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     

FeedBack Print E-mail
Written by Letters to the Editor   
Friday, 31 October 2008

A 453Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Doing the Right Thing
Wendy, quite possibly the best article ever written in a surveyor's journal ["If Not Now, When? Sept. 2008]. It matters not how technically proficient we are, how much money we make or how well "esteemed" we seem to be in our profession when we face serious illness or death. What do our friends and relatives think about us? Do we make time for them? Do we care about them as much as we do our work? You are right, sometimes we get the priorities mixed up.

Recent events in my own life have brought this into focus. Family and friends have gone through serious health problems and sudden death. Hopefully, these events put us back in touch with reality. Too many want to "ignore" or "pass by" these events. I believe that being confronted with one's own death and eternity scare most people. Certainly not an uncommon attitude. That aside, who will really care how hard we worked 50 years from now, 100 years from now? The relationships we have with people are much more important than "getting the contract" and "closing the deal" and "finishing under budget." Yes, business and the making of a living are important and doing one's job to the best of our ability is essential. But we so often lack the balance necessary to "do the right thing" when these inconvenient circumstances arise. Would to God that we would see and do "the right thing" and not "the convenient thing." Keep up the great work. Keep up the balance of life and living!
Don Grower
Via the Internet

Lathrop Replies
Thank you so much for your comments (and compliment). I have to remind myself constantly that an unfinished detail of work will still be there tomorrow without disaster striking, but a dinner date with my husband or a reunion with old friends or a chance to spend time with someone who needs a little extra help or TLC are all one time opportunities. In the long run, it is not work that makes my world brighter (although I love what I do). It is the people in my life who make the real difference. Incidentally, I have just bought a pair of tap dancing shoes and take my first class in less than two weeks! --W.L.

Our Ancient, Honorable Craft
The arrival of The American Surveyor each month is always the occasion for a brief intermission in my busy life to see what latest antics my professional colleagues have been up to. Leininger's article "Can Retracements Be Confidential?" [Sept. 2008] caught my eye. In his comments, Mr. Leininger mentions a former boss who would not share his records with others. He also mentions under present care, those records are now open to all­a move to the common good of all professional surveyors in my estimation.

I have been licensed for 56 years as a land surveyor in the states of California (L.S. 2712) and Nevada (L.S. 737). The attitude of Mr. Leininger's former boss was common (but not universal) when I apprenticed with my father before WW I1. What a surveyor knew and had in his records was his stock in trade and his reputation. If he was known to have more "secret" information at his disposal than the other "upstarts" in the county, he benefitted greatly. Therefore if he knew his competition had started at a corner which was not what it was supposed to be, he was one up on the other guy. It was not a matter of "Gotcha!" although it may be seen that way.

In brief, my answer to Mr. Leininger's question is a loud and clear NO! So long as no monumentation is done and everything is strictly on paper, that is work product. The instant a monument is set, confidentiality is gone and the hammer of litigation is cocked. That set monument is an assertion of sovereignty and affects any adjoining property owner(s) who are the general public. Something all of us should remember, each and every survey is the opinion of that surveyor, not a judicial decision.

As indicated by my bona fides above, I am a member of a vanishing group of practitioners who are "professional dinosaurs" in their own trade. I read the professional publications, yet I really don't know what they are talking about anymore. The equipment is so expensive and complicated that my exposure is stopping by and watching a modern surveyor use it.

I was privileged to teach surveying in a community college. That experience opened my eyes to the fact that the present field surveyor is a button pusher and the present office surveyor has a program in his computer that will do everything for him but wipe his nose. (Back off, gang­I am merely making a statement by using sarcasm.) But to emphasize that point, what happens when the power goes down or there are no more AA cells?

Almost all of the professional literature I see today deals with modern, equipment, modern approaches and modern procedures­and rightly it should. This is today, not 100 years ago. Yet when I talk to the modern generation of surveyors, they have an overwhelming interest in what I used to do or how my father used to do it.

I investigated my father's generation of surveyors and discovered a lineage of equipment and procedures that even I, the (now) old timer, wasn't aware of. For example, did you know there were five different varieties of thumb tacks to fasten your drawing to your drafting board? Did you know that old texts devoted three pages of text and diagrams to the complex task of sharpening a lead drafting pencil? Have you adjusted you goniasomometre today? Thought not.

When you consider the Golden Gate Bridge and Boulder Dam were designed with a book of logarithms and probably laid out with a Gurley transit, maybe the "old boys" were onto something.

With that in mind I began to acquire information from textbooks of that day and old photos from my father's albums dealing with the general period ranging from 1890-1920. I ended up with two complete books. One deals with my father's tenure with a USGS survey crew mapping a portion of the Cascade Mountains in 1912-1913. This is almost a photo essay of what they did and how they did it.

The other book is a compilation of the equipment of that day, things he might have used and even more precious, the prices he would have had to pay for it. The price of one laser scanner today would have bought everything in the catalog and probably the company that made it. Times do change.

Our profession of surveying is an ancient and honored craft. Without it, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Aqueducts of Rome and the Cathedrals of Europe might never have come into being. It is a history that should not be allowed to disappear.
William W. (Bill) Grimm, LS
Coupeville, WA

Got some feedback? We always enjoy hearing from our readers. You can contact us via our website at www. amerisurv.com,or send a letter to: The American Surveyor, P.O. Box 4162, Frederick, MD 21705-4162. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Due to the variety of titles used by licensed surveyors throughout the U.S., we use the title LS after the name of any registered land surveyor.

< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article


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


JAVAD Intros
Spoofer Buster

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
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax