American Congress On Surveying And Mapping

The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, or ACSM, dates back to 1941. It was founded as a non-profit organization to advance education in surveying, mapping, and related fields, and it encourages educational programs and publications to serve the professional and technical interests of these professions. ACSM essentially provides a way for those in the surveying and mapping professions to keep up to date with changes in the industry.
Today, this professional organization is open to land surveyors, mapmakers, and those in similar professions. Members may come from private industry, government, or academia. ACSM is currently working to respond to the challenges presented by new technologies, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Land Information Systems (LIS), and other ways of attaining and using spatial data using modern technology.


There are four independent member organizations that are part of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. These are the American Association for Geodetic Surveying, the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, the Geographic and Land Information Society, and the National Society of Professional Surveyors. Since 2004, individuals no longer join the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping directly; instead, they join one of these four member organizations. However, students who join the ACSM and are considered members of all four organizations, giving them the greatest possible range to explore careers in this field. Over 8,000 surveyors, cartographers, and other professionals who deal with spatial data are members of ACSM though its four member organizations.

The ACSM holds an annual convention in the spring, which is typically attended by about 2000 members. In addition to the meeting itself, continuing education opportunities are also available, providing opportunities for land surveyors, cartographers, and others to update their skills in response to changing technology. The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping is known for the ALTA/ACSM survey standards, produced in cooperation with the American Land Title Association. These standards provide a universally accepted method for surveying commercial properties and other areas where a boundary survey is required.

To help members stay current on issues relevant to their professions, ACSM membership includes the bi-monthly ACSM bulletin and a subscription to either Surveying and Land Information Systems or Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. Because continuing education is required for land surveyors of many states in order to maintain their state licensing, ACSM also provides many continuing education programs for members, as well as maintaining a wide selection of book titles on surveying, cartography, and related subjects.

Full members of the ACSM member organizations must ordinarily have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study or four years of active professional experience in a related field. An Associate Membership is available to anyone with an interest in the topic, but without the necessary education or experience to become a full member. The National Society of Professional Surveyors generally requires that full members hold the appropriate state surveying license, although there are several ways to qualify for membership without it.