PLSO The Oregon Surveyor January/February 2022

27 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | Featured Article Burch’s vision for the NSPS is to address “the elephant in the room” of the aging of the profession and the lack of new surveyors joining. Within the next 10 years, Burch surmises that 35 to 50% of the licensed surveyors will have retired or left the profession one way or another. Maintaining fair—not too easy—pathways to licensure will help with finding replacements, but there’s got to be a big outreach push along with that. “I thinkwe’ve got to tailor ourmessage to the younger generation that this is a technologically advanced and very fulfilling career,” says Burch. “A lot of the things that we use in surveying now, they’re probably already using, such as GPS in their smartphone.” Burch says parents may not be pleased to hear him talk about gaming, but when kids are using VR they are using geospatial skills that are crucial to surveying. “That’s our next group of pilots for our UAVs or our self-driving topographic boats,” says Burch. “A lot of these kids are setting themselves up for a fantastic geospatial career, but nobody’s telling them that, and we need to be able to do that.” “We have to tailor our message nationwide,” Burch says. “And that’s why I intend to have the national society work with all of the state affiliates to tailor that message to the younger generation about all of the fantastic things in the profession that they’re already laying the foundation for in their studies, in their play, in their hobbies.” Another facet of the message is to reach beyond thewhitemales that stereotypically have done surveying tasks. “We need to reach all genders, all races, any nationality,” says Burch. “There are so many opportunities especially for people who can look at a screen and look at a point cloud in three dimensions and see what those points represent.” Burch acknowledges that there are challenges, but overall says the future of surveying is bright, thanks in part to technology that continues to emerge. “The one thing I want to drive home is that surveying can be a career opportunity for anyone,” Burch says. “Anybody can do this job if they have an interest in math, in history, in puzzles and problem solving, and just being a part of the creation of something. With this changing world and the infrastructure and such, I think the future’s wide open.” x Tim Burch gives his presentation on “NSPS, National Surveying Advocacy, and The Future of Surveying” at the 2022 PLSO Conference.