It sounds as if you and I began in surveying at about the same time. I began helping my father, an engineer and land surveyor in 1964. In the 80s, I headed up one of the first two GPS crews using the first GPS receiver, the Macrometer. I have been in surveying, GPS and GIS ever since.
And I could not agree more with your article. I have just left a company where I led the team that collected, processed and reported GPS ground control positions around the world. This control was used to ortho-rectify the satellite imagery that populates Google's Earth product. What a splash that has made. My team and I completed this work in Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, VietNam, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, UK, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Columbia, Panama, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Algeria, South Africa, India, Ecuador, Madagascar, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States.
I organized partnerships with surveying and geospatial firms in all of those countries and more.
I was most recently working on such arrangements in China and Russia.
During the work I was constantly cajoling the company to make the most of the international market that I was opening, they had not been working internationally before I came on board. In fact, one of the motivators for bringing me on was the fact that they had a crew locked up in Abu Dhabi in their first attempt to do work overseas. Obviously they needed help. While I was able to rectify those problems and we carried the remainder of the contract off without such incidents, they would not actually make the effort to build on the relationships I established around the world. I mean I was corresponding in several languages, dealing with various government entities, universities and making phone calls in the middle of the night to places halfway around the world. And my email was active to say the least. It was exhilirating and it was also frustrating, what an opportuinity missed.
The work would be done in an area and they would have left without any more contact. Well, I continued to maintain correspondance on my own anyway. As a matter of fact I just yesterday got a request from UlanBaatar in Mongolia, from my partner there, to travel there and give a seminar on my GPS book. He would also like to have help on a book he is preparing on GPS in the Mongolian language. There are numerous instances of similar feedback on my international list of friends, it is great. And it underlines the truth of what you are saying.
So back to your point, you could not be more correct, the international market in geospatial, GIS etc is enormous. If it would only be recognized. For example, The company I worked with worked through the contract and then business fell off for them, in my opinion because they did not follow up on the inroads already in place. So I am now looking for my next opportunity. As I do I am keeping my eyes open for people who see the potential that is out there.
Thank you for writing the article, it really struck a chord with me. If there is anything I can do to assist you in building your international presence please do not hesistate to call or write.
Jan Van Sickle
GPS and GIS
Edited by ibsystems on 05/23/06 02:44 PM.