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          The primary issue is one of confusion. There is little problem   The standard is about measurements that are going to be
        of confusion between information in feet versus in meters – be-  published; it cannot change what has been and this “depreca-
        cause the disparity is obvious. Both the unit identifier and the  tion” will not erase the past. It will only create an uncountable
        difference in scale naturally lead to rapid clarification. When we  number of indefinite points of potential discrepancy – each of
        introduce a “new foot” into a well-regulated established body of  which will need to be checked. And someone will need to check
        geospatial information and ask all users forevermore to sort out  them – at a cost. And if we should fail, we will only further the
        the differences, what can be the result except for confusion?  stereotype that “no two surveyors can agree”. Of course, now we
        Where we stand now                                      will drag the whole burgeoning geospatial community with us.

                          The nIST advanced the proposal to “dep-  What you can do about it.
                         recate” the uS Survey Foot and it has been  First, educate yourself about the issues
                         read into the national Register.        Second, work to educate clients, consultants, regulators, and
                          Washington State anticipating the IF  the geospatial community about the impacts and pitfalls related
                         would in fact be declared “the foot” included  to these changes.
        language in house Bill 2860 which modifies RCW 58.20 to re-  Third, adapt your work processes to ensure that you know and
        quire the IF value as “the foot”:                       communicate “which foot” you mean in each and every instance
        NEW SECTION  Sec. 8.                                    whether receiving or delivering data.

           A new section is added to chapter 58.20 RCW to read as follows:  How might you adapt your work processes?
           When the values are expressed in feet, one foot equals 0.3048   Although you may not be able to apply all of these practices
           meters, must be used as the standard foot for WPCS    they give a direction for coping with the change:
           (this is the international foot definition)
                                                                 •  Foremost,  practice  Radical  Clarity  when  it come  to  units,
        How this matters to Washington Surveyors                   datum, and measurements. Be clear and explicit. Over-com-
          First, in Washington, we must comply with the law and so, ef-  municate.
        fective June 11, 2020 all coordinates published in the WPCS feet,   •  Work in meters – like your equipment does – and only resort
        i.e., State Plane must use the IF. Be particularly careful if you are   to feet (if required) for final products.
        completing work started before that date or if you are perform-
        ing analyses using data published earlier. Also note that until   •  Be a professional not merely a technician. Be sure that you
        a federal action is completed, the foot in Washington is the uS   are serving the public and not just blindly following techni-
        Survey Foot eXCePT for publishing WPCS coordinates.        cal practices
          Second, when (if) the IF is implemented as a national standard   •  do not use  Washington Plane Coordinates in “feet” after
        all geospatial practitioners will need to validate the pedigree of   June 11, 2020
        any data given in feet to ascertain “which foot” it is in fact since   •  Provide metadata for your surveys
        the standard declares that there is hence forth only “The foot”.   •  double check your entire data-chain and work flow to iden-
        however, in reality they will always differ.
                                                                   tify any potential points of failure where one unit (uSSF or
          The possibility, let alone the certainty, of two nominal but dif-  IF) could be confused for another. In your total station; data
        ferent units means every analysis will need to evaluate every set   collector; software (all of it); Online applications;
        of geospatial data to see when it was done and what foot was   As surveyors, at least boundary surveyors, we love history.
        used. If you did not understand the significance of surveying in   however, there is a profound difference between having a rever-
        four dimensions before this, you soon will.
                                                                ence and respect for the past and becoming a relic. If the time
          You will have to explain to all clients and users of your data why  has truly come to deprecate the uS Survey foot perhaps it is also
        it disagrees numerically with the previous information. “Your co-  time to retire the foot generally for geospatial use. After all, we
        ordinates aren’t right. It doesn’t line up with my map/data/plans!”   all know how to convert uS Survey feet to meters. n

        www . l S a w. or g                                                                                        9
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