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     

Editorial: Having the Right Tools Print E-mail
Written by Marc Cheves, LS   
Saturday, 22 May 2010

A 189Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

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 greater have occurred worldwide each year. While their devastating effects vary greatly according to population centers, statistically speaking, there don't appear to be more earthquakes than usual.

The FEMA website maintains a page titled "Declared Disasters by Year or State." At the time of this writing, major disasters resulting from weather had been declared in 28 states across the country.

Tennessee is one of the states on the list. Between the time that we visited with Clifton Ogden at Civic Engineering & Information Technology in Nashville, (the subject of this month's cover feature) and the time of publication, Civic employees and businesses across the middle portion of the state were forced into high gear.

Throughout the weekend of May 1st, 2010, Nashville experienced the greatest 24-hour rainfall ever recorded. Most areas experienced inundation only predicted during a 500-year event. Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, County Music Hall of Fame, NFL Titan's Stadium, as well as a significant portion of downtown Nashville were under water for days as the Cumberland River crested at more than 50 feet (typical flow is 15 feet).

While the rise of the Cumberland River caused severe inundation flooding, it was the flash flooding of local streams and creeks that caused road and culvert washouts and severe undermining across Nashville and Davidson County. Ogden and his team found themselves working until midnight every day as Civic assisted Metro Nashville with emergency safety assessments, the organization of inspection data, and what was referred to as "infrastructure triage"—where bridges, culverts and roadways were inspected and closed for safety or patched and cleared to be reopened. At the peak of the disaster, 115 roads were closed due to infrastructure failure. Amazingly, within one week Metro Nashville Public Works had performed emergency repairs and reopened all but five of the roads.

Additionally, Civic assisted Metro in the determination of the water levels at various locations throughout downtown. Because the waters receded rather quickly, "pumping wars" occurred as basements of these large buildings--some with more than 40 feet of water, equating to millions of gallons--were simultaneously pumped out in the downtown streets. This was potentially creating a second flood for neighboring businesses. Measurements had to be taken periodically to compare orthometric elevations of water levels in local areas with the USGS river gauge elevation on the Cumberland River to verify that the stormwater system was able to handle the water from the basements.

A Profession or a Trade?
For the most part, Clifton Ogden's company has fared well during the current recession by diversifying its services. In this issue, surveying Professor Dave Gibson states his case for surveying education. While I agree with his position, there is no getting around the importance of OJT, mentoring, and apprenticing to learn boundary surveying and how to examine evidence. Sure, there's a huge amount of book learnin' that can and should be done in a classroom setting. But there's no replacement for having been on the ground.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 189Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< 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