Saturday, December 22, 2007

Adverse Possession

6May08 Update:

Looks like the Kirlins are going to Appellate court since the trial court judge dissed their evidence by saying it only upholds the McLean/Stevens adverse possession claim.

And meanwhile, the two bills proposed earlier passed the Colorado legislature. My, how the twists and turns of land history ensnares every facet of our lives! No one could make this stuff up, it's just too much about how people really do treat each other.

Here's a recent Colorado case that's created quite a stir:

Rocky Mountain News


Daily Camera

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Wandering North Pole

The latest issue of Science News contains an interesting article about the magnetic North Pole and how archaeologists are using it to date artifacts. You can read it HERE

New GPS Satellite Launched

At 2004 GMT on Thursday, 20 Dec, the Delta II rocket holding the newest GPS satellite, IIR-18(M) was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral, FL.

IIR-18(M) is planned to be stationed in GPS orbital slot C1.

IIR-18(M) is PRN 29 and SVN 57.

This new GPS satellite is expected to be set healthy for use in early January 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Biz

Mergers and acquisitions are continuing in our industry. Recent announcements included the acquisition of NovAtel by Hexagon. As you know, Hexagon already owns Leica Geosystems. NovAtel has been making boards for Leica for quite some time, and is an OEM partner with Sokkia in Point. Topcon recently annouced that it will acquire Sokkia. So, it remains to be seen how it will all shake out.

Business-wise, it appears that surveying activity in many parts of the country is still strong. But woe to the companies who have concentrated their efforts primarily in the land development sector because that appears to be down across the country. It goes without saying that diversification is the key to a successful practice. Something else to consider: remember how hard it is to train and get up to speed on new software and hardware when you're busy? If you are seeing a downturn in your workload, and have been considering upgrading to newer technology, now is the time to do so, when you're not so busy.

Surveying in the News

As part of my daily news-gathering, I come across many interesting items that involve surveying. Some are wacky, while others are sobering.

For instance, we take our system of land registration and land titling for granted. But in many parts of the world, this is not so, and ownership of land is often subject to corruption. The UN recently announced an initiative to combat this. You can read about it HERE. Corruption, especially in Africa, is rampant, as you can see HERE.

Under the category of odd, this newly-developed device might be a good thing, but I'm not sure why anyone would want to use GPS to track a simple letter through the postal system. But obviously, at least one company thinks this is something we need, and you can read about HERE.

And just today, an Escondido, CA newspaper reported about surveying and GIS is being used to retrace a 150-year-old wagon road through the town of Temecula. You can read about it HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2007

December articles are now online

This issue is jam-packed with more of the kind of content you have grown to expect from The American Surveyor. It was difficult to limit ourselves to just one page to capsualize the life of Silvio Bedini. A man from the old school, we always loved his sense of humor. Full of humility, he spoke with a soft voice that commanded attention. Sharp as a whip, he could recall details from decades ago. In my editorial, I discuss the current GNSS situation, and delve into the pros and cons of NSGPS. Joel Leininger continues his discussion with Gary Kent about the ALTA standards. We've decided to take the discussion out of the magazine and into this blog, so watch for future installments about this important topic. It's been awhile, but we once again have an article from the master instrument restorer, Jeff Lock. Jeff's an excellent photographer, and these images leave no doubt. I highly recommend downloading the PDF for this one just to see the images. The ProFile of Donald Todd relates a fascinating story of a ten-chain GLO blunder and the resultant mess it created along the shores of Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Again, the PDF is a must. For those who are into laser scanning, Tom Mochty, the survey manager for Woolpert details their secrets of success and best practices. A must-read for anybody who has a laser scanner or is considering buying one. California attorney and LS Lloyd Pilchen gives a great explanation of the real property law behind roads. In this issue we have not one but two reviews. The first, by the venerable Al Pepling, gives the lowdown on CST/berger's Chinese-made total station. You might be surprised by what Al discovered. The other review, of Carlson's SurvNet 5 least squares adjustment program, is by our new software and hardware reviewer, Shawn Billings. Shawn lives in Kilgore, Texas and is hard at work on future reviews. The January issue will contain a review of the new TDS Nomad. Wendy Lathrop continues her series on land development. This installment has to do with population growth: not just how many people, but where. Finally, Curt Sumner, the executive director of ACSM, writes a detailed analysis of the recent MAPPS lawsuit. All is all, this is another great issue. And remember, if you want to see the images that go with most articles, be sure to download the PDF.
In Memoriam: Silvio Bedini, January 17, 1917 —­ November 14, 2007
It is with deep sadness that we share the news of Silvio Bedini's passing with our readers and his long-time fans. A brilliant historian and decorated scholar, many instrument collectors and writers credit him for the inspiration that fueled their own passions and careers. He was born in ....Read the Article

Editorial: CGSIC
Things are rocking right along in the GNSS world, and the Civil GPS Service Interface Committee meeting is where it all comes together. It is predicted that, by 2020, six or more systems will be operating. In addition to planned or existing constellations from the United States, Russia, Europe and China, both Japan and India are well along with......Read the Article

Point to Point: ACSM Positional Accuracy
One of the disadvantages (some might call it a benefit) of arguing a topic in successive issues of a magazine is that to get the full flavor of the dialog one must keep a fistful of issues at hand, in order to understand the context of the current conversation. For that, I apologize, because that is the situation in which....Read the Article

David Rittenhouse Telescopic Theodolite
As a researcher and restorer of 18th century Colonial surveying instruments, I deal primarily with the artistically crafted surveying compass. These instruments often have beautifully executed engraving, combined with technologically advanced workmanship for...Read the Article

Did Surveyors Lie (to Avoid Alligators & Snakes)?
If you've been in the business long enough, you've probably encountered your share of tangled information and hard-to-trace footsteps. Maybe it was trying to follow in the footsteps when there were none, or maybe it was just trying to sort all the footsteps out. Surveyor Donald Todd, owner of Atlantic/Caribbean Mapping in West Palm Beach, Florida has...Read the Article

Laser Scanning: Woolpert 3D Laser Scanning
Tom Mochty, LS, is senior vice president and director of surveys at Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, Ohio. Known for developing and implementing advanced position measurement technologies for civil survey and geomatics, in the early 1990s he worked closely with technology developers to integrate GPS with....Read the Article

Roads That Come Up Short Under The Law
Before Harry Truman left home to serve in the First World War, he helped his father oversee the community's responsibility to maintain the local roads. As biographer David McCullough wonderfully tells, Truman's experiences with roads at the beginning of the Motor Age were pivotal in his path to...Read the Article

Product Review: CST/berger CST-Series Total Station
In this installment, I review a CST/berger CST-205 total station, which is targeted for the construction stakeout market. After spending some time with the CST-205, I have concluded that it is well suited to that task, and in addition, I believe it will find much wider acceptance and usage, based on...Read the Article

Vantage Point: A Balancing Act
Most articles about balancing development and open space seem to focus on a single issue: water quantity, water quality, habitat, perhaps recreation. But I recently read a "what if" article that made me think in a different way about that balance. It led to a back and forth argument in...Read the Article

Software Review: Carlson SurvNet Network Least Squares Adjustment Software
Many of today's surveyors began their careers with the chain and transit. As many of you will recall, even though electronic distance measuring technology had been around for a while, wide spread acceptance of EDM instruments did not occur until the late 1970s to early 1980s. The chain is...Read the Article

Feed Back
I enjoyed Joel Leininger's Point to Point article, "Our Insular World," in your July/August issue, but I fear that the second paragraph contradicts the first. The local idiom, without explanation, seems to be used freely in the second paragraph. To me a "bollard" is a post used to attach a ship to a...Read the Article

Surveyors Report: Reflections on "The Lawsuit"
First, let me make it clear that I am not an attorney, nor do I portray one on TV. The reflections stated herein are solely mine, and have no legal weight whatsoever. They are based on my experiences, having been brought into the discussion of this matter on a number of...Read the Article

Longevity of Recordable Plat Media

The following appeared in the December issue of the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors The Cornerpost. Thanks to VSLS for allowing us to share.

Note: This is something that many of our readers might benefit from. I've actually seen this first hand. When I was working in Oklahoma City, we would go to the courthouse to obtain copies of subdivision plats. I remember (with shock and horror) when I opened one drawer and saw that much of the ink on the early-day mylar was slowly shedding and the drawer was accumulating bits of linework and letters that had "fallen off" of the legal copies of the plats. If this is a problem in your jurisdiction, the information below might help:

Sometime last spring or summer I was made aware that the state’s Department of Public Records now accepts plats prepared by inkjet plotters as meeting the “original ink on mylar” standard. This is, in my opinion, a step forward - to officially accept a technology that has become the industry norm. But truthfully, this step only goes part of the way towards achieving a practical archiving standard. Whether ink is “jetted” onto polyester film or is applied by more mundane methods, it never actually bonds with the film, but merely lays on the surface. Discouraged by the expense and poor image quality of fixed-line reproduction, and in hopes of finding an acceptable alternative, mapping technicians at VELCO recently conducted some “crude but effective” experiments with various inks and media and their HP Designjet 5000 plotter. They were impressed with the combination of a certain common ink cartridge (HP81, in their case) and a plotter media called “Polyart” by IJ Technologies (Imagine a large sheet of that nearly indestructible material on which your hunting license is printed.) The media is opaque white, seems to be dimensionally stable, takes the jetted ink beautifully, and, once dry, the ink bonds so well that it resists smudge or smear when subjected to indignities such as coffee and water spills. An excellent “winter chore” for us would be to see – after a bit more investigation perhaps – if we could encourage the acceptance of similar media combinations by the Department of Public Records and subsequently into the land records.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

This great story appeared in the December issue of the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors The Cornerpost. Thanks to VSLS for allowing us to share.

Survey Dick Bohlen, L.S. #7, Retired

We were running line on the Kittridge Hills, north of the Walden Mountain road. We were using compass and tape procedure, meaning that we were taking compass bearings, and measuring distance with a 200 foot steel tape. There were the 2 of us, and my faithful black Lab., Tippy. We named him "Tippy" because he had white feet, and a white tip of his tail.

John Nagle was working with me, and the procedure was that I went ahead pulling the tape and clearing the line with a machette. I would go out for as far as the growth would allow, and establish a foreward point. John would then take a magnetic bearing to the point, and we would tape the distance with John calling out the numbers. We were following a blazed line and making pretty good progress when we were stopped by a beaver dam. John joined me at the foreward point, and we discussed a battle plan. We could see the blazes on dead trees in the water, and could see where the line was on the far shore, about 150 feet away. There were "blowdowns " in the water, and the water appeared to be about 5 to 6 feet deep. No way to get across without a boat. The option would be to run line around the pond, and then compute the distance across. Not very good procedure, and not very accurate. Sure would like to measure across that pond !

I think that we both looked for Tippy at the same time, and then came up with the battle plan. We tied the leather tong at the end of the tape to his collar...John held him and talked to him with kind and soothing words, and I made my way around the pond to where the line emerged. One excited call from his master, and John's release of the collar put Tippy into the water with a great lunge. The water, the blowdowns, the pond growth, the tree limbs and nothing else could deter that mighty swimmer from the shortest path to his Master. We had our tape across, the distance measured, and Tippy earned his pay that day.

My lengthy absence

Apologies to all for disappearing immediately after starting my blog. I had a knee replaced and it knocked me for a loop. I'm much better now, and will do my best to actively post.