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It’s not often you go to a casino with the boys and return home without a headache or empty pockets.
Atlantic City is best known for its casinos, clubs, and wild parties, which can be fun. But do you know what’s a better time? Attending the 2020 New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors Conference!

Earlier this month, three of my co-workers and I had the opportunity to spend two days at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. I know what you’re thinking, “A bunch of surveyors in Atlantic city. That sounds like a recipe for disaster.” However, I can assure you, everyone was well behaved.

The conference was a good opportunity to meet other people in our field, see new technology, network, and share our experiences with one another. It’s always nice to see familiar faces, and I had the pleasure of speaking with someone I admire, John Cooke, from Civil Training, LLC.

John has been an AutoCAD instructor for over twenty years and was teaching the “Modern Survey Packages, Workflows and Applications with Civil 3D” class. As a draftsman, I had the privilege of attending his seminar at the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors’ conference in 2018 and saw his ability and knowledge of survey applications in AutoCAD. We had a brief discussion about upcoming improvements and events, such as the completion of the horizontal and vertical datum change coming in 2022– but that can wait for another newsletter.

This was the very first year that SurvCon (as the cool kids would call it), offered the chance to take the Certified Survey Technician (CST) Review Class and Exam (Levels 1, 2 & 3). Our employers here at Howell Kline Surveying recognized this as an opportunity and encouraged us to invest in our futures and become certified using the CST program.

The CST program was created in 1986 and implemented in 1988 with the partnership of the NSPS (National Society of Professional Surveyors), as a means to gauge the technical capabilities and general knowledge of a survey technician. The program has four levels of certification (I through IV). Each level is based on years of experience and followed by an examination. At level II the program separates into two main tracks, Field and Office. Each level is intended to test one’s knowledge of the past and present fundamentals of surveying, principles of the profession, field equipment & instruments, first aid, and survey computations. The NJSPLS believes that building a career track for technicians is critical to the future of the surveying profession.

Our team completed the exam consisting of the above skill areas, but we are still awaiting the results of our pen and paper tests. Pass or fail, we are all inspired to continue our education in the surveying field.

It’s human nature to become comfortable with one’s position in the workplace, but a simple nudge can help motivate us to strive for more. Our employers here at Howell Kline Surveying see the value of certified technicians in the surveying and mapping profession, and they have invested in our team to contribute the highest quality work to our field.