Monday, December 20, 2010

Vol 7 No 9 Articles Posted

Editorial: Winds of Change
The Windy City lived up to its name during a recent visit to Chicago where we attended a press event hosted by LizardTech, the leader in file compression. Those of you who deal with aerial images--for example, as backdrops for your land development maps--have undoubtedly encountered the company's popular multi-resolution seamless image database file format, MrSID, commonly pronounced ....Read the Article
CPS-98—An Odd Geodetic Survey Crew
The following paragraph is found on page 9 of the official history of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey in World War II: "To provide the additional staff needed, and to replace employees who joined the armed forces, many changes in personnel were made during the war. Since very few experienced persons were available for employment ....Read the Article
Laser Scanning Mushpot Cave
The concept for this project was hatched in the brilliance-inducing state one achieves by moving rapidly between the dim, flickering ambiance of a GIS computer screen and the dim, flickering ambiance of a bat-filled lava tube cave, which were not dissimilar to the conditions in which I interned as a cartographic technician at the Lava Beds National ....Read the Article
Snay Pearson
Coping with Tectonic Motion
Using GPS technology, surveyors can easily measure positional coordinates with centimeter-level accuracy. As a consequence of this capability, surveyors are now exposed to coordinates that change over time due to plate tectonics. In the contiguous United States (CONUS), the fastest changes in coordinates occur in California, because the state lies almost entirely within the boundary ... Read the Article
Rendezvous 2010 Recap
Rendezvous, in the plural sense, are more than meetings--they are gatherings and collections of brand spanking new perspectives on ancient, old and archaic facts in surveying history. Over the past 14 years the Surveyors Historical Society has held memorable meetings in memorable settings, studying many varied and memorable ...Read the Article
Vantage Point: Crawlspaces and Basements
Surveyors have been having trouble describing buildings for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since time immemorial, or at least since the introduction of building diagrams to categorize general construction techniques. It seemed that every structure we encountered in the field fell between the cracks in terms of conforming to one or another of the proffered examples. The most recent ...Read the Article
Real Time GNSS Network in New Mexico
Think RTK without a base station and you have a Real Time Network (RTN). No more shuffling through datasheets to find a nearby control point or doing recon for a station with unobstructed sky visibility and clear line of sight to the jobsite. No need to set up the unit in morning and tear it down in the evening. No more searching for an open frequency. Just get out of your vehicle and start surveying ....Read the Article
Surveyors Report: It Started at the Fair
On the opening day of the 2010 State Fair, the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors started a Height Modernization Survey. This is a volunteer effort across the state with private surveyors donating their time and resources. Public surveyors from state and federal agencies also take part. We started the survey immediately following Governor Jay Nixon's official opening of the fair when he ...
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Vol 7, No 8 Articles Posted


Guest Editorial:
The Sky Refuses to Fall—GPS is NOT Dead!
By Gavin Schrock, LS


Tech Show
New Tech Showcase:
Environment Analysis from JAVAD GNSS and MOVE3 Moves to the U.S. Survey Market

Just Say You’ve Been There
Even surveyors have assumed the Arctic Circle is a fixed line of latitude on the surface of the earth. Not so.
By Eric Stahlke, LS, CFedS

Hard Work, Miserable Conditions—Surveying Tennessee’s Cumberland Trail
Even though the title sounds grim, what surveyor wouldn’t relish the thought of getting paid to camp out?
By Brad Longstreet

Another Coordinate System—This Time Without Survey Marks
As NGS prepares for the future, the former NGS Director addresses a few implementation questions.
By Lewis A. Lapine, PhD, LS

Product Review: Nikon Nivo C
Our reviewer comes up with an intriguing use for this full-featured, compact instrument.
By Shawn Billings, LS

Vantage Point:
By Wendy Lathrop, LS, CFM

GIS Matters:
Something for Nothing
Rj Zimmer, LS

Society Committees Adopt Draft of New 2011 ALTA/ACSM Survey Standards
By Gary Kent, LS

Monday, October 18, 2010

Volume 7, Number 7 Articles Posted

Make Me a Map of the Valley
Under clear skies and warmer than normal temperatures, nearly 100 people gathered for the 14th annual Surveyors Rendezvous. Guests were treated to an extraordinary three-night stay onboard the legendary Delta Queen steamboat. Designated as a National Historic Landmark with more than two million miles of maritime history beneath her bow, the Delta Queen is now one of Chattanooga's most ....Read the Article
Digitizing the Legacy
"We are missing data on Washington's brow and cravat." "Even with the data from the scans on the talus slope?" "The angle is just too steep. We have to use the rig." "What about the scans from Lincoln, or the chins?" Two clicks brought up a different modelspace. "No,the angle was too oblique to catch the front of Washington." "We designed the rig to ....Read the Article
Machine Control: Lessons Learned
I am continually asked about the opportunities for land surveyors in the machine control market and I have written a couple past articles about these opportunities. But I am more curious about what the next trend is for machine control. What else is over the horizon that we haven't seen yet? What can land surveyors do to help fill the void that machine control has left in our revenues? Being involved in ... Read the Article
Not What, but Where is Qibla?
Back in the Spring of 2009, we received a routine request from one of our finer regular clients to perform a routine boundary and topographic survey. Sporting a brick rancher, the property backed up to an interstate highway, fronting on a somewhat secluded road but less than a mile from one of Tennessee's largest shopping malls. We completed the ...Read the Article
OPUS-DB and Uncertainty Testing
The Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi conducted a research project with the National Park Service (NPS) and National Geodetic Survey (NGS) to determine the heights of five peaks in the Guadalupe Mountains. This mountain range is located in West Texas near its border with New Mexico ...Read the Article
Vantage Point: Safety or Fraud?
About six years ago, as I chatted with a client as he drove us through northeastern Missouri to visit a work site, the inevitable questions of origins arose. Mine is a complicated tale of a family on the move from coast to coast, but his was simpler: "I'm from a small town in Pennsylvania I'm sure you've never heard of, Centralia." I turned toward him in sudden surprise and replied, "Oh, I know where that ....Read the Article
More on Apprenticeship. I have been following the discussions about this subject at various locations and in many forms for many years now. In Dave Gibson's article "Licensure by Apprenticeship: Effects on the Surveying Profession" [Vol 7, Issue 4], he makes some good points. However, what I find difficult to accept about most of the opinions I have heard is that the argument seems to be always ...Read the Comments
Surveyors Report: Making the Most of the Recession
The Barnett Shale, the second largest producing onshore domestic natural gas field in the US, stretches over North Texas. It is still actively being discovered. Young and Associates Surveying and Mapping, LLC was formed in 2007 as the Barnett Shale was booming for natural gas exploration. As land surveyors who specialize in this niche market, we were in an optimal position to step in and step up ...
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vol.7 No.6 Article Posted

Editorial: Maps as a Metaphor
"I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us--everything that exists--proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision." There are many surveyors and mappers and members of the precision community who concur with these words of Thomas Edison. Economy, too, hangs on immutable laws. One of the ....Read the Article
Measuring a Caribbean Disaster
On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the city of Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city of Haiti. Tens of thousands of buildings collapsed, and more than 200,000 people died in the disaster. Earthquakes are not unexpected in Haiti. The country sits astride several fault lines, among them the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault ....Read the Article
3D-Laser Scanning and Surveying Collide
LandAir Surveying started business in 1988 performing site surveys and topographic surveys for contractors in Georgia and surrounding states with two survey crews and a total staff of less than 10. By 1998 the firm expanded to surveying cell tower sites for the telecommunications industry (more than 3,000 sites in four years) using ...Read the Article
Another Triumph!
He's done it again. Javad Ashjaee has released an impressive state-of-the-art product that enables surveyors to expand their GNSS capabilities. On June 29, 2010 Javad unveiled the Triumph VS at the company's 40,000 square foot newly designed headquarters and JAVAD EMS boardmanufacturing facility in San Jose, California. Over the decades ...Read the Article
Product Review: Hemisphere GPS R220
One of the recent trends in precision GPS manufacturing is the enclosed, fully integrated receiver. This is no doubt in response to market demands by surveyors in the field for gear that offers more durability and less complexity in setting up and getting to work. This trend has certainly offered surveyors many benefits, however, it has also ushered in a few limitations. For instance, many of these ...Read the Article
Comprehensive Collection
Recording the location, dimensions and physical attributes of every piece of equipment constituting rural utilities throughout the United States might seem like a tall order. But information tools used to build a GIS have advanced so much in recent years that the endeavor is not only possible, but plausible. Great Falls, Montana-based GeoNav Group International, Inc. recently acquired the technology to pull ....Read the Article
Doing a Proper Job: I have a better reason for the legal profession insisting on a metes and bounds descriptions for dependent resurveys than clerk mentality or ancient check lists. In his article "Rewriting Legal Descriptions" [Vol. 7, Num. 4], Gary Kent's example of "the most egregious example of description rewriting is the preparation of a metes and bound description for a property that is a lot in ...Read the Comments
Vantage Point: "Just" What?
Several months ago my husband and I were working on a rail to trail conversion in our neighborhood, digging out debris and planting trees. At one point I was separating the junk found in the digging process from the recyclable beer cans and glass bottles when someone walked up and started talking to me. With my head still down, in the midst of trying to subdue a long strand of barbed wire into a ...Read the Article

Monday, July 19, 2010

Volume 7 Number 5 Articles Posted

Guest Editorial: Aphorisms for the Surveyor
In place of my editorial in this issue, I thought our readers would enjoy these words of wisdom shared by Dr. Dick Elgin. "For many years I have delivered to state surveyor association meetings a seminar on how to improve one's surveying business. Its current revision is based on my 36 years of ....Read the Article
Longstreet - Murtha
Big Ship {Tight Squeeze}
With a clearance of about 226 feet between Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) and the span underside of San Francisco's Bay Bridge, there's usually plenty of room for the world's biggest ships to pass through on their way to the Port of Oakland. But ....Read the Article
Herr Niebuhr and the Remarkable Traverse
So began a personal adventure that continues to this day. Who was this Carsten Niebuhr chap? This we know: Born March 17, 1733, he was a farmer in the moist marshlands of coastal northern Germany, a fellow first learning alphabets and mathematics at 22 years of age, a student .... Read the Article
The Largest Non-BLM Cadastral Retracement in History
Maricopa County, Arizona, is the 14th largest county of roughly 2,950 counties in the country. It contains roughly 5,904,616 acres within its bounds, over 25 municipalities and communities and more than 3.5 million people who call it home. It is ....Read the Article
GIS Matters: The Power of Place
Geographic Information Systems--the powerful combination of visualization tools and spatial data--are ubiquitous today. People use GIS for many applications such as online searches for retail sources of products and services, as navigational aids in cars, planes, and boats, for ....Read the Article
Model Behavior: The How-To Guide to Successful Surface Modeling, Part 4
We've been examining some of the pitfalls in surface modeling based on differing source information. The last article [Dec. 2009] dealt with the common errors associated with using drawn contours as source ....Read the Article
Vantage Point: Beating Axles into Plowshares
As businesspeople, we have always been warned to diversify our clientele and services so that we don't suffer so badly when one client or one line of work no longer provides us the same (or any) income. But the fortunes of communities and cities often rise and fall due to a single ....Read the Comments
Survey Affidavit Of No Change
Many professional land surveyors know all too well about the survey affidavit of no change, its negative effects on the surveying profession, and the impact it has on the public. If a land surveyor's primary duty is to safeguard life, health, property and promote the public welfare, then perhaps an ....Read the Article