About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents

Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By

Product Reviews
Partner Sites







Spatial Media LLC properties




Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

The Curt Brown Chronicles: Surveyors Model Registration Print E-mail
Written by Compiled by Michael Pallamary, PS   
Saturday, 25 June 2016

A 65Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

September 1967
In 1956 at the annual PSD [Property Survey Division] meeting in Washington a motion was duly made (by me) seconded and passed that PSD of ACSM prepare a Model Registration Law. After some discussion by Gordon E. Ainsworth (then Chairman), Victor Ghent (then Secretary of the Division) and others, it was passed. A few months prior to the next meeting, I was appointed to chair the committee, and it was not until 1958 that general agreement of the committee was reached. By this time, Phil Bill was Chairman of PSD.

It has been said that no army can stop an idea whose time has come. With the degrading of surveying by the universities, especially by the engineering accreditation teams, it became obvious that it was only a matter of time until licensed surveyors would be forced into defensive activities or extermination. Adoption of the model law is a shift from a defensive position to an offensive position that has long been needed.

Is land surveying civil engineering? To me the only question is whether civil or other engineers are qualified to do land surveying. Licensing laws are for the protection of the public from the unqualified; they are not a device to give one group an exclusive franchise to make money on surveys.

If engineers are qualified, they should be given every opportunity to prove so by proper examination procedures. They should not be given the privilege by self-proclamation or by tradition. I have been around colleges enough, both as a professor and as an observer, to realize that the substantial majority of civil engineering graduates have little or no training in land surveying. In fact, other colleges (geology, forestry, etc.) have as many or more students taking the subject than do the engineering colleges.

The argument that most of the present licensed land surveyors could not pass an examination directed to the subject matter permitted under the new model law is without merit. If you were to ask all of the presently licensed engineers to take the recent engineering examination, most would fail. Knowledge required today is never equivalent to what was required yesterday, nor will it be equivalent to what will be required tomorrow. Ninety percent of all scientists who ever lived are alive today; it can only be expected that discovery and advancement will be much more rapid in the future than it was in the past. I can remember when knowledge of electronic distance measurement devices, photogrammetry, and electronic computers was not necessary for surveyors; these methods had not been invented yet. But does this mean that present day surveyors do not need knowledge in these areas? All examinations within a profession should reflect advancements in the areas of knowledge required; adoption of a model law with added requirements can mean only one thing - the examination to follow will be more difficult and more complex. I can well remember my college course in calculus that I had difficulty with; my son took it in high school. One thing is certain about the future: it will be different from the past; i.e., it will be more difficult.

I said I did not care whether land surveyors were classified as engineers or not. It would be wonderful if engineers were qualified land surveyors. But, as a group, they are not. Further, the situation gives no sign of improving. Hence, as of now, I see no other alternative for surveyors than to drop the last rudiments of the myth "surveying is engineering," and adopt the Canadian, Australian, South African, and New Zealand approach wherein surveying is treated as an entity of its own.

Author Michael Pallamary has compiled the writings and lectures of the late Curtis M. Brown. These works are published in The Curt Brown Chronicles.

A 65Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Marc Cheves, PS 
Editorial: A Great Year to be a Surveyor
Some magazines have what are called "theme" issues. That is, most of the content is focused on one particular subject. In my 22+ years of survey magazine publishing, my philosophy has always been to have a little bit of everything in each issue, thereby eliminating the possibility that ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Case Examinations: Halverson v. Deerwood Village
Whew! We really beat the snot out of Bryant v. Blevins and practical locations. Well this month we're back on new case that hit the Minnesota Supreme Court's docket in 1982. We've got the familiar gymnastics of jurisprudence featuring an extraordinary array of flying rope stretchers ...
Read the Article
Michel Philips 
Extreme Environment Surveying
A Franco-Chilean team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 rugged handheld for marine cave surveying, gathering data to classify the inaccessible northern half of Madre de Dios for UNESCO World Heritage. The team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 ....
Read the Article
Erik Dahlberg 
The Original Green Engineers
Sometimes, it's best just to leave things as you found them. That's the lesson shared by Dr. Richard Miksad and his students at the University of Virginia. As a result of studies covering nearly a decade, Miksad's teams have developed detailed ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself 49: No Dimensions
In square A-C-D-B with side S, C-E is tangent to the semicircle Q1 with diameter B-D. Q2 is the inscribed circle of A-C-E. The tangent to Q1 and Q2 meets the sides of the square at F and H and intersects C-E at t G. Q3 is the inscribed circle of C-G-H. What is the ratio of the radii of circles ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
Discovery on Grizzly Peak
When First Lieutenant Montgomery M. Macomb arrived in Carson City, Nevada, from Washington D.C., on July 28, 1878, his assigned survey crew from the 4th Artillery was waiting and ready for the new field season. At age 25, Macomb was the leader ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Fighting City Hall Over Land
Once upon a time (1989 to be exact) in a place not so far away from where I live, a man (Francis Galdo) bought a home across the street from a vacant parcel owned by the City of Philadelphia. That parcel, along with others, had been acquired by condemnation back in 1974 subsequent to a 1956 ....
Read the Article
Patrick C. Garner, PS 
Book Review: Boundary Retracement: Processes and Procedures
When I was in my mid-twenties and learning the honorable profession of land surveying, I was lucky to be guided by a mentor who would grab a book off his office shelf and say, "Every surveyor should have a copy of this!" The first example he waved at me was Davis, Foote and Kelly's Surveying ....
Read the Article


Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
contact Amerisurv


Carlson Unveils

press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content


News Feeds

Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 



The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
7820B Wormans Mill Road, #236
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax