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Our May issue is in the mail, and Jeff Winke's recap of the Topcon Technology Roadshow I wrote about in the last newsletter is leading the Hit Parade so far. In second place is Jerry Penry's fascinating article about dozens of orphan vertical networks. Because many of these datums are not connected to the national network, some are wildly at variance with NGVD 29.
A dark horse from the April issue, and leading that Hit Parade, is Jim Demma's article warning surveyors to keep their mouths shut when it comes to expressing an opinion about who owns what property-wise. A word to the wise... One of those rare individuals who is both a PS and an attorney, I'm pleased to report that Jim says he has more articles in the works.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a story you'd like to share. And please scroll down to see the rest of the new line-up. Plenty of great articles, something for everyone, and as always, the only surveying magazine with a real surveyor as the editor.
Until next time,
Marc Cheves, PS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
Topcon's Technology Roadshow

Technology is constantly changing. Understanding how these changes impact your business and boost profitability is now more important than ever.

With our "we'll bring it to you" concept, the Topcon Technology Roadshow makes it convenient for anyone to learn how these industry innovations can help your business increase productivity for an ever-changing environment.

Editorial: Takin' It to the Streets
Over the past 20 years, we have journeyed many times to the Bay Area in California to visit magazine clients. What's not to like about great weather and excellent food? So, it was with pleasure that we recently attended the launch of the 2014 Topcon Technology Roadshow in Livermore, the ....
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Gary Kent, PS
Reconnaissance: The Surveyor's Roles & Responsibilities
A few weeks ago, I appeared on NSPS Executive Director Curt Sumner's radio show (broadcast weekly on along with well-known author and speaker Jeff Lucas and noted New Jersey surveyor Bruce Blair. The theme of the program was to encourage professional surveyors to ....
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Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Knowing When to Stop
There have been two big automobile recalls in the last several weeks, accompanied by fines in the billions, due not just to defective features but because of the manufacturers' failures to notify the public of them. For Toyota and Lexus, the problem (attributed to 12 deaths) has been ....
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Michael J. Pallamary, PS 
Angle Points: If We Don't Fix Things Who Will?
One of my favorite photographs, one that inevitably evokes a comment from my wife, is that of a group of young couples out for dinner. Every one of them is texting on their smart phones, some, to each other as they sit side by side. Everyone is pressing little buttons and staring at small ....
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Curt  Brown 
The Curt Brown Chronicles: Riparian Boundaries
In Oregon v. Corvallis Sand Company, the Supreme Court of the United States on January 12, 1977, by a vote of 6 to 3, reversed a previous case (Bonelli Cattle Co. v. Arizona, 414 U.S. 313 in 1973) and declared that state law governs the location of riparian boundaries within a state. The ....
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Chad & Linda Erickson 
Land Locators, Claim Jumpers & Drop Kickers Part II
Walt Coburn, the hero of Part I wasn't the only settler who suffered from the actions of claim jumpers, nor the only one who responded with a drop-kick. Near Edmonton Canada in 1882 a land jumper's house was pushed off a bank to smash on ....
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Jerry Anderson, PS 
Wow! I'm an LSIT!! (uh... NOW what I do?)
At a recent gathering of Land Surveyors, it was mentioned than many Land Surveyors In Training aren't sure what path they should take to prepare for the Professional Land Surveyors exam. Some, I'm told, as soon as they meet the requirements to take the exam, take it "cold", with little or no ....
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Jerry Penry, PS 
The Early Vertical Datums of the U. S. Geological Survey
During the 1896 field season, the surveying crews of the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) engaged in higher quality and more precise topographic mapping and spirit leveling than had been previously attempted. This change was largely prompted ....
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David W. Gibson, Ph.D., PS 
A "Typical" Boundary Survey in France—A Visiting Professorship
I was invited to do a 6-month visiting professorship at a distinguished university surveying school named E.S.G.T. (l'École Supérieure des Géomètres et Topographes) in Le Mans France, about 70 miles southwest of Paris. My task was not to teach, but to research how the French ....
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Jeff Winke 
Fresh Ideas + Solutions Come Directly to You
The concept of a traveling show in America appears to have originated with the 1893 Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition, also called the Chicago World's Fair. The traveling shows that branched out from that expo targeted a circuit of cities ....
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John Matonich, PS 
Things I've Learned: Starting The Next Chapter
I was heading to one of my most favorite spots on the planet not too long ago and had a chance to reflect on a few things. I have made the normally 9 hour drive to my place on Lake Gogebic countless times and it never seems to get old. Sometimes it's an 8 hour trip and sometimes it is a 12 ....
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Changing the game in point cloud conversion

Pointfuse™ is a powerful modelling engine that quickly turns vast point cloud data sets into high-fidelity vector models. Designed for engineers, architects and construction professionals, Pointfuse™ uses advanced statistical techniques to convert point clouds into accurate vector models that can then be manipulated using any industry-standard CAD system.

Download the New Pointfuse™ Vector Viewer free.


For quite some time Mike Pallamary has been telling me about a problem with FEMA maps in the San Diego area. Homes that are at the top of tall cliffs and have never been in the floodplain are now in the floodplain on new maps. This has been happening elsewhere so I've encouraged Mike to write about it. As surveyors we have understood for years that the vertical aspects of many FIRMs have been suspect, but common sense usually prevailed, and surveyors were always invovled in righting the wrongs and helping citizens get out from under an onerous requirement.

featureBut recently, Mike learned about an NBC investigative report and an FBI investigation into allegations that wholesale LOMAs and LOMRs have been made to maps that remove obviously flood-prone properties like that shown to the left from the need to purchase flood insurance, thereby saving these properties millions of dollars in annual premiums. Mike has written a two-part article about this, part one of which will appear in June.

Occassionally readers ask me why we use the magazine to address controversial issues. Frankly, if we don't, who will? We have published many articles about how flood certs and Biggert-Waters represent a real business opportunity for surveyors, only now to see this opportunity apparently be co-opted and corrupted by greedy companies who have no surveyor involvement and officials, some of whom are former FEMA employees, who appear to be looking the other way. If wealthy and influential property owners are able to "opt out" of paying their premiums, who do you think will have to pick up the tab? While the chances of these stories getting national news attention is slim, we'll continue doing what we can to promote discussion and resolution.

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RIEGL USA to Exhibit and Present at AUVSI's Unmanned Systems 2014
CT/NY Surveyor Posthumously Honored with State’s First Final Point Marker
Webinar: Maximize Your GNSS Handheld Device with Laser Offsets
RIEGL USA to Exhibit and Present at sUSB-Expo
Trimble Introduces Compaction Control System
FARO Launches Complete Metrology Software with FARO CAM2 Measure 10.3
Bentley Expands Reach of Bentley LEARNing Conference
Optech Joins Other Teledyne Companies at SPIE DSS 2014 in Baltimore
11 Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom
NANU 2014039 Regarding CNAV Messages on the GPS L2C and L5 Signals
Maryland Society of Surveyors Selects John M. Palatiello & Associates
DOD Announces Start of Civil Navigation Message Broadcasting
11th SPAR International Conference Wraps Up in Colorado Springs
Air Force to Implement CNAV Messages on the GPS L2C and L5 Signals
GLONASS Failure Caused by Faulty Software – Roscosmos
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    E-Magazine - April 2014: Vol. 11, #4
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