Monday, March 24, 2008

March articles posted

Editorial: The Need for Speed
Hard-wired into human nature is a fascination for speed—we like to go fast. In our March 2007 issue I wrote about FARO, a German laser company that had recently entered the U.S. market with their laser scanner. We visited their factory in Stuttgart, and along the way, took advantage of the opportunity to do some ....Read the Article
Point to Point: Waypoint Descriptions
It was only a matter of time, and we shouldn't be surprised, really. A couple of years ago in Monroe County, Wisconsin, someone transferred a tract of land described in the main using "waypoints" of latitude and longitude coordinates. Some have surmised that a handheld GPS receiver was....Read the Article
CyArk at Mesa Verde: Using Lasers to Help Save History
When the CyArk team was asked to fly to Mesa Verde National Park for an on-location shoot for PBS's WIRED Science, they brought the scanner along as a "prop" for the show. Upon arriving at the park it became clear that the National Park Service was ... " Read the Article
Conference Review: Trimble Dimensions 2007
I'm sitting at a table with one Uzbekistani and a bunch of Russians; the one seated next to me is named Vladimir. Ethereal blue patterns wheel softly across the ceiling of the cavernous dining hall and the chairs we sit in are swathed in shimmery fabric. During the course of our meal, a couple thousand of us are entertained by...Read the Article
RTN-­101: RTN Cheat Sheets (Part 11)
There you stand in the elements, satellites above, new rover in hand, batteries charged, and a new bag of sunflower seeds. Then KA-fizzle! Nothing is working! In a perfect world you should be able to press a button or two and then start gathering high precision positions with ....Read the Article
Illegal Fences of the Great Plains
One of the unforeseen downfalls of having the remote regions of the plains states quickly surveyed by the General Land Office was the slow migration of settlement that came to certain areas. In areas such as the Sandhills region of central Nebraska the GLO completed the...Read the Article
Equipment Review: Leica System 1200 (Part 1 of 2)
Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor once said, "You've got a jet engine and you've got a riding lawn mower. It was only a matter of time until someone put those two together." Jet-powered riding lawn mowers notwithstanding, many of the new technological developments going on around us are built on nothing more than ...Read the Article
Survey Reports: Preparing a Survey Report
In my previous article [February 2008], I discussed reporting opinions on the location of corners and boundaries. In this article, I will discuss how surveyors can communicate encroachments, gaps and overlaps in a survey report. Major encroachments and overlaps are ...Read the Article
Vantage Point: Insure and Regulate—­Elevation Matters
I receive a lot of e-mails and calls from surveyors and others working in floodplains. From the gist of their questions there seems to be little understanding that just because a structure is constructed in compliance with technical regulations does not mean that it will be exempted from...Read the Article

Uganda: 'Quack Surveyors Fueling Land Conflicts'

The Monitor (Kampala)
24 March 2008
Yasiin Mugerwa

The ongoing landing land conflicts in the country have been blamed on the increased number of unqualified land surveyors who have deliberately failed to adhere to professional standards.

Addressing journalists in Kampala on Thursday, Mr John Musungu, the Chairman of Surveyors Registration Board - a government regulatory body charged with the professional registration of surveyors, said 99 per cent of land conflicts are sparked off by unregistered surveyors.

"We are concerned because improper surveys have exacerbated land conflicts in many different parts of the country and has sometimes resulted into bloodshed," Mr Musungu said.

"Mistakes are done during boundary openings and the problem is serious due to increased number of 'undercover' surveyors."

The government's remarks come after various surveyors, mainly Makerere University graduates, accused the board of not considering them even after they have fulfilled the registration requirements.

Mr Joseph Serunjogi alleged that after graduating in 2000 from Makerere University and applying for registration twice with "all the requirements," his application was rejected by the board.

Dr Mukiibi Katende, the head of the Land Surveying department at Makerere University said Uganda has produced over 650 graduates of land surveying since 1994, when the first batch of the four-year course graduated.

He said the university produces an average of 40 graduates annually.

Kaddu Mugerwa, another unregistered surveyor, said majority of the surveyors are unregistered. He alleged that at times, the board threatens to deregister companies or individuals who act as referees to new applicants.

But Mr Musungu said; "As regulators, it will be unfit for us to send dangerous people to the public."

"We can not give certificates to people without experience. The problem of land conflicts is already at the extreme because of inexperienced surveyors and that's why we are going to clamp down on them. We have procedures and they should be followed," he added.

Mr Musungu explained that for one to become a registered surveyor, he or she must have worked for two years. They must also have done survey work supervised by a registered firm.

"It's not a matter of having a degree. We have procedures to follow before one is registered. One must be a member of the Institute of Surveyors of Uganda, graduate of surveying and practiced in the field for two years under the supervision of a registered. We only approve those who meet these requirements," Mr Musungu said.

The government is drafting a new bill seeking to amend the Surveyors Registration Act that will empower the Institute of Surveyors of Uganda to set special exams for surveyors.

"If we are to curb land conflicts, there should be no short cuts to quality and this is the same practice in Kenya and Tanzania. One can only pass these exams when he or she has the required experience," Mr Cyprian Inyanga, one of the Board members said.

Commenting on number of registered surveyors, Mr Musungu said out of the 650, only 56 are registered members of the Institute of Surveyors of Uganda, a professional body for surveyors in the country.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Need for Speed

Hard-wired into human nature is a fascination for speed—we like to go fast. In our March 2007 issue I wrote about FARO, a German laser company that had recently entered the U.S. market with their laser scanner. We visited their factory in Stuttgart, and along the way, took advantage of the opportunity to do some legal high-speed driving (140mph) on the Autobahn..

A couple of weeks ago, FARO capitalized on “speed” by staging a press event at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Disney World in Orlando. The star of the show was FARO’s latest scanner, the Photon. I thought it was cool that in their “drive” for accuracy, reliability and repeatability, FARO chases every micron.

The new Photon has several improvements: faster scans with 200 percent better positional accuracy, 300 percent less “noise”, and an improved color overlay that uses a high-rez digital camera, all resulting in crisper scans with greater clarity. FARO has improved the optics, angle encoders, and underlying electronics. The electronic improvement yields twice the power at the same eye-safeness, and 1.4 times the range in sunlight. New to the Photon is its iPod controller, wireless capability and a six-hour battery that fits under the tribrach. You can read more about the new Photon HERE

Another “direct relationship” that played out at the press conference was one between my hands and the steering wheel of a 600hp NASCAR vehicle! Strapped in from the head down, the Richard Petty Driving Experience allows you to get behind the wheel and follow a pace car driven by a professional driver. The object is to stay three car lengths behind him. If you can manage that, he continually picks up speed. Those who don’t feel up to driving alone can opt for a ride-along with a professional driver. The ride-alongs hit speeds of 140-145mph, while the drive alone option is generally 20-25mph slower.

Sure enough, my best lap was just short of 120mph. When I exited the vehicle my hands were shaking, not from fear, but from the extreme concentration required to maintain the measured distance behind the pro (and my desire to not hit the wall). Unlike the smooth-running car we had driven on the Autobahn, the NASCAR vehicles are not easy to drive. I came away with a new measure of respect for the skill of the NASCAR drivers who draft each others bumpers at nearly 200mph.

Yes, we like to go fast. Our need for speed spurs the growth of new technology. And while our technology would make our predecessor’s heads spin, we also enjoy reading about the days when surveyors wore spurs!