Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Fallen Hero

A Fallen Hero... The sad news of more fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan recently took on a much more personal note in our community of Frederick, Maryland when the photo of 24-year old Lance Cpl. Jordan Chrobot appeared on the front page of our local newspaper. While on patrol in Afghanistan on September 26, Jordan took a bullet just above his vest, and died in surgery shortly afterwards.
The stinging news of Jordan's death was driven deeper because we knew him personally. We watched him grow up in our church, and have enjoyed many years of friendship with many members of his family. During his recent deployments to Iraq first, and then Afghanistan, his grandparents frequently requested our Sunday School class to lift his unit in prayer and for strength for Amber, his young wife of two and a half years.
feature Support from the community has been immense. Jordan's funeral was attended by more than a thousand people, including 80 members of the Patriot Guard, a Viet Nam veterans motorcycle group that held flags and saluted the casket as it passed by. The vest on one of the bikers (right) said it best: All Gave Some, Some Gave All. (Click on the link to see more pictures.)
Jordan's body was laid to rest at the cemetery across the highway from his grandparents' home. In that home, Jordan and his siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles spent many happy hours. Jordan and Amber were even married there in the back yard. Following high school he worked for his grandfather, who had served as a Marine in Viet Nam. He and his family all knew that Jordan wanted to be a Marine from the time he was a little kid.
At Jordan's funeral, pastor Jimmy Inman said that Chrobot died doing something he loved. He fought for his country and to bring the hope of freedom to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. He knew what he wanted in life and pursued his ideals to the end.
feature While the current economy is ravaging this country in ways that nearly every American is experiencing, many of the families of our fallen and wounded military men and women are hurting even more deeply. I'm sure that many of you have been touched by the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier. Jordan's death brought the news headlines home for us. In spite of political upheavals and current events, it's good to know that there are so many heroes among us. Let's keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

September articles posted

Editorial: Intergeo 2009
We recently attended Intergeo in Karlsruhe, Germany. Billed as the world's most important surveying congress, this year's show attracted more than 16,000 attendees--22 percent from outside Germany--and 475 exhibitors. For years, we've heard how nice it would be if we had a ....
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Rebuilding the Greens at The Olympic Club Lake Course
The history of San Francisco's Olympic Club dates back to 1860, making it one of the oldest such golf clubs in the country. The club has hosted four US Open tournaments over the years -with its fifth slated for 2012 -and the ....
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Verdict at the Little Bighorn
There probably aren't many people alive today who have never heard of the name of Lt. Col. (Bvt. Maj. Gen.) George Armstrong Custer. Probably even fewer have never heard of the battle that made him famous (or infamous, depending on ...
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Davis Turner10-9
USGS Quadrangles in Google Earth
QUADS (http://www.metzgerwillard.us/quads/) is a web-based service for visualizing USGS quadrangles in Google Earth that provides an easy-to-use framework for retrieving georeferenced PDF topo maps from the USGS Store. QUADS also ...
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Billings 10-9
Hardware Review: Magellan Professional ProMark500 RTK
It's nice to pick up a piece of equipment that works right out of the box. That was my experience with the Magellan Professional ProMark500 RTK system. Building on the blade technology that made the ProMark3 RTK system such a capable L1-only RTK system, the ....
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Lathrop 10-9
Vantage Point: On the Waterfront--or Not
Those who have deeds citing frontage on a body of water are very protective of that frontage. When natural phenomena such as avulsion, alluvium, or erosion change the physical proximity of a land parcel to water, we are generally familiar with the effect on boundaries. Of....
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Reconnaissance: Retracement Surveys and Undocumented Corners (Part 1 of 2)
Recently I was dismayed by a discussion thread on one of the surveying bulletin boards that related to the perpetuation of a section corner and an undocumented monument that appeared to be ...
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A Walk In The Park
On a sunny day in the middle of May, two survey colleagues and I spent the day in Muskego Park along with five advanced high school math students. This was the second year the program was presented to a group of students. Our goal was to show them that there are ...
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August articles posted

Editorial: ESRI UC and Survey Summit
Jack Dangermond, who founded ESRI in 1969, has long envisioned products that allow us to view and interpret graphical data, and in doing so, deepen our understanding of how we interact with planet Earth. In the ESRI User Conferences that I've attended for the past 10 years, there ....
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One Company Two Brands: The Future of Topcon & Sokkia
These days it's easy to become discouraged about the state of the land development industry and the effect on surveying. In speaking with surveyors across the country, it seems that transportation stimulus money is going mainly to ....
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A New Defense Application for Satellite Technology
It would not be accurate to state that the world changed on September 11, 2001--terrorist attacks on civilians had taken place in troubled areas of the world for many years prior. At the time, the attacks weren't even the first to occur in the United States in many years. But the ...
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Longstreet 8-9
Laser Scanning Brings New Asset to Accident Investigations-and Surveyors
Laser Scanning Brings New Asset to Accident Laser Scanning technology is revolutionizing many aspects of surveying and applied measurement, but it's been especially game changing in the rarified niches of ...
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Parks 8-9
Measuring Granite Peak
It's official now, or is it just more official? The tallest mountain in Montana-Granite Peak-is 12,807.09 feet high, give or take a half a foot, according to a Billings crew's Global Positioning System survey on Aug. 16, 2008. The peak's exact location is latitude 45 degrees, 9 minutes, 48.34170 ....
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Stenmark 8-9
Portable Expert: Keeping The Crews Moving
Matt Bryant knows networks. He worked for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Information Systems Division (ISD) for five years, providing training and support on GPS, surveying and CAD software to ....
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A Fresno State Surveying Student Exercises Leadership
That the finest American presidents to date, Washington and Lincoln, started out as land surveyors is a well-known fact of history, and that we surveyors would still be better leaders of the free world than lawyers or oil men, or engineers, is merely a simple factual ...
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Vantage Point: Why Do the Research?
A number of years ago I was giving a seminar on how to do legal research when a gentleman in the audience suddenly interrupted with loud disdain. "Why should surveyors know how to do this, anyway? I can just hire a paralegal to do it for me." At first taken aback since ...
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July articles posted

Guest Editorial: The Sky Is Falling!
Whoa! Let's take a few deep breaths and calmly assess some of the news hype over April 30, 2009 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on GPS. Firstly, read the actual report (www.gao.gov/new.items/d09325.pdf) and not the wildly imaginative interpretations recently spewed out by a ....
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ASPRS 75th Anniversary
Without a doubt, photogrammetry has been an essential part of the mapping and land development process. Without it, the completion of our national topographic quadrangles would have been impossible. And I'm sure most of our ....
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Aerial Imaging Technology Spotlight
The vision of the founding members of ASPRS was farsighted indeed. Their 1934 mission to advance knowledge and understanding of the mapping sciences today encompasses a broad spectrum of scientific, social and commercial enterprises. To complement the timeline in ...
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BIM and Laser Scanning for As-built and Adaptive Reuse Projects:The Opportunity for Surveyors
In his inaugural speech the new President made many references to using our natural resources more wisely, to reducing our carbon and water footprints, and investing in ...
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Rapid-Fire Surveying
When the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) set out to rebuild Interstate 15 south of Salt Lake City, the department needed accurate one-foot contour interval mapping and a digital terrain model (DTM). With accurate maps and models of the 20-mile stretch of ....
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A Visit to Hemisphere GPS
In keeping with the magazine's mission of presenting new technology and introducing our readers to the people who make it happen, it was with pleasure that I recently visited Hemisphere GPS (Hemisphere) in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company is headquartered in Calgary, but most of ....
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Vantage Point: Phasing in the New Elevation Certificate
At long last, the revised Elevation Certificate arrived on April 2, 2009, bringing with it new building diagrams and new instructions designed to further the goals of sound floodplain management. No doubt, by now many have seen the memo issued by FEMA a month after ...
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Model Behavior: The How-To Guide to Successful Surface Modeling
I'd like you to take a moment to think about what it is we do in this (not so very) new digital world as it relates to our traditional work products, specifically making maps. I realize many of you may perform boundary surveys, write legal descriptions, and engage in ...
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Surprise Bridges the Gap between CAD and GIS
Located in Arizona's Sonora desert, the city of Surprise is a booming Phoenix suburb with a small-town feel and big city amenities. One of those amenities includes the city's GIS, which has helped meet the technology requirements of one of America's fastest-growing cities. At the peak of ...
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June articles posted

Editorial: Following the Footsteps, Old and New
Our cover this month pays tribute to a group of Wyoming surveyors who organized an expedition to Surveyor's Notch in the Wind River Mountain Range, following the footsteps of the Hayden expedition's surveyor/topographer/cartographer A.D. Wilson and ....
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Wow Factor: Image Integration: A High-Productivity Approach to Managing Digital Photography
Surveyors today employ a variety of ways for documenting their field surveys. Measurements and descriptions are recorded in electronic data collectors. Audio recorders can be used to record comments and ....
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Surveyor's Notch
It's March 2008. I'm in the office downloading data, and Jay says "Hey, I found something in a book I was reading about a feature in the Wind Rivers called Surveyor's Notch. Have you heard of that?" "Yeah," I reply, "it's right there by Wind River Peak. I can see it from the top of ...
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Celestial Observations: A Brief History of Elgin, Knowles & Senne and their Ephemerides
Until the early 1980s practically all surveyors used the Altitude Method to determine the astronomic direction of a line, based on a celestial observation of the sun. That method ...
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Marketing Techniques for Laser Scanning Service Providers
I frequently hear surveyors and office managers saying, "This scanning stuff, in ten years everyone will have it—­that's the future." That is confirmation that 3D Laser Scanning has been accepted among the general land surveying community. Those of you scanning for a ....
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Mobile Scanning is Good Business
Killer bees, 108-degree heat and minus 45-degree cold: these are conditions under which Clay Wygant has worked, and they're all too familiar to many surveyors. But what excites the senior surveyor and his team today is mobile scanning technology. Since implementing an Optech LYNX ....
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Hardware & Software Review: Carlson Surveyor and SurvCE
If you're in the market for an extremely durable, fast, comfortable and well-equipped data collector, check out the Carlson Surveyor. Based on drafting specifications by the folks at Carlson Software and using the very reputable people at Juniper Systems to make it a ...
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GIS Data Integration with the GCDB
In April 2000 by the Western Governors Association adopted the Bureau of Land Management's Geographic Coordinate Database (GCDB) as the preferred representation of the Public Lands Survey System (PLSS) for GIS applications. This is significant in the western states where ...
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Vantage Point: Watch Your Language
If we as surveyors sometimes find the language of deeds murky, imagine the misunderstandings among laypeople—many attorneys included. Recent clients had to defend themselves against new neighbors claiming a right to cross my clients' property, based upon recycled language in my ...
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Compass Pointers. In reference to "Training Recruiters: A New TwiST" by Tim Kent, LS, [Feb. 2009], here is a tip for compass pointing students. Take the pens out of your hand. A typical ball point pen will draw the needle considerably. Also, a cell phone within a few ...
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Survey Or No Survey: The Unlicensed Land Surveyor
When is locating someone's property corners or boundary lines not considered the practice of land surveying? Unfortunately, this question has become a gray area in the surveying profession, and some licensing boards are seemingly unable to control the actions of unlicensed ...
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April/May Articles posted

Editorial: SPAR 2009 and the Carlson User Conference The American Surveyor has covered a whole lot of territory since our last issue! As part of a second road trip, I attended both SPAR 2009 conference in Denver and the 2nd Annual Carlson User Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, with a quick trip out to Logan, Utah in between (more on that leg of the .... Read the Article
WowFactor: SOKKIA Mobile Reference Station
As GPS has been adopted by surveyors, its proven benefits­higher productivity and efficiency­have been recognized. The unfortunate tradeoff to these benefits remains the high system cost of a traditional base and rover setup. To reduce the costs of GPS surveying, many countries have installed a permanent RTK infrastructure which .... Read the Article
A Model Home For NASA's New Space Telescope
NASA commissioned construction of an environmental simulation test chamber which was completed in 1964 at Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. The facility, Chamber A, was invaluable for testing spacecraft and satellites before deployment to space. By testing spacecraft in an environment similar to ...
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John Austin Survey
To become an owner of land in 1824 under Mexican law one had to do certain things­pay a fee, take possession of the land, perform certain rites, and reside on and cultivate the land for a minimum of two years (this also meant defending one's life and properties against any war parties of ... Read the Article
Conference Review: GNSS - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? - Part 1
A December 2008 meeting hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California brought together not only the "Big 3" GNSS constellation providers but the new kids on the block as well, driving home the point that while GNSS may be "worldy" by nature it is getting "worldier" (if I can coin a term) by the .... Read the Article
Equipment Review: JAVAD GNSS Triumph-1
In the world of precision GPS, Javad Ashjaee continues to push the industry ahead with new technologies and new options. With roots that date back to the early days of Trimble Navigation, Javad was integral to the creation of the first combined GPS/ GLONASS system. More than a decade ago he was .... Read the Article
Direct Reflex vs. Standard Prism Measurements
Upon reading Mr. Pepling's product review of the Spectra Precision Focus 10 in the October 2008 issue, I took notice to one of the paragraphs on page 52. Mr. Pepling, and hopefully others, thought it would be interesting to see the results of a test comparing traditional prism measurements to ...
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Field Notes: Contemplating Cooley
Rules for retracing the subdivision of sections are well and good provided the rules were followed in the first place. Sometimes they were not. If you have already made that discovery for yourself, my story will sound familiar. If you have not, read on anyway. With a job like this it's better to live ...
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Vantage Point: Mapping the Zone
In March of 2007, the National Academies/National Research Council (NRC) informed me that I had been provisionally accepted as a member of "the National Research Council's Committee on FEMA Flood Maps: Accuracy Assessment and Cost-Effective Improvements". The first official meeting of ... Read the Article