Staff asked to assist state board with new definition of land surveying

Kentucky needs a new definition for the practice of land surveying—one that will distinguish between highly-accurate GIS maps and the technical products produced by licensed land surveyors. PDS staff members Trisha Brush, GISP, GIS director, and Steve Lilly, PLS, GISP, Surveying Analyst, were members of a taskforce charged with crafting that new definition.

B. David Cox, Executive Director for the Kentucky Board of Licensure explains the issue. “Modern GIS, GPS, and mapping technologies have dramatically increased the ability of non-surveyors to create a multitude of maps for a multitude of purposes. Some states have recently addressed the issue including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Their approach was basically to bring mapping professionals into surveying licensure, including a "grandfathering" period and attempt to license all as surveyors.”

The decision to rewrite the definition as opposed to including mapping professionals into surveying licensure was made because of the inherent differences of the two professions. Even though there are many similarities between the two professions, the final work product and what it represents are entirely different. It was this final work product for each profession that would lead to this new definition.

The committee from Kentucky’s Board of Licensure requested members of the Kentucky Association of Surveyors (KAPS) and the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) to assist with the new definition. Brush and Lilly were selected since both are GIS Professionals who hold the GISP certification and both are involved in KAPS and KAMP. Lilly also holds a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) license in Kentucky.

“This effort was important to both professions,” said Lilly. “The new definition—however it’s finally crafted—will help the public understand our different roles better and that’s something that benefits everyone.”

Members of the taskforce from the State Board, KAPS, and KAMP developed a definition that they recommended to the Legislative Research Commission (LRC). The LRC will utilize the recommendation to create a new regulation in 201 KAR 18:150.

The new definition will probably become effective later this year.