Our Key Takeaways from the 2020 PLSO Annual Conference

The Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio Inc. was incorporated in 1972, and is among the top five largest and most active statewide land surveying associations in the country. The PLSO’s more than 1,000 members include professional surveyors, surveyor interns, certified survey technicians and others who work in the industry, students; and companies engaged in supplying the surveying profession. 

As a professional organization, the PLSO was formed to promote the advancement of professional surveying, promote educational programs for the advancement of those in the profession, and promote cooperation among the profession. Central to these goals is the PLSO’s Annual Conference, held in Columbus, Ohio, February 19- 22, 2020. 

At the conference, PLSO introduced a new set of board members for 2020: 

  • President – Terry Wright
  • President-Elect – Rich Fredrickson
  • Secretary – Paul Couch
  • Treasure – Jared Akins
  • NSPS Governor – Tom Silva
  • Immediate Past President – Tom Silva

A few highlights of this year’s conference include: 

ODOT Survey & Mapping Specification Updates – Provided an update on rules for survey and mapping specifications for projects performed for the Ohio Department of Transportation. The presentation also went into changes made to the descriptions of the Types of Surveys, including Control and Mapping Surveys.

Big news was announced, as ODOT prepares for a statewide proposal coming in 2020. The state of Ohio is currently broken up into two zones for surveying North (Columbus to the lake) and South (Columbus to the river). The new proposal would remove the two-zone model and instead put in place 88 zones (one per county). The state of Indiana has been using this system with high success for years and most surveyors seem to be pretty excited about the idea as it simplifies a lot of aspects of surveying, though it does make it a little bit more complex with each county having their own system instead of the state just having two systems.

Prescriptive Easements Like You’ve Never Seen Them – Presented by Kristopher M. Kline, PLS, this session took a look at the sometimes confusing and contradicting case law associated with prescriptive easements in Ohio. The president of 2Point Inc. in Alexander, N.C., Kline teaches several classes on boundary retracement and is the author of a number of books on the subject.

Geodesy 101 – This was a joint presentation by Jeff Jalbrzikowski, the Regional Geodetic Advisor for Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania for the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) and Ray Foos, ODOT Survey Operations Manager/UAS Program Manager, and Dave Beiter, ODOT’s VRS Support, Aerial Archive Program Manager and GIS Manager. Topics covered included an overview of NGS and its products and services, a discussion of the difference between Datums and Reference Frames, how the NGS is relevant to today’s surveyor, and much (much!) more.

Power, Water and Sewer  – Understanding Utility Easements –  Kristopher M. Kline, PLS returned to the stage to discuss power, water and sewer utility easements. His presentation touched on a variety of subjects related to utility easements, including characteristics of these types of easements, relocation of easements, practical location, and relevant case law associated with them. 

Survey Task Force Recommendations and Updates – A joint initiative with the State  Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors and the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio. The focus of the task force is to identify areas within the surveying profession that can be improved in terms of its definition, public knowledge and perception, and the education of future surveyors, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of qualified licensed surveyors in Ohio. 

Finally, we attended the Professional Ethics for Surveyors – Presented by John Greenhalge the Executive Director of the Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. John walked through the surveying code and talked about how it is the responsibility of the surveyor to report anything that might be in question to the state. He also explained several examples of investigations that they have conducted over the past two years. Ultimately, ethics and public safety are the core responsibility of a surveyor and discussed ways in which a surveyor can be more helpful to the public.

We’ll see you in the Fall, PLSO! 


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