JOINT COMMISSION WORKING GROUP ON
UNDER-REPRESENTED GROUPS IN SURVEYING
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FIG Working Group on Under-represented Groups in Surveying
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Working Group on Under-represented Groups in
Surveying, by Gabriele Dasse, Germany
Public Relations, by Lesley Ewoniak,
A State Surveyors’ Society, by Loyce
Working Group on
Under-represented Groups in Surveying
Session “Under-represented Groups and Ethics!”
by Gabriele Dasse, Germany
During the FIG Congress 2006 in Munich Germany, 8-13 October 2006, the
Working Group gets the opportunity to present papers on Thursday,
Under-represented Groups and Ethics
Commission: 1 and 2,
Chair: Mr. Ken Allred, Vice President of FIG, Canada
Rapporteur: Ms. Gabriele Dasse, Germany
Dr. Ron Adler, Dr. Joseph Forrai and Mr. Haim Srebro
Professional Practice Based on Education, Ethics and Standards
Ms. Gabriele Dasse (Germany):
Guidelines to Enhance the Representation of Under-Represented Groups in
Ms. Jennifer Maldar (Germany):
Let's Talk about Us!
Mrs. Angela Etuonovbe (Nigeria):
Improving Participation of Under-represented Groups – Projecting the Image
of the Nigerian Female Surveyor
Ms. Gerda Schennach (Austria):
Gender Issues for Land Registration and Professional Qualification
Enhancing the Representation of Under-Represented Groups in FIG
Topic 17 on the agenda of the FIG General Assembly in Munich, Germany 8
and 13 October 2006 is FIG publication 35: Enhancing the Representation of
Under-Represented Groups in FIG:
Appendix to item 17:
The article of the month August 2006 is dealing with the same subject:
“I would like to express my thanks to all involved in FIG and other
national and international organisations who supported the Task Force and
the Joint Commission Working Group on Under-represented Groups in
Surveying during the last nine years. By working together, pooling
resources and sharing ideas we achieved a vital network, published 30
Newsletter up to know and organized several sessions during FIG Working
Weeks and Congresses. One result of this wonderful cooperation are the
Policies to Enhance the Representation of Under-represented Groups in
Surveying. Special thanks to Clarissa Augustinus, Clara H. Greed,
Boo Lilje, Tommy Österberg, Dory Reeves, Siraj
Sait, Jennifer Whittal and Wendy J. Woodbury Straight
for their excellent contributions.”
Gabriele Dasse, Germany, Chair of the Working Group
by Lesley Ewoniak, Canada
(reprinted with permission of the writer from ALS News, published by
the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association)
It seems as though all we ever hear about these days is the shortage of
labour. Where can we find all the people to fill the gaps of all of the
field crews that we need to satisfy our client’s demands? Let me suggest a
Yes of course, I know the difficulties that may arise from hiring a
female in the oil and gas industry. Many of the consultants are hesitant
in having a “girl” come out to do the survey for them. However, I found
that I had more success in dealing with them than not.
Let me give you some statistics concerning the current standing of the
make-up of the market place. Women make up an estimated 47% of the labour
market (Statistics Canada 2005), which is consistent with the University
of Calgary Geomatics Engineering program having approximately 50% of
students being female. The increasing number of women in geomatics in both
BC and Alberta show promise that the under-representation of women in
geomatics is fading. However, women commissioned or registered as
articling students with the Alberta Land Surveyors Association account for
only 11.5% of the total membership and only 2% of the Association of
British Columbia Land Surveyors’ membership.
To raise awareness of a career in land surveying, Lesley Anne Sick,
(articling ALS), Shauna Goertzen (BCLS), and I held a presentation at the
University of Calgary Geomatics Career Day on February 2, 2006. The
objectives of the presentation were to increase the level of understanding
of how to obtain a commission, as well as the role of a land surveyor.
Topics of the discussion specific to women were the physical demands,
safety, and work/ life balance that come with having a career in land
I find that the main concern of women entering our work force are the
physical demands of the job. Hiding the fact that land surveying is
physically demanding will not make the industry more attractive to
females, instead it will give them a false sense of what it is like.
However, there are many ways to work around the tasks to decrease the
amount of intensity that a job appears to have. Here are some examples:
- Use the buddy system.
Having a female chainperson for most of my party chiefing time, we had
to use the strength of two people rather than one
- Be smart.
Look for alternatives to the “brute force” method.
- Use equipment that makes tasks easier.
Instead of lifting a quad out of the mud, use a winch.
- Maintain your equipment.
Chopping down a tree with a sharp axe is much easier than with an axe
that is dull.
Women in the land surveying profession do not have to be amongst the
strongest women in the world, they just need to be smart about how the
tasks can be accomplished. Having the knowledge and physical capabilities
are important, but attitude is a huge success factor.
Sugar coating things is not really my strong suit so I’m not going to
tell the women out there that this profession is fully accepting of women.
However, I will say that it is getting much better. The number of women
encountered in the field is continually increasing, reducing the shock to
consultants when a female crew arrives to survey a pipeline. I found that
in the majority of cases, the female presence is welcomed. If it isn’t, it
doesn’t take a long time for them to discover that the job can get done
regardless of who is completing it.
Safety has changed the way we conduct ourselves in the field. When I
speak to females wanting to enter the profession, they are not only
concerned with safe work procedures, they are more concerned about the
possible harassment that they may encounter in the field. Your personality
and the way you conduct yourself will have the most impact on what you
will have to deal with. I found that the majority of the time the
situations that you encounter are under your control.
Work/life balance is a very important consideration when selecting a
career. Land surveying is similar to other professions and one cannot
always expect to enjoy regular hours. The hours that a land surveyor works
can range from 40 to 80 hours a week. This will depend on the chosen
region and sector serviced.
In the current job force, more employers are being flexible with work
schedules, hours, and vacations where family commitments are concerned.
Many land surveyors find that their own clients dictate their workload.
They have the freedom and flexibility to manage their projects and the
number of hours they work.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of manpower and a large volume of work
and finding the “work-life balance” can be a challenge. Having said that,
employers are willing to accommodate professionals and other employees, to
ensure that the career they have chosen is a satisfying one. As a
professional, your value to your employer will be substantial, and thus
finding a routine which meets your needs is a priority.
I strongly encourage women to enter into land surveying. I find that
every day presents itself with a new challenge, and with the rate of
change in technology the amount that one can learn is unlimited.
Do you ever remember reading this riddle and being stumped?
A young boy and his father were out playing football when they were
caught at the bottom of a giant pileup. Both were injured and rushed to
the hospital. They were wheeled into separate operating rooms and two
doctors prepped up to work on them, one doctor for each patient. The
doctor operating on the father got started right away, but the doctor
assigned to the young boy stared at him in surprise. “I can’t operate on
him!” the doctor exclaimed to the staff. “That child is my son!” How can
that be? Until more women got into medicine, the answer was not as easily
thought of as it is today. The image of what a surveyor looks like is
By Lesley Ewoniak, A.L.S., Canada, McElhanney Land Surveys
A State Surveyors’ Society
by Loyce Smith, USA
Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors is typical of the state
societies throughout the United States. The organization started as a very
subordinate subgroup of Idaho Society of Professional Engineers, probably
about the time the state began to issue separate licenses for land
surveyors. In the early 1970s the two professions had diverged so much
that no surveying (or drafting) courses were required of engineers; and
few were offered by the state institutions at the college level. Land
Surveyors in two widely separated parts of the state started holding
meetings to discuss issues they were facing. The two “Land Surveyors of
Idaho” organizations found out about each other and combined their efforts
in 1974 to become the Idaho Association of Land Surveyors (later renamed
Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors or ISLPS). The process of
forming a nonprofit organization made it necessary to develop Articles of
Incorporation, with definitions of the purposes of the association. The
stated purposes are similar to those of other state societies:
- Advance the science of land surveying, in furtherance of the public
- Contribute to public education in the use of surveys, maps and
- Encourage improvement of college curricula for the teaching of
- Support publications that will represent the interests of surveying
- Cooperate with ACSM in all matters of mutual interest and concern
- Foster and maintain high standards of professional ethics and
practice in land surveying
- Honor the leaders in the science of surveying
Bylaws were drawn up and the first officers and directors were elected.
During those early years, the operation of the organization was pretty
informal, with the records being stored in a box in the secretary’s
basement. At the first statewide convention in 1975, the registration fee
was $1.00 (no meals were included). I became a “student” member at that
gathering and have had the opportunity to grow with the organization.
While I was a full time technician and a part time student, I began
attending meetings of the local section (called chapters in some states)
of ISPLS. This turned out to be as much of a learning opportunity as the
daily work experience of staking pipelines or the solving of theoretical
problems from textbooks. Sometimes it was not easy to decipher the jargon
or understand the significance of the issues discussed, but what better
way to find out than listening to the professionals who had “been there,
done that”? This does not mean that beginners can just grace the group
with their presence and soak it all up like a big sponge. There is work to
be done, and the lack of a license does not grant the right to be idle. A
Land Surveyor in Training may hold certain offices in the section. If the
local section is host for the statewide convention, a technician or Land
Surveyor in Training (LSIT) can be recruited to help with work on
publicity, registration or running errands. The Professional Land
Surveyors are willing and happy to share their knowledge with future
surveyors who are on their way to the license exam. It was a big help to
me personally to have the benefit of these contacts as I prepared for the
LSIT examination and then the Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) examination
a few years later. I made an effort to repay the group by taking on the
challenge of being an officer. When I was section chairman, I tried to
have an interesting speaker for each meeting. The intent was to have a
presentation on something related to surveying. However, the best received
program had to do with home built airplanes. Maybe that was because so
many of our members are pilots themselves. All these years later I remain
active on the local level and encourage the surveyors and their crews to
participate and contribute. Some ISPLS sections have large membership
lists and hold regular meetings. In the remote areas, the sections are
small and meet when they have something urgent to discuss.
State Level Involvement
Once I obtained my PLS, I was eligible for some of the ISPLS
responsibilities reserved for registered professionals. I declined an
offer to become historian and lost an election for treasurer. Then one day
the newsletter editors suddenly quit. The president asked me to take on
that job. I had little background for it except one nonproductive semester
of high school journalism and the good fortune of having had the world’s
best English teacher. For a few years I worked on the newsletter by
myself, eventually getting tagged for editing two other newsletters – my
department’s publication at work and a churchwomen’s newsletter. When I
was nominated for vice president, I recruited a friend to take over the
newsletter. Except for about a four year hiatus, he and I have worked on
the newsletter ever since. This publication, The Gem State Surveyor,
prints mostly original articles by Idaho surveyors, board meeting minutes,
committee and section reports, advertising by suppliers and announcements
of events of interest to surveyors in Idaho and elsewhere.
I had personal goals as editor and later as president of ISPLS. As
editor, I had hoped just once to see an article from our newsletter
reprinted by some other state. Then as president I had wanted very much to
get a scholarship established for survey students at one of the Idaho
colleges. Neither of these things happened when I was in office, but a
number of Gem State Surveyor articles showed up in other newsletters. A
couple of our authors are now international, having been reprinted in
Canadian journals. The president who followed me saw the establishment of
a scholarship fund, starting out with one scholarship to a student at
Idaho State University in Pocatello. From this modest beginning, the fund
has grown to sponsor two at ISU – one in the four year geomatics
bachelor’s degree program and one in associate’s degree in technology, as
well as an additional scholarship for a student in one of the other Idaho
institutions. So far, the third scholarship has been awarded to students
at Lewis and Clark State College in Lewiston. This year the board approved
money for three more scholarships to be given to high school seniors who
will be attending the geomatics program.
The Golden Years?
After I retired from my long term job, I worked sporadically on free
lance CAD drafting for a few years. In 1999, the Executive Director of
ISPLS decided to concentrate on other interests and the president asked me
to take that position. Then I got to find out what state societies really
do. Once again it has been a great learning experience and demands my best
efforts in fields outside my background. The positive side to counter my
lack of clerical and administrative experience is my long inside
involvement with the organization. Another state’s executive advised me to
“know the people and know the money”. I already knew the people and if I
live long enough, I might eventually know the money. I already know we
have more of it than we did when I started.
Meeting Those Lofty Goals
As executive director, my responsibilities include organizing or
assisting with the statewide activities:
- Maintaining the society’s office and records;
- Membership records
- Financial records and investment processes
- Ordering supplies
- Answering questions from the public about survey matters
- Providing information requested by members (too often having to
tell them I do NOT know of good field or office people looking for
- Quarterly board of directors meetings to conduct the business of the
- Annual convention featuring
- Exhibits of the latest in equipment and technology
- A variety of presentations, most of which qualify for continuing
- Awards to outstanding professionals
- Scholarship auction
- Guest activities
- Social events
- Quarterly newsletter
- Brochure for new members
- Brochure for public education
- Along with other ISPLS members, I have been appointed to the
Advisory Committees for both the Geomatics and Technology programs at
ISU. This committee evaluates the performance of the programs by
reviewing the curricula for effectiveness and tracking the employment
- Publicizing the scholarships offered and selecting the recipients.
- Organizing and carrying out special events to publicize the survey
community, such as:
- Center of population monumentation.
- Lewis & Clark Bicentennial celebrations and monumentation of trail
Benefits of Membership
So what does a member gain from joining the society besides a
certificate and a bumper sticker? From early in a surveyor’s career until
retirement and beyond, the contacts and friendships formed through the
organization offer an exchange of knowledge plus lifelong bonds with
esteemed peers. The society brings together surveyors from different age
ranges and varying backgrounds. Everyone benefits from the exchange
between vigorous youth with their adaptability and energy and seasoned
surveyors with their wealth of knowledge and practical experience.
Who benefits from the existence of the society besides the members and
the group itself? One of the stated reasons for professional licensure is
the protection of the public. By contact with other surveyors, an
individual practitioner is more likely to keep skills and knowledge up to
date than one who focuses only on his or her own firm and local projects.
Practically all surveyors in Idaho are extremely busy at present with
growth and development at a high level. It is a service to themselves, the
profession and the public that so many of the licensed surveyors take the
time to participate in their society as officers, board members, speakers
or at least attending the meetings for the exchange of ideas and
knowledge. Besides, they have fun when they get together.
By Loyce Smith, USA, Executive Director of the Idaho Society of
Professional Land Surveyors
Editor: Chair of the Joint Commission Working Group
on Under-represented Groups in Surveying
Ms. Gabriele Dasse,
Kleinfeld 22 a, D-21149
3/06, month of issue:
© Copyright 2006 Gabriele Dasse.
Permission is granted to photocopy in limited quantity for educational
Other requests to photocopy or otherwise reproduce material
in this newsletter should be addressed to the Editor.