Marc Cheves, LS
The American Surveyor Magazine

I started surveying in 1963 on a part-time, weekends and summer basis, doing oil and gas surveying in Oklahoma. After that I surveyed for the Oklahoma Highway Department on the new interstate highway system, and for the US Army in Germany. Upon returning from the Army, I surveyed haul roads for the US Forest Service in California. But for all these years, I never considered surveying as a career because it wasn’t challenging enough. In the late 1970s, technology hit surveying, and I realized that this new technology would keep me challenged for the rest of my life. At that point, I decided to make surveying my career. This technology included electronic distance measurement, electronic recording of field data, and computers and plotters for the processing and presentation of data (maps). Like so many technologies, the implementation of surveying technology has reduced the number of people required to do the work. But it has also dramatically reduced the amount of time necessary to do the work, and improved the quality of the work as well. Along the way, I became a licensed surveyor in four states.

In the late 1980s, I moved to the Washington DC area, became licensed in Maryland, and while working for a large engineering and surveying company, began writing about surveying technology for all three of the national surveying publications. In 1995, I became the editor of Professional Surveyor Magazine. My job as editor is ideal because I am able to not only promote the use of technology, but also publish articles that tell the world about our interesting and challenging profession. Surveying encompasses history, real estate law, science, physics, astronomy, math, and much more, both indoors and outdoors.

A young person starting out in surveying today can take many different paths through the geospatial industry. 15-20 states now require a college degree to become licensed, but many still allow an experience path. I believe that because of the technology, a college degree is very important, but depending on what kind of surveying is involved, is not mandatory. The future is very bright for young people wanting to get into surveying. They can work on the ground in land development, or they can follow a path in mapping, or they can work with satellites for both positioning and remote sensing. Truly, our profession is on the ground, in the air, and everything in between!

Marc Cheves, LS
Cheves Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701