Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Tribute to Stanislav "Stas" Sila-Novitsky, GNSS Pioneer and Longtime Javad Associate

A tribute with American Surveyor images:

Stanislav "Stas" Sila-Novitsky, GNSS Pioneer and Longtime Javad Associate, Passes in Russia

Stanislav "Stas" Sila-Novitsky, GNSS Pioneer and Longtime Javad Associate, Passes in Russia

Written by Glen Gibbons
Wednesday, 02 June 2010

Editor's note: The following article, by Glen Gibbons, the editor and founder of Inside GNSS, recently appeared on Glen's blog. We at The American Surveyor knew Stas very well and always considered him to be a friend. On our visits to Moscow he went out of his way to make us feel like family. In the next blog posting is a slide show that highlights some of the visit to the Izmailovsky Craft Market Glen mentions, as well as the JAVAD GNSS User Conference in 2008:

Very sad news from Moscow. Earlier this month, Stanislav Sila-Novitsky — Stas to his friends and colleagues — died unexpectedly after a short illness.

A member of the executive staff of Javad GNSS, Sila-Novitsky had a long career in space electronics engineering. During the Soviet era, he was the department head with the Russian Space Agency’s Institute of Space Device Engineering, which was responsible for the development of the overall GLONASS system electronics.

Around 1990, Sila-Novitsky joined Ashtech Inc., which had established a Moscow operation in the final years of the Soviet Union. It was the beginning of a 20-year relationship with Javad Ashjaee and the series of companies that the latter operated in Russia.

During those chaotic and difficult economic times, I heard from more than one Russian engineer this observation about the government, “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.” And, like many Russians, Stas’s humor also tended toward the ironic — but it was a gentle irony that I never saw veer into sarcasm.

I first met Stas in the mid-1990s but didn’t really get to know him until I visited Moscow in 2005 and 2007. Somewhat taciturn around strangers in settings outside Russia, he clearly became more comfortable, even expansive in his native land.

Although several pleasant memories suggest themselves — outings to Red Square on Moscow's Metro system — one stands out: the afternoon that he took time away from his work responsibilities to guide a small group of us personally through Moscow’s amazing Izmailovsky Craft Market.

He was careful about his guests' well-being. At night, when Stas accompanied us back to our hotel, he led us down this street, not the other one that looked the same but with dangers in the shadows. Then we watched as he walked back alone to Leningradsky Prospekt, where Stas would wave down a passing private car willing to serve as one of Moscow impromptu taxis and take him home.

I never learned a lot about Stas’s personal background. As echoed in his name, his family had come to Russia from Poland — or Russia had come to it as the borders moved back and forth in the 19th and 20th centuries.

I always meant to find out more about that history and thought there would always be another right time for that. But it never came, and now that moment has gone forever.

So, Stas’s passing teaches us the lesson once again: tell all our stories and ask for all theirs, drink all the toasts, take all the photos, visit all the sites desired but unseen, voice all our apologies and welcome their joys and regrets. When the opportunity to meet old friends appears, don’t turn aside or rush right by.

For life is uncertain, but death is not. And time flies; it doesn’t take the bus.

—Glen Gibbons


The American Surveyor Volume 7 Number 4 Articles Posted

Editorial: Having the Right Tools
Earthquakes, blizzards, floods, tornadoes, erupting volcanoes, an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, financial and economic instability, political upheaval and thwarted terrorist plots--the theme song for the first half of 2010 could well be "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." USGS records show that since 1900, an average of 16 earthquakes of magnitude-7 or ....Read the Article
Civic Duty - A Visit to Civic Engineering and Information Technologies
We've shared them before--stories about surveyor fathers and the sons who not only followed in their footsteps, but took the career to a whole new level. Clifton Ogden grew up in Gulf Shores, Alabama with a civil engineer father who enjoyed surveying. Ogden recalled his first summer in the field, spent locating wetlands. He used a ....
Read the Article
Phased Contracting
One of the biggest challenges in operating a profitable land surveying business is the impact of unexpected evidence and its effect on client relationships. Not surprisingly, the two are oftentimes related and when problems arise, it can affect one's business reputation along with the proverbial bottom line. If you are in business, it is assumed you intend to make a profit. If that is ...Read the Article
When Two Become One - A Look at the Law of Merger of Adjoining Parcels
A previously ignored fact buried in the hieroglyphics of a legal description suddenly presents possibilities to someone looking for value in their real estate, particularly in this economy. As we know, land that functions as a single property may actually include more than one distinct parcel or lot (we'll use these terms as synonyms). As to ...Read the Article
Building a Fully Functioning County GIS in Five Years
Five years ago Cochise County, Arizona embarked on a comprehensive plan to install a practical Geographical Information System. Today 300 county employees use it regularly. We attended the Arizona Geographic Information Council's 2009 Education and Training Seminar in Tucson in early November. Walter Domann, GIS Coordinator for Cochise County, explained how ...Read the Article
3-D Laser  Scanning
Full Steam Ahead - Applying 3-D Laser Scanning to a Boiler Plant Replacement Project
The engineers of Sebesta Blomberg & Associates in Roseville, Minnesota faced a daunting task in documenting existing conditions within the two central boiler plants at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The Yarbrough facility, built in 1937, contains three large boilers and an intricate network of catwalks, pipes, conduit, ductwork and structural steel supporting the boilers and the ....Read the Article
Reconnaissance: Rewriting Legal Descriptions
When presenting programs to persons in the title industry, the question is frequently asked about the tendency of some surveyors in some areas to write new descriptions for virtually any property they are surveying. The questions posed are often along the lines of "Why do they do this?" and "Which description is correct—­the old one or the new one?" The answer is often the same as ...Read the Article
Vantage Point: Professionalism, Logic, and Law
Three out of the four states in which I am licensed have mandatory continuing education requirements for renewing my professional land surveying licenses. The fourth is one of a minority without such requirements, including eight other states, several territories, and the District of Columbia. I don't consider it an imposition to comply with these requirements, and ...Read the Article
Which Came First? I just finished Chris Wickern's article "Whose Footsteps Are They?" [ 2010 Vol. 7 No. 3]. I enjoy the discussion points he puts forth. The cover photo was very true; I have a question about the location of the corner monument under the larger rock. Which came first—­the monument or the rock? Was the monument set under the large rock? What evidence was given for Mr. Dopuch to ...Read the Comments
Surveyors Report: Licensure by Apprenticeship: Effects on the Surveying Profession
The image of land surveying as a technician/trade image is increasingly growing. I make a case for moving away from the apprenticeship system toward an educational standard. A 1525 English document gives the word origin of survey, a French word of two parts--sur meaning "from above", and vey, meaning "to see"--that is, any method of identifying and measuring ground features and ...Read the Article