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Are you a Professional?


The Governor of Arizona just signed into law several bills that originally would have stripped Landscape Architects and Geologists of their "professional" licensure by the State Board of Technical Registration. The laws as amended allow Landscape Architects to remain licensed and allows for "voluntary" licensure of Geologists.

Key in this discussion over professional status is the idea of protecting the public. Traditionally, a "profession" is one which somehow protects a fundamental need the public has by ensuring that only qualified and competent practitioners are allowed to practice.

Land Surveyors have a single unique qualification that raises them to professional status. They know how to locate real property - where it starts and where it stops. Lawyers and title experts can fight over WHO owns something, but only surveyors can tell you where it's located.

With that in mind, its incumbent for Surveyors to never grow weary in self examining their roles in creating and perpetuating land boundaries. When we "survey" there should never be a question afterwards about where a boundary was found or was created anew to exist. In parts of the ancient Roman world, agrimensores (professional surveyors) left monuments still found over two thousand years later. Biblical records relay that it was a crime to disturb a boundary stone. The brothers Gracchi (ca. 200 BC) instituted land reforms that included specialized arbitrators for land disputes. Are we really so different?

Wisdom is known by her children and modern surveyors will be remembered - for better or for worse - by how well they execute this professional duty that only they can really understand.


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