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ACSM American Congress on Surveying and Mapping & NSPS

What is ACSM / NSPS?

ACSM and NSPS Logo links to former websiteThe American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) was formed as an international professional association in 1941 to represent the interests of those engaged in measuring and communicating spatial data relating to the Earth's surface. It was founded as a non-profit organization to enhance education, technical and professional development in surveying, mapping, and related fields. It supported educational programs and publications to those interests. Members came from private practice, government, and academia.

In 2004, the ASCM Member Organizations (MO), the American Association for Geodetic Surveying (AAGS), the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS), the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS) became independently incorporated non-profit entities, and along with the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), which incorporated as non-profit organization in 1990, became the controlling bodies of the organization through a “Congress” within which each organization had equal voting rights.

In 2012 ACSM was merged within NSPS and ceased to operate independently as ACSM. At that time AAGS and CaGIS decided not to remain within the organization and became independent entities, as had CaGIS a few years prior. NSPS continues to maintain the relationships and obligations with other organizations and entities that both it and ACSM had established through the years (including as the U.S. member country of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), as well as forging relationships with a growing number of other entities.

As a result of its joint membership program with 48 of the 50 state surveying societies (as of 11/ 02/ 17, Arkansas and California had yet begun to participate), the NSPS Board of Directors currently consists of Officers and a voting Director from each state society that participates in the joint membership program. NSPS Directors representing non-participating states are advisory members of the Board of Directors, as are the two delegates representing the State Executives Forum, and one delegate each from the NSPS Foundation, AAGS, the Young Surveyors Network, the Sustaining Members Council, Professional Surveyors Canada, and U.S. Territories Puerto Rico and Guam.

A current link to NSPS is
State Hubs and Forums for All 50 US States

What Does ACSM/NSPS Do?
ACSM/NSPS represents the surveying and mapping profession at the national level. The collective clout of our membership helps pave the way for legislation which in turn helps support the profession of surveying and mapping. Through annual conventions and workshops, we provide opportunities for continuing education and professional growth. Numerous publications in the way of technical journals and a bi-monthly magazine insure that members keep abreast of critical issues affecting the profession. Through the development of industry standards and certification programs for surveying and mapping technicians, ACSM/NSPS has set the trend nationally for growth in the profession. The ACSM/NSPS Legislative Committee has repeatedly achieved great results in Washington, D.C. ACSM/NSPS have represented our members, particularly well in support of the Brooks Act which governs the procurement of professional services by public agencies.

How Does ACSM/NSPS Work?
Each State society is asked to elect a representative from their State. Semi-annually the representatives from each State, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico, gather to conduct the business of ACSM/NSPS. The results of their efforts are passed on to the appropriate committees and to the Board of Directors of both ACSM and NSPS. Once items are acted upon they are implemented and begin to have a positive effect on the surveying and mapping profession.

Does My Membership Really Make a Difference?
Most definitely your support and membership helps to provide the clout needed to make a difference on Capitol Hill. It also helps us present a united front on the political scene both in Washington, D.C. and across the country.

Why Should I Become a Member Of ACSM?
Simply put, it is a matter of strength.

At a time when advances in technology, better educational opportunities, and public awareness are driving a number of professional practice areas toward a central core of activity, it is more important than ever to display a credible presence in the arena of the policies and standards which influence the way we work.

What if there were no ACSM/NSPS
We must ask ourselves the question "Who Will?"

If there is no ACSM to work hand in hand with the agencies from which come many of the criteria, standards, and opportunities associated with the services we provide, "Who Will?"

If there is no ACSM to provide assistance to ABET in accrediting the curricula necessary to meet the requirements for being allowed to serve the public through our profession, "Who Will?"

If there is no ACSM to provide liaison to the NCEES to assure that licensing laws correctly identify the definition of practice and the criteria for being allowed to provide services, "Who Will?"

If there is no ACSM to represent the interests and positions on issues of our members to other professional groups such as ALTA, FIG, ICA, and IRWA among others, "Who Will?"

If there is no ACSM to be recognized as the appropriate organization to negotiate NAFTA guidelines as they relate to our profession, "Who Will?"

The answer to these and other related questions is "SOMEONE ELSE". We probably won't like the way our profession is represented by "someone else". Although it is not always readily visible, the work of ACSM and its volunteer member participants is consistently at the forefront of issues which affect our future.

Without the strength and credibility attained through a robust membership base, ACSM will not continue to be the recognized voice of the surveying and mapping profession.

The issues that are today's topics of discussion will become tomorrow's laws and regulations. We cannot afford to let the influence of ACSM go silent.

How do I apply for ACSM membership?

Choose the appropriate Organization(s) to join in addition to ACSM, and read the criteria listed for each grade of membership. Then complete the reverse side of this form and send it to the address shown. Your application will be processed promptly.


  • ACA - American Cartographic Association
  • AAGS - American Association of Geodetic Surveying
  • NSPS - National Society of Professional Surveyors
  • GLIS -Geographic and Land, Information Society

ACA requirements

Full Member- Bachelor's or higher degree in field of Study that would qualify the person for a professional position in cartography or related fields, or four years of active professional experience in cartography or related fields.

Associate Member - Any person with an interest in geodetic surveying/cartography who is not eligible to be a Full Member.


AAGS requirements

Full Member- Bachelor's or higher degree in a discipline related to geodetic surveying or eight years experience. Up to four years of relevant education may be substituted for experience not consistent with other organization member requirements.

Associate Member - Any person with an interest in surveying/ccirtography who is not eligible to be a Full Member.


NSPS requirements

Full Member- [a] Any person licensed to practice the profession of surveying, according to state or provincial statutes; or [b], a GS-1373 employee classified as a Land Surveyor or Supervisory Land Surveyor; or [c] an academician holding a Bachelor's or higher degree and the rank of assistant professor or higher and teaching in an ABET or CAB accredited or state land surveying registration board approved surveying program; or [d] a practicing surveyor or a surveying teacher who has attained (1) a minimum of six years experience in responsible charge of surveying activities or (2) four years of education and two years of experience ma submit credentials for considerations.

Associate Member - Any person who by employment is actively engaged in a program leading to a career in the profession of surveying.


GLIS requirements

Anyone with an interest in geographic and land information systems is eligible for membership as an Full, Associate, or Student Member.


Student Membership requirements

Student Membership requirements in ACA, AAGS, NSPS or GLIS
-Any person pursuing a course of study as a graduate or undergraduate student 'on a full-time basis (as defined by the academic institution) leading to a career in geodetic surveying, geographic or land information systems, cartography, or surveying is eligible for Student Membership.



This notice is required by U.S. Postal Service regulations. Contributions or gifts to ACSM are not tax deductible as charitable. contributions.



The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) publishes a bi-monthly magazine, ACSM Bulletin, and two quarterly scholarly journals, Surveying and Land Information Systems and Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. In addition, ACSM offers a publications catalog of more than 100 titles, many from other publishers, offering a broad selection of the best books available on surveying, cartography, geodesy, geographic information systems, land information systems, and the Global Positioning System.

Membership does include subscriptions to:

  • Surveying and Land Information Systems 
  • ACSM Bulletin 
  • Cartography and Geographic Information Systems 

What ACSM Does

  • Monitors and influences Federal and State legislation for the surveying and mapping professions
  • Represents the professions in government policy making bodies such as the Federal Emergency Mapping Agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/ National Geodetic Survey (NGS), and Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). ACSM is recognized by many as the official representative of the surveying and cartographic professions in the U.S.
  • Represents the professions in such international forums as FIG and ICA
  • Promotes scientific progress within the professions by providing publishing opportunities in its peer-reviewed academic journals, Cartography and Geographic Science (CAGIS) and Surveying and Land Information Systems (SALIS)
  • Informs members of ACSM activities, new technology, and industry news through the ACSM Bulletin and the ACSM website.
  • Offers members of the profession peer networking, recognition, and continuing education opportunities during the annual spring and fall conference and exposition
  • Offers certification programs
  • Works with schools to attract young people to the professions
  • Supports geospatial education through scholarships, fellowships, and awards
  • Supports continuing education efforts through its book adoption program.

Member Benefits

  • A government affairs program that actively promotes and protects the interests of the surveying and mapping professions in the State and Federal legislative and regulatory arenas
  • Frequent government affairs newsletter updates are sent via email to all interested members
  • Continuing education programs and workshops
  • Registration discounts for ACSM Conventions
  • Discounts on ACSM's comprehensive book sales
  • Reduced rates for professional liability and group health insurance
  • ACSM Bulletin, a bimonthly magazine about surveying and mapping Subscription to Surveying and Land Information Systems for NSPS and AAGS members - Subscription to Cartography and Geographic Information Science for GLIS and CaGIS members
  • Fellowship and scholarship funding
  • Free publishing opportunities for career advancement
  • 401k and retirement plan discounts
  • ACSM MasterCard program offering special discounts and benefits
  • As an ACSM member you select a Member Organization to join based on your professional interests.

ACSM Member Organization Profiles and Objectives

The American Association For Geodetic Surveying (AAGS)


The membership of AAGS consists primarily of professionals qualified in the mathematical, physical, applied, or engineering sciences, with specialized interests in geodetic or precise plane surveys, geodesy, geophysics, satellite surveying, applied or radio astronomy, earth environmental or space physics, specialized precision measurements, and related adjustments and computations, the development of optical, electromagnetic, mechanical, pbotogrammetry, or other appropriate metrology.


  • Support the objectives of ACSM
  • Promote a better understanding of geodesy as a science
  • Promote geodetic surveys by individuals, government, and private organizations
  • Foster the adoption of uniform standards and procedures for completing geodetic surveys
  • Promote the processing, publishing, and disseminating of geodetic survey data and information
  • Promote programs for testing, calibrating, and evaluating geodetic equipment
  • Further the development and implementation of The Global Positioning System (GPS) for geodetic, land surveying, and land information system applications
  • Promote educational programs in geodesy, geodetic surveying, and related fields
  • Cooperate with other Member Organizations and committees of ACSM and other similar organizations, both national and international, in support of the science of geodesy
  • Encourage the use of geodetic surveys and mathematical coordinate systems in establishing Public Land Survey System (PLSS) corners.

Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CAGIS)


Full membership is open to anyone with a bachelor's or higher degree in cartography, GIS, or related fields, and to persons with four years if active professional experience in these areas. Associate membership is available to any person with an interest in cartography or GIS who is not qualified to be a full member.


  • Advocate and support activities that foster the development of new theories and technologies, and improve the production, management, and use of maps and geographic information
  • Promulgate and actively support the highest possible professional standards in occupations relating to cartography and geographic information science
  • Foster the establishment and adoption of cartographic data standards
  • Serve as the focal point for the U. S. participation in the International Cartographic Association and other appropriate international cartographic forums
  • Support the publication of Cartography and Geographic Information Science to ensure that it serves as the premier scholarly journal in the discipline
  • Promote a wide range of educational and training opportunities that enable its members to keep abreast of the state of the art in mapping and the use of geographic information
  • Stimulate the design of high-quality and innovative map products through competitions and other activities that recognize outstanding accomplishments
  • Encourage the creation and preservation of map collections.

Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS)


Persons qualified for a professional position in the field of geographic and land information sciences are welcome to apply for membership in GLIS.


  • Support the goals and objectives of ACSM
  • Represent the interests of the geographic and land information community in technical and policy issues
  • Monitor laws and regulations at both the state and federal level that affect the development or operation of geographic and land information systems
  • Cooperate with other ACSM Member Organizations and local, national, and international professional organizations in support of geographic and land information systems
  • Promotes the use of sound surveying and mapping principles in the development and use of geographic and land information systems
  • Foster the adoption of uniform standards, specifications, and procedures for the development and operation of geographic and land information systems
  • Promote educational programs in geographic and land information systems
  • Provide a forum for the publication of papers of interest to its members
  • Recognize individuals and organizations for service too actively promote cartography and geographic information activities as significant career options
  • Foster the proper and efficient use of maps and other forms of geographic information.

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS)


Membership is open to all professional surveyors and to persons trained, registered, or interested in the profession of surveying and mapping.


  • Advance the sciences and disciplines within the profession
  • Enhance the image of the surveying profession in the eyes of the public; build self-esteem and professionalism
  • Encourage cooperation between the public and private practices
  • Establish channels of communication with other ACSM Member Organizations and other societies and assist in the exchange of information on laws, education, professional practice, and other concerns; promote the profession through an active public relations program
  • Advance the protection of public welfare relative to surveying and mapping issues
  • Encourage high standards of ethical and professional behavior
  • Promote public faith and confidence in the profession
  • Support new practical methods of surveying; promoting good business practice
  • Monitor national and state laws and regulations
  • Encourage improved higher education curricula for surveyors
  • Honor persons for service to the public, the surveying profession, and the NSPS Foundation Inc
  • Support the bylaws, goals, and objectives of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.

NSPS Current Location:
5119 Pegasus Court Suite Q
Frederick, MD 21704
Phone: 240-439-4615 Fax:240-439-4952