"The Value of Licensure" Q&A with President, David O'Brien
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
Eight Licensed Surveyors Ready to Serve You
At SurvTech Solutions, we currently have eight Professional Surveyor & Mappers on staff as recognized by the State of Florida. Yes, you read that correctly. Eight! The best part is, they all climbed the ladder from surveyor in training to professional surveyor and mappers!
In addition to the eight licenses currently held in the State of Florida, SurvTech’s surveyors also carry multiple out-of-state Professional Surveying licenses in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and most recently, New York!
Licensed Surveying Benefits
David O’Brien, President of SurvTech Solutions, as well as a Certified Federal Surveyor, shares his insight as to why he believes Professional Licensure is not only a valued commodity to a geospatial firm but its an important benefit that the public and our clients receive from our licensed surveyors. Check out our Q and A Session with Mr. O'Brien!
Q: Is there a benefit to SurvTech to have 8 PSM’s (Professional Survey and Mappers) on staff?
A: Yes! Every one of them has different experiences, areas of expertise, historical knowledge, common law & colonial states vs PLSS, etc. All of these traits put together are great especially when they are mentoring the professional development of younger PSMs.
Q: Why is professional licensure important to not only SurvTech but why is it important for the public and clients?
A: Being a business owner, I’m very much a “free market” person, but when it comes to performing surveying and mapping, there is an inherent problem with it being a completely “free market”. When purchasing surveying and mapping services a client is relying on the expertise and knowledge of the surveyor, and the average client does not have a method for checking the accuracy of the survey work. So, they are relying on the surveyor, the “professional” to provide accurate work that meets their project’s requirements. On many occasions when mistakes are made, or work is subpar, it’s not caught for months or even years, and it’s typically found by another professional surveyor. This fact is especially true on boundary surveys, where actual damage from a boundary dispute or building on your neighbor’s property might not get caught for decades. So, professional licensure is the first line of defense in protecting the public.
Q: What surveying licenses and experiences make SurvTech different compared to other firms?
A: SurvTech’s focus is surveying and mapping. Our staff performs every type of surveying and mapping that is available today! Our professional surveyors are overseeing and reviewing traditional land surveying, construction layout, hydrographic surveying, subsurface utility mapping, aerial mapping from UAVs and airplanes (LiDAR and Imagery), terrestrial and mobile mapping, metrology, geophysical mapping, and GIS. They are not pigeonholed into one select surveying service. Instead, they gain a wide breadth of knowledge across the entire geospatial realm.
Q: In Florida, the legislature is discussing removing all education requirements for Surveying & Mapping licensure. What are your thoughts on Senate Bill 1342, and House Bill 821? Do you think this will have an impact on the public?
A: Being a business owner and “free market” guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the legislation to make surveying and mapping unlicensed. The fact is that our profession is being intruded upon more and more daily. Individuals with no formal education or experience are purchasing terrestrial LiDAR, UAVs, and GPS, and an unlicensed salesman teaches them how to use the equipment. Sometimes the post-processing is not even performed by them, it’s performed on the cloud as a service from the manufacturer. This creates the problem of no professional oversight. The person providing the services doesn’t understand datums and mapping planes. It becomes a “black box” situation, where they don’t understand the processing and how the data is obtained. They have no way of knowing the overall accuracy or precision of the data. I’ve sat in many conferences and listed to individuals making misleading statements about mapping. The individuals making the statements don’t understand accuracy, precision, and other key components of quality surveying and mapping data. The result of removing professional oversight from land surveying would be erroneous work that would silently compound for years or even decades before being found. Once found, those errors would produce expensive legal battles over property rights, and elevation datums, and in the end a professional surveyor would have to be hired as an expert witness to help sort out who was right, and who was wrong.
Q: SurvTech’s mission statement is “to better the lives of our employees, who in return make the difference for our clients!” With that said, are there more employees at SurvTech working towards licensure in Florida and other states? And if so, what does the future hold for SurvTech?
A: The main reason SurvTech is successful is our people and our ownership’s commitment to our people. To produce quality and consistent work, you need to have longevity in your staff. SurvTech’s ownership is constantly enabling our people to become licensed professional surveyors. We support education, through tuition reimbursement. We support licensure through exam fees and travel cost reimbursement. At the end of the day, we want our people to be better off, and that will make SurvTech better off. Becoming a licensed professional means something. It means you’ve achieved the right to call yourself a professional and be viewed as reaching the top of your profession. This is a worthy goal that should not be stripped away from young men and women entering the surveying profession.