Monday, December 17, 2007

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.