly rates with no cap were the only honest way to survey. This has a hint of truth and may be why I like surveyors a whole lot more than attorneys, realtors, and insurance agents. Likely it is my selfish desire to maximize security for my family (aka make more $$$) that leads me away from this approach and towards one that is not blind to the real liability differences between staking the footing of a two million dollar mountain house versus a pad for single wide trailer. If in both cases the boundary work and layout will take ten hours, I can't agree with Kent because I can't ignore clear variances in liability.
I doubt that we will be able to have our cake and eat it too. It may be that as more surveyors discover that our most valuable product is acceptance of liability, we'll lose our uniqueness and in a few decades be pining for the days when, at least in theory, we were more than just a necessary evil.
Unfortunately the plethora of robots has wiped out the greatest opportunity for apprenticeship and mentoring and the days of good surveyors may be coming to an end
I hope not! As someone stuck in that hole right now, flying rudderless without a PLS under whom to gain experience, I can at least fall back on the mentorship of the well-seasoned party chief and senior tech with their vast knowledge of which they can impart onto me. However, when the goal is to gain licensure, this is but a morsel when a meal is necessary.
From my view (although a relatively inexperienced one):
Where the rubber meets the road of licensed surveying has little to do with operating field equipment, but rather the knowledge of how to create, move and organize data, translating data from different systems, and understanding and navigating the complexities of legal boundaries (among others). I can only see data acquisition becoming cheaper and cheaper. However, with an ever-increasing population and constant subdivisions of land, the questions of boundaries will only become more complex.
But I agree with your statement- the increases in technology have decreased the need for a 3-person crew and thus, the lowly grunt has been largely eliminated. That spot was the path of entry for many surveyors and seeing it be removed means that other methods of entry must suffice. I'd hate to be the newly minted grad who never worked a day in the field showing up for their first day on the job. Must be terrifying!
As someone who is currently that 3rd lowly field grunt, I sometimes wonder why I'm there when all I'm doing is pointing the gun at the glass. But it's on those days that I remember I'm the fortunate one in that my company chose hiring me over getting a robotic total station and allowing me the opportunity to grow and learn through experience in the industry.
I'd hate to be the newly minted grad who never worked a day in the field showing up for their first day on the job. Must be terrifying!
Nah...they already know everything and are more than willing to let you know that
To do what nobody wants to do👍