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Promoting Texas Surveying in China

Posted By Paul Kwan, RPLS, Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Updated: Monday, October 9, 2017

During the 2016 TSPS Convention Open House/President’s Reception in San Marcos, I had the opportunity to enjoy the company of colleagues and see friends that I only have the opportunity to see annually at the convention. This year three employees of my firm also were in attendance to join in the fun and education opportunities the conference provides. Sarah Yang, R.P.L.S., Debbie Li, R.P.L.S., and Nhuy Nguyen, R.P.L.S. had the privilege to meet Trisha Lund, R.P.L.S., Heather Sides, R.P.L.S., and Coleen Johnson, R.P.L.S., demonstrating the many opportunities for women surveyors available today.

As the evening winded down and after a hearty meal of finger foods and sufficient refreshments, I was approached by Dr. Gary Jeffress, R.P.L.S. about a trip to China to promote the Texas A&M Corpus Christi masters and PhD program to students at Wuhan University.  Sarah Yang, R.P.L.S. graduated from Wuhan University with a bachelor’s degree in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. He commented that it would be beneficial for Wuhan Students to understand the value of her Wuhan Degree and its acceptance as a qualified degree in Texas, as well as learn about surveying in the USA from a Texas R.P.L.S. graduated from their alma mater.  He inquired if I can sponsor Sarah’s travel expenses to attend the one week conference in the City of Wuhan. Thus, a unique opportunity to promote Texas surveying and the Texas A&M Corpus Christi graduate program across the ocean to a group of eager students was born at the TSPS convention.

Dating back to 1893, Wuhan University offers over 756 degree programs for students and is considered to be a world-class comprehensive research university domestically and internationally. It is equivalent to an Ivy League University in the United States. Wuhan University’s School of Geodesy and Geomatics is well respected in the Asian academia circle and has over 2,700 students enrolled.  It offers bachelor, master, and PhD degrees in surveying and mapping related studies.  Dr. Ruizhi Chen, formerly endowed chair and professor of Texas A&M Corpus Christi Geographic Information Science, has moved back to China.  He is currently the Director and Professor at the Key State Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping, and Remote Sensing at Wuhan University.

In December, 2016 Sarah Yang, R.P.L.S., Dr. Gary Jeffress, R.P.L.S., and Dr. Guoqing Zhou of Texas A&M Corpus Christi arrived in the City of Wuhan.  It is the most populous city in central China with a population of over 10 million people.  The dynamic trio spent time informing students on surveying in the United States, the unique aspect of Texas surveying, licensing requirements, and the education and career opportunities available in the United States. The purpose of their trip was to build a collaborative education relationship between the two universities. The two professors explained the need for qualified Chinese educated surveyors and geospatial scientists to join the Texas A&M Corpus Christi master and PhD programs.

Sarah, speaking in her native tongue, offered the students first-hand experience on life in the United States.  She recalled her experience at Wuhan University and discussed her immigration to Texas and adapting to a completely different language and culture.  She also talked with students about her first surveying job, a day in the life of a professional surveyor in the United States, and surveying Texas style. Sarah explained the process of obtaining professional license and various surveying career paths available to graduating students. Students were eager to learn more about the possibilities and intrigued by the difference in surveying in China versus the United States. She took time to discuss the Texas land system, measuring units in the United States, surveying regulations, and the State Plane Coordinate System, all which differ from surveying in China.

Dr. Gary Jeffress, R.P.L.S. and Dr. Guoqing Zhou spoke to students in an organized lecture to promote the graduate program at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. The professors discussed ongoing research at the University and the different degree programs available. They also educated students on the various career paths available after graduation from the Geographic Information Science Program at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

  

“My trip back to Wuhan University, after graduating 25 years ago, was very exciting and rewarding. The City had changed tremendously and the infrastructure had been improved and transformed into a more modern and busy metropolitan area. I was surprised by the School Of Geodesy and Geomatics proactive approach to connect itself with universities from all over the world.  The school hosts lectures and workshops to provide students with the most up-to-date information on technology and opportunities. In addition, the school works diligently to recruit the finest scholars and professors to join their university. The students we interacted with were eager to learn about surveying in Texas and showed passion and ability for expanding their knowledge in their field. This entire trip was rewarding to not only the students but also for me, and Drs. Gary Jeffress and Guoging Zhou.” said Sarah Yang, RPLS.

This trip to China to promote Texas surveying was a success and very beneficial for both Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and Wuhan University. The students and faculty members at Wuhan University had a unique opportunity to hear and see Texas surveying from well-respected professors, two Texas R.P.L.S.’s, and a classmate returning from overseas. Surveying education is universal without boundary lines.

Tags:  land surveying  land surveyors  surveyors  texas a&m university corpus christi  texas land surveyors  wuhan university 

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Jonathan Nobles, RPLS #5777 - Chapter 13 (Capital Area)

Posted By Kristen L. Evon, Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TSPS: How/why did you get into surveying?

Jonathan: It was a little bit of a curvy path. Heeding my Dad’s advice, I found a job at a surveying firm in College Station while going to school. While working with Dante at Carlomagno Surveying for about 5 years, I began to develop a love for the profession. After finally graduating, I decided to pursue my PE license while working on land development projects in Austin. Having done engineering for a while, and not too long after getting my PE, I decided that surveying was really what I wanted to be doing, and the rest is history.

TSPS: Why did you join TSPS?

Jonathan: I began to get involved with TSPS once I was back into surveying full-time. TSPS is highly important to our profession. From keeping tabs down at the legislature to putting on the convention, symposium and other educational opportunities as well, the benefits are pretty obvious. However, the biggest thing that I personally get out of TSPS are the relationships that I have developed with other surveyors around Austin and also the state. It’s nice to be able pick up the phone and call someone that you may know of that has had experience with a particular challenge you’ve come across at work.

TSPS: What is your most memorable surveying moment?

Jonathan: It’s hard to come up with just one, but my favorite memories are when you come across some old boundary evidence that helps substantiate your analysis. I can recall a time when we were surveying a large tract on the west side of Lake Travis. Using a scattered rock mound we found that I believed could possibly be a patent corner, we were able to establish the east line of this tract, which ended up being about 15 feet east of the occupied fence line. Upon further investigation on this tract covered thick with cedar, we found remnants of an old fence line and additional boundary evidence to support what we believed to be the boundary.

Jonathan's favorites:

Color: Maroon of course
Food: Craft Beer
Animal: Black Angus
Singer/band/group: Stevie Ray Vaughn/Ryan Bingham/Lucero/Jimmy Buffett
Hobby: Hunting, Coaching my kid’s 5th grade football team… It’s fun to watch those kids develop & grow up together

   

Jonathan is currently the TSPS Chapter 13 - Capital Area President and works for BGE, Inc. in Austin, TX.

Tags:  members  texas land surveyors  texas surveyors 

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Is That a Drone I See Coming?

Posted By George Southard, Thursday, August 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Is there a drone* in your future? Some people have placed a “drone” on the top of their Christmas list. Yes, small remote controlled aircraft are fun to play with. However, surveying and mapping professionals see these new drones as a potentially important new tool for their work. As soon as the childlike gleam in their eyes starts to fade, the questions come flooding in: 

  • Do I need a drone? 
  • Can it help me be more profitable, or is it a deep money pit? 
  • Can I use a drone to help better serve my clients? 
  • Are drones the hope for the future, or just a hope with no promise?  
  • A drone for surveying and mapping looks complicated; where do I start?  

The decision whether to use drones in your business can be complex. There are dozens of drone manufacturers, and dozens of types of drones, from small inexpensive units to large octopus like giants. The drone is just the platform for carrying many types of sensors; color cameras, infrared cameras, LIDAR units, thermal sensors and many more. The software to operate a drone is getting easier and simpler to use, but the software used to make proper survey grade map products is increasingly complex. There are some drones sellers who say you need only a spend a thousand dollars or so to start, others say it will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, what about all those complex FAA regulations? 

One of the most daunting issues faced by the new drone owner is the complexity of Governmental Regulations. For the past ninety years or so, flying aircraft in the National Airspace System (NAS) has been regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Whether flying for general recreation, carrying people for hire, or hauling freight, the FAA regulates how the aircraft users are expected to operate. FAA regulations have worked very well to the benefit of all who fly. The US airspace, while the busiest in the world, is also the safest in the world.

In 2007 the FAA recognized that the age of commercial drone use was dawning.  Technological advances in miniaturization of computers, communication equipment, navigation systems, etc. sparked the advancement of drone technology.  With the help of experts from industry, academia and government, the FAA has developed regulations for the safe use of commercial drones.  On 29 August 2016, the FAA released small UAS (drone) rules called, 14CFR part 107; or simply “part 107”.  This 620 page document details the regulations, rules and accepted operating procedures for the safe and legal operation of drones for commercial work. 

From the very beginning of the drone “boom” many surveying and mapping professionals have had visions of drones becoming a less costly, and more convenient way of collecting airborne imagery/data.  For decades these professionals have relied on the expertise of aerial surveying companies to provide photogrammetrically produced maps for a wide variety of geospatial applications.  New companies are now coming into the market offering professional drone mapping services for the surveying profession.

So here we are, there are dozens of drone systems and sensors now available, a new set of regulations and hundreds of thousands of aviation novices wanting to use UAS for commercial work. Surveying professionals are now asking questions like: 

  • Does this technology make sense for my business?
  • Can I make money using UAS?
  • What map products can be produced using a drone?
  • Should I hire an experienced service provider or do the work myself?
  • Where do I get help?

The Texas Society of Professional Surveyors  2017 Annual Convention and Tech Expo will feature Mr. George Southard teaching sessions focused on drone technologies for the surveying and mapping profession. Mr. Southard is an independent geospatial consultant specializing in the airborne mapping and surveying marketplace.

 * The use of the term “drone” in this article is for clarity sake, the more precise and proper term is Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The FAA uses term UAS when referring to aircraft that fly without a pilot on board. The public/press use the term drone for all unmanned, although, a drone is technically an unmanned military aircraft.

Tags:  drones  surveying  surveyors  texas land surveyors  UAS  Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) 

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TSPS Member Feature: Kenneth Yazel, Chapter 2

Posted By Kristen L. Evon, Thursday, August 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kenneth Yazel, RPLS #6182 - Chapter 2 (North Central Texas)


TSPS: How/why did you get into surveying?

Kenneth: My step mom owns a Land Title Insurance Company in Tulsa and was able to use her influence to get me a summer job as a teenager with a Tulsa Land Surveying firm. When I went back to school at the University of North Texas (go mean green) at some point I decided that Land Surveying and my pursuit of a Geography Degree would go very well together. I was able to get work experience while getting my degree in Denton with a couple of local surveying companies. 

TSPS: Why did you join TSPS?

Kenneth: I got laid off in 2007 and was able to quickly find a job through the classifieds in TSPS’s Texas Surveyor publication. I have been a thankful active member since then. I’ve enjoyed building my professional network, learning more about Land Surveying, and keeping current on issues affecting our profession.

TSPS: What is your most memorable surveying moment?

Kenneth: The most memorable surveying moment is the day (June 18, 2014) that my good friend, Jeffrey Peebles, and I opened our Land Surveying Company for business. God has blessed us with multiple great clients, 12 wonderful employees, and plenty of work. I am looking forward to continuing to grow the company and see where we end up going forward.

 

Kenneth's Favorites:

Color: Mean Green

Food: Barbeque

Animal: Hippopotamus

Singer/band/group: Norah Jones

Hobby: Going to sporting events with my lovely wife

 

Kenneth currently serves as 1st Vice President for TSPS Chapter 2 - North Central Texas and is the President of Yazel Peebles & Associates LLC in Bedford, TX.

Tags:  members  surveyors  texas land surveyors 

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TSPS Member Feature: Jose Rodriguez, Jr. Chapter 19

Posted By Kristen L. Evon, Thursday, June 8, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Jose Rodriguez, Jr. SIT #110053 - Chapter 19 (Rio Grande Valley)


TSPS: How/why did you get into surveying?

Jose: Surveying has always been a crucial element for the civil engineering profession and a prerequisite for many, if not all, civil engineering projects. As such, I’ve been involved with surveying since my civil drafting career began in the late 90’s. As my career shifted and matured from drafting to civil engineering, it became apparent that pursuing the SIT certification and the subsequent RPLS license were the next steps for my career. Thank you to all the people that support my career endeavors.

TSPS: Why did you join TSPS?

Jose: TSPS gives me the opportunity to be a part of a great organization.  I enjoy meeting people and learning from attending seminars. TSPS has certainly given me the opportunity to meet other professionals and learn from their experiences. At the end of the day, it’s the fellowship that matters to me and I’m glad to be a part of TSPS.

TSPS: What is your most memorable surveying moment?

Jose: I’m not sure I have a most memorable surveying moment. I mean, I haven’t been chased by a swarm of bees or anything like that. But I truly enjoy and love the outdoors. So, I always jump on the opportunity to put on a pair of boots, roll up my sleeves, and survey for some of my projects. Besides, we all need a change of pace sometimes and these opportunities provide a good reason to get out from behind the desk. Therefore, every opportunity to survey is a memorable one for me.

 

Jose's favorites:

Color: Maroon and White!

 Food: Texas BBQ

 Animal: Dogs

 Singer/band/group: Classic Rock

 Hobby: Skeet & Fishing - The Outdoors

Jose currently serves as 1st Vice President for TSPS Chapter 19 - Rio Grande Valley and is the President/Project Manager at Delcon Logistics, LLC in Mission, TX.

Tags:  members  membership  surveyors  texas land surveyors 

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