Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The American Surveyor Vol 8 No 7

Editorial: Putting the Lean On Manufacturing—A Visit to Topcon
The manufacturing area of Topcon's US headquarters in Livermore, California was a veritable beehive of activity during my recent visit. Colin Kavanagh, Senior VP for Operations, called attention to the "lean" manufacturing processes that have "eliminated expenditures for resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer". To achieve this, Topcon cast a critical eye on ....
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Surveying with Google Earth
Over the past few years, I have become convinced that Google Earth represents an extraordinary opportunity to visualize and communicate survey data, though I too was skeptical of its value as a professional land surveying tool in the beginning. At the time, Metzger + Willard, Inc. (MWI) was making AutoCAD base maps with orthophotos in the vicinity of NGS control stations. Our reasoning was that, equipped with ....
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Conference Review: Hexagon User Conference 2011
What is Hexagon and what is the business of Hexagon? A company that decades ago was "importing tuna fish," according to CEO Ola Rollén, is now a key international player in geospatial products and services, metrology, design and process; this by acquiring and integrating a long list of established companies successful in their own ....
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Driving the Islands
When the Public Works department for Washington state's San Juan County was challenged with identifying and mapping roadside assets in an effort to improve traffic safety, it responded by sending out crews with hand-held GPS units. They quickly realized both the scope such a project entailed and the overall inefficiency of using that technique. Knowing the importance of the effort, however ...
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How Precise is OPUS? Part 3: The Rest of the Story
This is the third of three articles discussing the precision obtainable with the Online Positioning User Service (OPUS) offered by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS). The first two articles appeared in preceding issues of this magazine. OPUS is a Web-based utility available at to which surveyors and others can ...
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Footsteps: Changes to the 2009 Manual of Surveying Instructions
In a previous article, published online in June 2011, I discussed why the 2009 update to the Manual of Surveying Instructions was needed and how the BLM implemented it. The article is available in the Amerisurv Exclusive Online section of The American Surveyor website at What follows here are highlights of some of those changes in the 2009 edition of ...
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Vantage Point: Noticing a Dirty Past
Accutherm, Inc. manufactured thermometers containing mercury in Franklinville, New Jersey until 1994. It notified the state's Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) of its ceased operations, NJDEP issued cleanup orders to Accutherm, and when Accutherm didn't comply, the site was referred to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an assessment. The EPA's 1996 report ....
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Surveying `Da Situation: An Unexpected Gift
I believe we have all heard stories or had personal experiences of feeling as though someone close that we have lost reached out to touch us in some way. I had just that kind of experience recently. Back in the mid 1960s, my Dad was a deputy in the local sheriff's department. He had that job for several years until he found another one that paid a little better and freed up his weekends. Well, the county ....
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The American Surveyor Vol 8 No 6

Editors Corner:
Do You Depend on GPS to Make Money?
By Marc Cheves, LS


Surveyors on a Busman’s Holiday
In their time off, a group of surveyors investigate an interesting jog in a state boundary.
By Paul Hoinowski

The Elevation Certificate Translated (Part 2 of 2)
Our flood plain experts continue with their instructions for filling out the form.
By C. Barton Crattie, LS, CFM and Wendy Lathrop, LS, CFM

The Javad GNSS Triumph V.S.
Our Nashville correspondent examines the latest offering from Javad Ashjaee.
By Clifton Ogden, EI, LSIT

Conference Review: The Second Optech Innovative LiDAR Solutions Conference
LiDAR technology continues to boldly move forward.
By Gene Roe, LS, PE, PhD

How Precise is OPUS? (Part 2 of 3)
Experts from NGS examine available precision estimates.
By Richard Snay, Kevin Choi, Gerald Mader, Charles Schwarz, Tomás Soler and Neil Weston

Reconnaissance: Developments and Questions Regarding the New 2011 ALTA/ACSM Standards
Our ALTA expert shines more light on the new Standards.
By Gary Kent, LS

Earthquake in Christchurch
A land surveyor shares his eyewitness account of the unexpected quake that struck Christchurch during his visit to New Zealand.
By Malcolm Anderson, FRICS, FCInstCES (ret.)

Surveyors Report: The Face of Surveying
A Louisiana surveyor provides a history of the national organizations and a possible way forward for the future. J. Anthony Cavell, LS, CFedS
By J. Anthony Cavell, LS, CFedS

The American Surveyor Vol 8 No 5


Editors Corner:
Military Surveying, Then and Now
By Marc Cheves, LS


Subsurface Modeling
New technology that employs GNSS and the capability to “see underground” holds promise for surveying utilities.
By Les MacFarlane, LS, and Jim Waite

The Elevation Certificate {translated} Part 1
FEMA certifications continue to provide work for surveyors. Unfortunately, some fall short of properly completing the paperwork.
By C. Barton Crattie, LS, CFM and Wendy Lathrop, LS, CFM

Reconstructing an Accident Scene
GNSS RTK from Altus Positioning Systems helps the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reconstruct collision scenes.
By Daniel C. Brown

Product Review: Sokkia SRX
Our expert product reviewer examines this popular robotic total station.
By Shawn Billings, LS

How Precise is OPUS? Part 1: Experimental Results
Thousands of surveyors are using OPUS. Do they understand the legal ramifications of the underlying accuracy and precision?
By Richard Snay, Kevin Choi, Gerald Mader, Charles Schwarz, Tomás Soler and Neil Weston

Burt’s Solar Compass: It Conception, Development, Manufacturing, Marketing and Daily Use by Robert C. Miller
By Jack N. Owens, LS

The American Surveyor Vol 8 No 4


Editors Corner:
Angular Accuracy
By Marc Cheves, LS


Mr. Bilby’s Elegant Assembly, Being both Elegant and Sublime
Long before GNSS, triangulation angle-turners had to take to the air.
By C. Barton Crattie, LS, CFM

Star Crossing & Stone Monuments
The USGS releases a circular about early-day control surveying in Colorado.
By J. B. Guyton, LS

The Story of a Stone
Metes and bounds Colonial states still depend on stone monuments set long ago.
By Timothy S. Guisewhite, LS

Peter Canter and Andrew Stott
Mapping Interior Spaces with Speed, Ease & Accuracy
A growing market—with opportunities for surveyors—is served by the Applanix TIMMS.
By Peter Canter and Andrew Stott

Vantage Point:
Signs of the Times
By Wendy Lathrop, LS, CFM

Rj Zimmer, LS
GIS Matters: Point Data as GIS Features—ASCII
Continuing with our series on how surveyors can become involved in GIS.
By Rj Zimmer, LS

Footsteps: Claudino v. Pereira
This 2008 California case may have application across the country.
By Landon Blake, LS

Gavin Schrock
Broadband vs. GPS
Do not panic, but be prepared to panic.
By Gavin Schrock, LS