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Great Basin College Student Chapter Brings Home Honors
in National Surveying Competition

Elko Nevada - Several students from Great Basin College’s (GBC) professional surveying organization and their advisor, Surveying and Geomatics Instructor Byron Calkins, recently traveled to Arlington Virginia, to participate in the 2016 National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) annual student surveying competition on March 14 and 15. The GBC team took second place honors.

The topic for this year’s competition was to perform a large scale boundary/topographic survey, produce a project binder (containing the project documentation), a map, and an oral presentation. These four elements were judged based on a rubric measuring the cohesiveness of an applied, professional, practice based, scientific research project. The ability to present, explain and, at times, defend the rationale behind the survey is a critical skill for professional surveyors. The oral presentation provided students the opportunity to develop and refine their communication skill sets, practice working in groups, and demonstrate sound reasoning and findings in a professional setting.

Teams from across the country competed in two divisions, one for baccalaureate degree programs, and a separate division for associate degree programs. GBC competed in the baccalaureate degree division along with New Mexico State University, Fresno State University, Kennesaw State University, St. Cloud State University, University of Akron, and NJ Institute of Technology.

The 2016 NSPS baccalaureate division winners were
1. University of Akron (First Place)
2. Great Basin College (Second Place)
3. Kennesaw State University (Third Place)

In addition to the national student competition and professional fellowship, the trip included an exhibit hall, a mock trial and educational sessions related to the new technical requirements for surveying under the American Land Title Association/National Society of Professional Surveyors that take effect in 2016. Students also had the opportunity to engage with members of their state society in a visit to the U.S. Capitol for meetings with legislators and their staff members.

Planning and fundraising for the NSPS event has been ongoing since September 2015. Our student team members Jennifer Jones (NC), Alexandra Reid (NV), Gus Porter (ID), Sarah Walker (CA), Michael Andreozzi (NV), and Marcus Beagley (ID), would like to thank the GBC Student Government, NV Association of Land Surveyors, NV Association of Land Surveyors Great Basin Chapter, NV Association of Land Surveyors Lahoton Chapter, Monsen Engineering, John and Gloria Parrish, Alidade Inc, Dioptra LLC, Aspen Engineers, Compass Land Surveying, Bonneville BluePrint, and Paradise Excavation for their generous donations.

The student professional organization known as NSPS NALS Great Basin College Silver State Student Surveyors Chapter, is a chartered organization of the National Society of Professional Surveyors, the Nevada Association of Land Surveyors, and Great Basin College.

Program Mission Statement
The Land Surveying and Geomatics program (LSG) is committed to addressing the disparate and constantly changing needs of students - throughout Nevada and beyond - who are preparing for a geomatics career. Great Basin aims to deliver a high quality and relevant educational experience that prepares LSG students for professional success.

Online Land Surveying/Geomatics Degree Program
The online land surveying/geomatics bachelor degree program of applied science was co-developed by Great Basin College (GBC) and the Nevada Association of Land Surveyor’s Advisory Committee. The land surveying/geomatics program was implemented in response to the growing need for licensed professional surveyors in Nevada to capture, store, process, and manage spatial data. The four-year bachelor’s degree program in land surveying/geomatics has served Nevada students and distance learners from around the country effectively since its inception in 2005. The land surveying/geomatics program model is ideally structured for students who are employed (or seeking employment) in a surveying or geospatial related profession that require the flexibility and accessibility to coursework delivered outside the typical undergraduate learning environment.

Land Surveying/Geomatics Program Objectives
Graduates with a BAS with an emphasis in land surveying/geomatics will be able to:

• Proficiently apply sound measurement methods, mathematics, science, and surveying tools to collect, analyze, and edit spatial information in professional applications.
• Develop a sound background in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts, to function in multicultural and diverse environments.
• Provide fundamentals in business management to enable graduates to understand business environments and decision-making processes.
• Convey spatial information in graphical, textual, and verbal forms as an individual or as a collaborating member of a professional team.
• Prepare to take and pass the Fundamentals of Land Surveying examination developed by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
• Satisfy the educational requirements for licensure required by NRS.625.270 as a professional Land Surveyor in Nevada and recognize the benefit of life-long learning by participating in continuing education as students or as instructors.

Online Land Surveying/Geomatics Program Instruction
The web-based curriculum for the surveying/geomatics bachelor of applied science degree delivers complete online instruction in land surveying, mapping, GIS for surveyors, least squares adjustment, photogrammetry and remote sensing techniques, the public land survey system, legal descriptions, geodetic and GPS surveying, construction surveying, mine surveying, advanced boundary analysis, and a land surveying/geomatics capstone project. Students engage in various activities designed to collect and analyze spatial data using surveying tools, multiple software packages, and data management techniques including: total stations, levels, satellite imagery, and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) data. Specific software packages that are used in the instruction include; Carlson Survey, Trimble Business Center, ArcInfo, and Mathcad. Our learners also study advanced topics in the United States Public Land Survey System, as well as the legal principles related to land surveying. In addition, the learner produces engineering-related surveying/geomatic projects to prepare maps, plots, and plans depicting boundary, topography, ground control, flight lines, and control network designs. Using high-precision optical and electromechanical instruments and global positioning data from satellites, the students are responsible for interpreting and formulating the spatial information and then calculating precise and accurate geospatial solutions.

Land Surveying/Geomatics Program Mentors
The applied science land surveying/geomatics program coordinates with surveying and geomatic mentors (who must be licensed in the United States, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean, or a state/provincial/federal license that meets the minimum education requirements or alternative credentials under appendix 1603.D.1 of the North American Free Trade Agreement) to assist qualified students gain the laboratory portion of their classical survey fundamentals. Laboratory fieldwork in classical survey fundamentals (delivered in the two lower division survey courses) is required to gain a four-year baccalaureate degree in land surveying/geomatics. Additional information about the surveying mentoring program or laboratories and field courses offered at Great Basin College can be addressed by contacting the land surveying/geomatics program advisor.

Land Surveying/Geomatics Program Capstone
The land surveying/geomatics capstone course is designed to exhibit the application of program and course objectives in which the student develops a successful surveying/geomatics project involving, but not limited to, boundary surveying, mortgage surveys, topographic surveying, construction surveying, hydrographic and bathymetric surveys, deformation surveys, site plan surveys, as-built surveys, ALTA/ACSM surveys, underground surveying, wetland delineation surveys, flood elevation surveys, telecommunication surveys, ariel surveys, geodetic surveying, and sub-surface surveys.

Online Land Surveying/Geomatics Associate of Science Degree
The online Land Surveying/Geomatics (LSG) Associate of Science degree program is designed to matriculate traditional and non-traditional learners, who have limited post-secondary education, directly into a professional degree-seeking program of study. The Associate of Science in Land Surveying and Geomatics prepares the student for entry-level positions in surveying/mapping, civil engineering, resource management, and mining; as well as diverse technical opportunities within federal, state, and local government agencies. In addition to gaining technical employment, the program is also intended to provide a seamless pathway into the Bachelor of Applied Science’s (BAS) Land Surveying and Geomatics program.

Program Objectives
• Proficiently apply sound measurement methods, mathematics, science, and surveying tools to collect, analyze, edit, and present spatial information in professional applications.
• Demonstrate competency in the fundamentals and applications of land surveying, and the acquisition and management of spatial data.
• Prepare graduates for the Land Surveying/Geomatics Bachelor of Applied Science program or technical geospatial employment.

Silver State Land Surveying/Geomatics NSPS-NALS Student Chapter
This organization is formed for the betterment of students at Great Basin College of the Nevada State Higher Education System. The chapter is open to any student enrolled through Great Basin College. Activities in the organization include: fundraising, community and campus service projects, and activities for the enjoyment of its members and the students of the Great Basin College and as such provides access for students to Statewide and National professional activities.

Land Surveying/Geomatics Program Accreditation
The land surveying/geomatics bachelors program has been accepted to meet the educational requirements for licensure in Nevada and many other states. The potential student must check with the licensure board of your state to verify that the GBC online land surveying/geomatics baccalaureate degree program will meet the educational requirement for licensure. This program may not fulfill all licensure requirements in every state.

Land Surveying/Geomatics Careers
Surveying is the art and science of measuring the physical features of the earth using specialized equipment and procedures to obtain results that meet the specifications of clients. Career opportunities in surveying are available with firms engaged in surveying/mapping, civil engineering, resource management, mining and others; as well as diverse opportunities within the federal, state, and local government agencies. Specific job titles may include: City Planner, Wetlands Delineation and Resource Management Specialist, Flood Plain Manager, Construction Surveyor, Department of Transportation Surveyor, Mining Surveyor, Onshore/Offshore oil and gas extraction and exploration Surveyor, Certified Photogrammetrist, Certified Geodesist , Geospatial Analyst, Advanced Imaging and Mapping Specialist, Computer Aided Drafting Professional, US Forest Service Surveyor, Bureau of Land Management Surveyor, and a National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Analyst.

Land Surveying/Geomatics Program
Great Basin College
1500 College Parkway, HTC 130
Elko, Nevada (USA) 89801
Phone: (775) 753-2344


Program logo graphic.

  • Solo Notes: Soon-to-be-Surveyor and GBC graduate

  • POB: What are you most looking forward to? PORTER: College has been a part of my night and weekend life for many years now. I’m really looking forward to receiving my bachelor’s degree, getting my license and being able to stamp that first survey. I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a glorious day. POB: What areas of the profession are you least enthusiastic about? PORTER: I’ve been pondering this question for days and haven’t come up with anything. POB: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently to prepare for a career in surveying? PORTER: I would have tried to take some college courses in high school to expedite my degree process. POB: What advice do you have for others considering this as a career path? PORTER: I would advise people to seriously consider this profession for themselves. Sure, sometimes the fan mail is hard to keep up on, but it’s so worth it. This career is so multi-faceted that you can find opportunities to fit almost anyone. There are large firms, small firms, you can work outside, inside, or both. It seems to be a rare occupation that can offer so many different ways to challenge a person each day.

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For More Information, Contact

Byron Calkins: Program Advisor (775) 753-2344, byron.calkins(a)

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