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On Being a News Maker

Surveying is not dead and you are the proof.

I happen to believe that surveyors need to know what is going on in the minds of other surveyors.  For far too long, the media and publications surrounding surveying (although not all intentionally) have done a great disservice to the everyday surveyor by placing everyone at opposite ends of the field. One day I just decided that this could not continue. I became hellbent on the idea that if we restructured the agenda of support and open the channels of communication, we could change and influence the future of an industry that a lot of executives would love to just have disappear. Proof of this can be realized when you consider just how many surveying publications refuse to mention us. They are afraid because we are the future of Surveying Media.  Land Surveyors United is, as we all know by now, a hub for all things surveying related.  This means there will be at any given moment Surveying News pouring into LSU through various channels, engaged by our members and then poured back out into the world wide web as Surveyor's News.  Your participation on the network in the form of group discussions, photos, videos, comments and sharing with others, no matter how deep or shallow that may be, becomes news.  This is just one of the many ways that LSU is completely different than any other website related to surveying.  I do not and will not restrict the subject matter of your content, provided it is in some way shape or form related to land surveying.    When you consider your membership from this perspective you may realize just how empowering this can truly be for the everyday surveyor. You have no boundaries.  Your language barriers have been removed and your cultural differences embraced.  You have the opportunity to learn anything you like from one another without limits and with this option, you can become a News Maker.

 In future posts I plan to explain in depth various ways to gauge and monitor your influence using LSU as your portal, how to maximize exposure of your surveying business using your profile and how to help other surveyors become better at what they do with what you share, while learning from them in turn.  In this post I will attempt to outline 3 aspects of becoming a news maker.  First we'll look at the difference between LSU and traditional surveying media.  Then I'll discuss a few simple ways for keeping up with activity and staying engaged.  Finally I'll touch on a few ways to further spread your contribution to the surveying industry outside of the LSU network.  Lets begin.

Ways To Consume and Respond to Surveying News

road sign

By now the majority of us are fully aware of how historically news in the land surveying industry has been made and distributed-most often involving lengthy descriptions of equipment specs that, if we were interested could find on the back of any product brochure- Usually crowded by advertisements of the latest robot, collector or device and not often enough written from the point of view of an actual land surveyor.  Therefore, in the past land surveying related news has been less helpful than we hoped it would be, bland, and void of true voice.  Yet with no comparison, how would anyone ever know the difference?  This is not just my opinion but a general consensus that I have received over years of discussing the subject with actual surveyors. These days, all of this has changed.  Land Surveyors United is of course the forerunner for providing a place for the common everyday surveyor to actually become the news, for those who are just catching on. But how do we keep up with all of this streaming data and syndicated information?  Much less find a place to jump in and create something to share?   Participation on LSU is of course not surveying, but it has become one of the best places to discuss the theoretical perspectives of the who, what, when, why and how surveying can be performed. As time goes on, it will become the place on the web for a surveyor to go and use when he/she is not doing actual surveying. Here are a few ways to stay on top of hot topic in the network.



The Official Land Surveyors Toolbar [find it here]

portable surveyors social networkThis is the all around best solution for keeping track of everything which gets shared and discussed on Land Surveyors United in real-time, right from any browser.  Just install it and it does all of the work of importing and presenting the latest content on the network. Even when you are not logged on to the network, you can see the latest happenings on LSU right from this browser toolbar extension.  Then simply jump in when you have something to comment or suggest. In the meatime, get all of your weather, tasks, mapping and online tasks accomplished easier and faster with this toolbar.

Joining Groups Based on a Topic or Location

When you join a Support Group on LSU, you are immediately on your way to customizing your own unique support network based on your general (or specific) location, a topic which you are passionate about or a type of equipment which you are either learning or have already mastered.  Your profile and network becomes more diversified and your influence grows according to your particular level of participation.  Everyone on LSU will have a unique combination of groups in which they belong and support.  "Support" in this sense involves the active willingness to add your opinion or perspective to a particular discussion related to a particular topic.  No matter what your perspective may be, the act of adding it to any discussion on LSU increases the likelihood of more participation from your fellow surveyors.  When new activity occurs within your groups, you receive notification via email and thus LSU gives you the "heads up" for another opportunity to voice your take on the subject.  The same occurs when you start a new discussion within a group- your fellow members within that group get notification of a new opportunity to go deeper with their opinions on said topic.  This is how we change this industry and the eliminate privatization of vital information which can harm a surveyor or even threaten ones job security.  Basically, sharing what you know best in land surveying, if done fairly regularly or often, can actually become a form of job security on Land Surveyors United.  This network gives surveyors the ability to become not only an authority on a subject, but perhaps even create a bit of fame in years to come due to consistent contribution to a specialized arena within the industry.  Very few companies will ever fire an industry expert.  If you put enough of your spare time into this network, you will become that expert.  So in effect, think about what you always considered to be job security, and flip it inside out.

If you're interested in ways that you can contribute what you know, here is a good article to start with.


Land Surveyors United Mobile Version

Mobile Version of Land Surveyors UnitedYou can always keep up with the latest news from any mobile phone simply by pointing your mobile web browser to http://landsurveyorsunited.com/m   This version is compatible with any mobile device with web access.  We also have an Android / Iphone app and fully location aware mobile version of the entire network which is still in the final stages of development.  For those of you who are interested in this alternate mobile version (which will eventually become the default mobile network), please consider making a small donation to the network as it could be brought to a point of completion much sooner with a little bit of financial support from the community.



Our Two New Ways for Staying On Top of the Latest Activities

Make This Netvibes Page Your Home Page

LSU activity HubI have created this handy one page site on netvibes which has all of the latest posts, photos, videos, discussions and happenings on LSU all in the same place.   On this page you can see everything that is occurring across the surveying globe right in one place.  By switching tabs you have access to helpful tools for Surveyors online (many which also come with the toolbar) such as weather, mapping, to-do lists, communication, email, etc.  Simply visit this page and set it as your browser homepage if you like.  From then on you will have a dynamically updated source of information and tools everytime you open your browser.  In any case, you might like to bookmark it for quick reference.  It will change and become even more useful as time goes on.


A One Page Surveying News Wall

In another experiment, I made a one page LSU News Wall, which dynamically displays the latest activity in all categories all in one place.  This may be better for sharing with your fellow surveying friends which aren't yet members on Land Surveyors United.  Attached to this page is a simple introduction mini-site which explains many of the various aspects, goals and features on our network.  Feel free to pass it on or even send me suggestions on things that you think should be added to it.  Like I said, an experiment of exposure.




Ways to Become the Surveying News 


How Do You Become the News Maker?

Lets learn by example.  Put simply, I have engineered every aspect of Land Surveyors United to the best of my advancing ability in such a way that every single surveying related thought that crosses your mind becomes both news and an opportunity to support someone in a similar situation at some time in the future. Simply updating your profile status from the main page or on your profile page and letting us know the type of work you're doing from day to day will give other surveyors a better idea of the type of surveyor you are and what you specialize in. This gives us a pretty good idea of the types of questions other surveyors can look to you for support.  For example, if you came to LSU and searched for Mobile Mapper II, you'll get a stream of various posts and content shared with us by the ever knowledgeable Phil Stevenson of Oklahoma.  Phil was one of the very first members of LSU and his contributions on the Mobile Mapper subject are unparalleled.  For that reason, you could run the same or similar search on Google and find Phil's smiling face on the first page of results.  Why?  Because he has taken the time to share with us everything he knows and learns about Mobile Mappers.  In the future, his contributions are the news you will find about the subject when you search- most likely the news you were looking for. Ive joked with Phil in the past about this...Mr. Stevenson (a self proclaimed "dirt surveyor") will have to die before anyone will be able to become more of an authority on Mobile Mappers. And even then, they have a lot of work to do.  He didn't set out to become an authority, he just is the authority.


Do you use RSS feeds? Well Spread Your Activity Elsewhere Too

If you use RSS feeds on other sites such as your own, a facebook page, twitter etc. it is quite simple to actually syndicate your own activity and contributions to LSU by simply taking the feed URL for your profile and plug it in on another site.  For example, if you use netvibes (like the example service above in LSU Hub), you can add an RSS module to your own page and plug in one of the following addresses into the form where it asks you for a RSS feed.


For that matter, you can use the following URLs to RSS feeds on the network to share the entire network's activity in specific categories.


Don't worry if all of this geeky RSS stuff is over your head.  I am happy to prepare a primer for it if enough of you are interested.  The point I am getting at here is simple.  Your participation is the content from which news is made.  The more time and effort you put into crafting helpful topics, the farther your influence will spread.   I think that is probably quite enough to chew on for now.  I am interested in any thoughts or suggestions that you may have.   

Now become the News!


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GEO Ambassador

Justin Farrow... Creator of Land Surveyors United and Mobile Apps for Land Surveyors

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