orange-big.pngI caught Curt Sumner’s Radio hour yesterday morning [to be pointed HERE]. On his show, Curt conversed with Guest Lisa Isom – the exclusive agent for the NSPS’ Assurance Risk Managers, Inc. See HERE.

The show was dedicated to a conversation about cyber-risk. I was able to get through the beginning of the program when a client knocked on my door causing unavoidable interuption.

Eventhough, I did learn that cyber-risk and cyber-crime exist. To wit, I did hear the story about Lisa taking the trip to Nashville and someone on her Southwest, WI-Fi enabled flight having had stolen her credit card info and the misuse in Brooklyn which followed.

At one point Curt asked if Lisa was aware of any surveyors topographical data having been stolen. Lisa indicated no and a discussion about how insurance companies identify risk through claims, then seek to create a “cover” with (ostensibly) the various state commissioners in which they do business, and then seek to offer protection for that particular risk. 

I would like to back up to the question of whether or not anyone had ever stolen topographical data. My sense is that this theft hasn’t ever occurred because the concept of topographical data as having independent value may not have been fully explored.

It would seem that what really is at issue is whether or not the law has sufficiently defined the rights, responsibilities, duties, and immunities surrounding data collection and interception. 

Is Google Earth street-view a misappropriated interception of data? How about the data Amazon may be amassing to understand how to navigate the drones it plans to deploy? Unless there is an ‘army of people in place anticipating future risks’ – as Curt indicated – we might find that the destructive component of “destructive technologies” is what our world increasingly finds stressed in that phrase. 

So who will play the role of taking a moment to attempt to divine what might be future risks. I hope that there are a number of you out there. I’ll start with a few concerns and hopefully I can get surveyors and others to add on thoughtful comment as we go forward.

  • What happens if drones are allowed to render three dimensional recreations of our houses. Wouldn’t that leave them exposed or will there be so many “eyes in the sky” that burglary and robbery will be eliminated?
  • What happens if data is not currently vetted and Google cars end up sending people down streets or worse bridges which are inaccurate? [As an aside the BBC created a fascinating 6 part series of which episodes 5 and 6 are devoted to Maps and Ethics the later asking what should occur if the driver of a car is faced with the challenge of choosing between hitting a child or hitting the wall likely killing either child or self. Now returning …]
  • And of course in my line, what happens if a neighbor is somehow able to steal the data of a surveyor and then use that to his or her advantage in a land dispute. Or is it more likely that the data has become fully debundled from the surveyor. If so, will some surveyors become more artisan with respect to their maps? 

Though I have just tried to come up with some concerns, I believe the survey profession actually has an extremely bright future ahead. My understanding is about half the time a survey crew goes out on an assignment – at least here in Seattle – the crew finds potential encroachments. This means that there are likely several boundary issues which technology will now relatively quickly identify.

Unfortunately, at present we have a serious problem in that the cost of resolving those problems through redress to courts is prohibitively expensive. The result is at least with respect to this opportunity for surveyors is a suppression of it and that mans surveyors have less opportunity to grow their business and the profession overall.

What to do? I’m in the process of working on helping people get technology into the legal arena so things will be properly alligned.

When that happens not only will my well come in but so will surveyors. That said, there will be no need to act like James Dean did after he struck oil in the movie Giant [HERE]. That would be undignified. Instead, enjoy the weather. 

I hope to see some of you at the Joint Chapter Meeting of North and South Puget Sound LSAW members tomorrow evening at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. If the weather continues on like this, it will be not only a great memorial day weekend, but a great summer ahead. Cheers!orange-small.png