Technicians Volunteer to Educate Next Generation of Geospatial Professionals

Technicians Volunteer to Educate Next Generation of Geospatial Workforce

Get Kids into Survey (GKiS) is an educational program that exposes children to geospatial technology and provides intuitive, hands-on learning materials. In order to do this, GKiS relies heavily on the support of companies as sponsors and industry professionals as advocates. 

L. I. Smith & Associates (LIS) is proud to support this program as a sponsor, as well as having two staff members volunteer with the GKiS Brand Ambassador Program. Tyler LaPointe and AJ Maxwell, both Survey Technicians, volunteer their time to speak at schools and other community events in order to teach kids about surveying.

Below you can hear directly from Tyler and AJ as they discuss their reasoning for volunteering with GKiS and the differences they hope to make with the next generation of geospatial professionals.  


What made you want to become involved in GKiS? What do you hope to achieve by becoming a Brand Ambassador? 


I really enjoy my career in land surveying and want to share that enjoyment and knowledge with the future of the profession, the youth. This will also help to diversify the career field by reaching out to children of all backgrounds at an early age. 



I wanted to be a brand ambassador because it gave me access to the resources that GKiS had to offer. It also gives exposure to our company and our initiatives to reach the younger generations in the STEM fields.   


How is this program beneficial to kids and the survey industry? What will be the biggest impact made? 



If you ask the average person what land surveying is, I’d be willing to bet 9 out of 10 would have no clue. GKiS helps to educate the public and allows children to learn that surveying is a career option they can pursue. Our goal is for the surveying careers tobe just as well-known as engineering or medical jobs. 



GKiS allows us to take what we do as professionals and educate younger minds. Surveying at our level can be difficult to teach in a way that children understand and a way that they can get involved and interact with. The program that GKiS has built allows us to teach those concepts in a way that kids do understand and gravitate towards.   


Why do you think there is such a large age gap in professionals retiring and entering into the surveying industry? How will GKiS help it? 


For a very long time, surveying has been stuck in a grey area between the trade fields and professionals, leading a lot of surveyors to underbid and undersell themselves. This coupled with the surveying profession’s past difficulties in keeping up with and upgrading technology has caused a lack of training for the new generations. Hopefully with the help of GKiS, we can reach out to the youth to give them some basic knowledge of the career before they choose their future careers.  



I believe that there is such a generational gap because the art of surveying has been lost over the years. It’s a subject in school that isn’t taught and isn’t talked about, so most people don’t know that it is an option. They definitely don’t know that it can be a very good career. Also, most older surveyors use old technology that gets the job done for what they need, but younger kids are surrounded by technology in their everyday life. I think from the outside looking in, the younger generations see a profession that is outdated, and this couldn’t be further from the truth! This is why educating the younger generations is so important.  


Has your role at LIS given you an elevated platform to promote STEM programs such as GKiS? Why? 


LIS has a leg up on other surveying and engineering firms because the leaders really want to focus on the long-term impact we can have on STEM fields. We are doing outreach that may not benefit us for 10 years or more, and that shows dedication.  We as young professionals are given anything we need to grow our profession and reach out to the community, as long as we show the dedication to see it through. 



My role at LIS has absolutely made an impact! Our leadership within the company sees the importance of educating these young minds. This allows us to spend time planning, getting into the classrooms, and taking time out of our workdays to effectively prepare. Also, the leadership wants badly to promote what it is we do, so they not only are willing to allow us to step away from day-to-day work duties, but they also are willing to make investments in the schools in the form of resources and materials needed, so that the teachers can educate when we can’t be there to do so.  


Each day, AJ and Tyler apply and grow their skills in their roles at LIS. Now, through GKiS ,the pair have the opportunity to share their passion with the community. LIS is excited to be a part of this partnership and cannot wait to see where it will lead. 

Educating our youth about geospatial technology and the vast career options is an initiative that will greatly benefit the industry over the years to come. If you would like more information about becoming a brand ambassador, visit 

LIS Joins GKiS in Efforts to ‘Inspire future geospatial experts’ 

LIS Joins GKiS in Efforts to ‘Inspire future geospatial experts’

L. I. Smith & Associates (LIS) is proud to sponsor the Get Kids into Survey (GKiS) program and partner in their efforts to ‘inspire future geospatial experts’. GKiS is a company built of geospatial scientists and engineers worldwide, who have joined together to teach kids of all ages what it is we do as surveyors. They provide a platform that allows us to teach and promote surveying in a way that kids both understand and enjoy

Through this sponsorship, LIS was given the opportunity to develop its own character to be used in GKiS’ educational materials. The character, Pat the River Cat, was designed specifically with the Henry County community in mind.  

“Because our headquarters is located in the home of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, we felt that our character had to be a catfish,” commented LIS Marketing Coordinator Ashley Horn. “We are excited to share a Henry County tradition and icon with the geospatial community throughout the world!”  

The educational materials provided by GKiS include comic books, posters, homework assignments, coloring pages, and quizzes, all centered on geospatial technology in real world applications. The activities are geared toward all students of elementary school and middle school age. Materials are mailed to each state in the United States and throughout the world.  

“Through GKiS’ world-wide reach, kids will see Pat the River Cat all over, which is an amazing opportunity for us,” said Horn. “We are still heavily focused on working with STEM programs in our community of Henry County and the surrounding area. We look forward to providing an inside look at what we do so that local kids can learn more about this unique and interactive field.” 

Beyond the global marketing opportunities provided by GKiS through educational materials, professionals may also volunteer as brand ambassadors in order to help spread awareness of the survey industry within local communities. Tyler LaPointe and Austin (AJ) Maxwell, Survey Technicians at LIS, have volunteered to be a part of the ambassador program. Through the ambassador program, the two can apply the surveying skills they use daily at LIS to teach our youth about geospatial technology. 

Maxwell commented, “GKiS allows us to take what we do as professionals and educate younger minds. It also gives exposure to our company and our initiatives to reach the younger generations in the STEM fields.” 

Ultimately, GKiS, along with its firm sponsors and brand ambassadors, will help bring a better understanding of the field to those inside and outside the surveying industry. It is important for the younger generations to grasp a better understanding of what surveying is and how valuable it can be, as currently there are not enough young people entering the workforce. Through this program, GKiS hopes to see the survey industry flourish with interest and knowledge for generations to come.  

There are many ways to get involved with this great organization. For students, teachers, or surveyors interested in becoming a brand ambassador or finding resource materials, visit the GKiS website at Get Kids Into Survey – Inspiring future geospatial experts!.  

If you have questions about Pat the River Cat or are interested in having a brand ambassador attend a STEM event and hand out materials, please contact Ashley Horn at 

LIS Monthly Staff Photo Competition – March 2023: Spring into Action!

Staff Photo Competition - March 2023: Spring into Action!

March was the first themed month of the Staff Photo Competition! In honor of spring, and the warmer weather, staff members were required to take pictures of or in the outdoors. This challenge gave everyone the opportunity to enjoy nature and spend some time outside.  

The Staff Photo Competition challenges our staff to submit images that reflect their day in the workplace- wherever that may be.  Each month, one photo is chosen as the winner. Additional photo(s) are also highlighted as honorable mentions. 

Our staff submitted many unique images, and we cannot wait to see what else they come up with for our next themed months! 

Submission Winner: Blake Alexander

Pictured above is Party Chief, Blake Alexander, scanning and cross sectioning the Tellico River at Baby Falls. The falls are located in the Unicoi Range of mountains near the Tennessee and North Carolina state line.

Blake is a Survey Technician and has been with LIS since 2016.

honorable Mention: Keith newman

Keith took a picture of John Snow performing a control network survey for a project at the BNA Airport in Nashville. LIS is working on a team with Hi-Way Paving to replace taxiway Alpha Kilo.

Keith joined LIS in 2018 and currently holds the position as a Rodman. 


Honorable Mention: Kenneth Fowlkes

The photo above was captured by Kenneth Fowlkes while Party Chief Ben Driver was doing a layout survey for the building corners of the Oxford Apartments.

Kenneth currently serves as a Survey Technician and Inspector at LIS. 

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