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Snowmageddon 2016 has come and gone here on the East Coast. I hope you are warm and dry wherever you are, and more important, that you have enough work. The economy in last quarter of 2015 represented another cliff fall and we are seeing major moves within the industry. It's hard to believe that we have held on for seven years, but now the bad construction economy appears to be growing even worse.

On a brighter note, our February issue is distributing, and it contains several articles of note. In keeping with our policy of presenting new technology we think you can use to make money, the opening article screams drone. Another article about BIM and scanning caught my eye because of the challenges in dealing with elevations on gently-sloping floors for an existing building retrofit, something many of us surveyors can get all wiggly about. Also of interest to those of you making money with Elevation Certificates is Wendy Lathrop's article about the latest incarnation.

To see the flippy of the new issue you can click on the magazine cover to the right, or scroll down for individual articles. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a story to share.

Until next time,

Marc Cheves, PS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
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Thought Leader: Preserving the Profession
In recent years we have been faced with the fact that the number of licensed Professional Land Surveyors is declining rapidly. Then I read articles about the "one man" surveying companies, and how they are saving money, but who is going to save the profession? New technology has afforded ....
Read the Article
Michael J. Pallamary, PS 
Curt Brown Chronicles: The Challenging Future for the Land Surveyor
Exam Procedures: In some States, the examinee is not permitted to take the questions out of the test room, and he is sometimes made to sign a statement that he will not disclose or discuss the contents with anyone. This situation is probably created by a lack of funds to prepare a new set of ....
Read the Article
Jerry Fireman 
Photogrammetry Helps Surveyors Save Time, Accuracy
Surveying is a time and labor intensive process that requires extremely high levels of accuracy. Two North American surveyors are addressing this challenge by using photogrammetry to increase the number of points surveyed by several orders of ....
Read the Article
Kevin P. Corbley 
Complex 3D BIM Project Requires Mix of Technologies
A warehouse-style building in Los Angeles that once held administrative offices on upper floors and production equipment down below is being remodeled into a mixed-use facility. Numerous businesses including retail stores and restaurants are slated ....
Read the Article
Robert Galvin 
Software, Fieldwork Pay Off for Geomatics Students
Students in the geomatics classes at the Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada are getting a head start on their pursuit of a surveying career thanks to two key factors: a devoted surveyor-turned-instructor, and a powerful survey ....
Read the Article
Leatherneck Surveyors-Part 2-The Island Mappers
This is the second of a two-part series on the role of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey serving with the United States Marine Corps during World War II in the Pacific Ocean. As noted in Part I, eleven C&GS officers were called into the United States Marine Corps in 1942. Those officers ....
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Jason E. Foose, PS 
The HP 35s Calculator: Sliding Predetermined Area
This is an academic exercise. The solution method is not inclusive of all possible scenarios but rather limited to just that which is shown. Parting off a tract of land with a parallel line sliding along two sidelines can be accomplished by storing a few equations. The basic concept is ....
Read the Article
The Fading Hand Writing on the Wall. Great article, my grandson just informed us that they are not instructed to write or read cursive in school. Seems like there is going to be a need for people that can decipher Cursive Documents. Might be a good retirement job ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself: Quadrilateral Division
Divide quadrangle ABCD into two parts, with one part being one-third of the original area, by a line parallel with side DC, without using a quadratic equation, trial and error, coordinates, calculus or CADD. For the solution to this problem (and much more), please visit www.amerisurv.com ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Newest in the Ongoing Series
We go through this every few years: the Federal Emergency Management Agencys Elevation Certificate expires and a new one is not ready until several months post-expiration. Part of this is related to the need for each and every form issued by any federal agency to be reviewed and ....
Read the Article
Become a Certified Survey Technician (CST)

No matter what the future holds, prepare to meet challenges head on. Future-proof your resume by becoming a Certified Survey Technician (CST). This unique four-level certification program indicates official recognition by NSPS that a person can perform surveying tasks at a specific technical level.

Show what you can do! Decide between the field or office track. Visit the NSPS site for details.


For more than 20 years I have used the magazines I've edited to promote technology. I've done this because I saw in my own career how technology saved time and made for a better work product. Plus which, it made the work more fun. Little did I know that this technology would result in damage to the surveying profession because of one simple fact: technology enables non-surveyors to do things you always had to get a surveyor for.

Recently, the magazine has extensively covered the move by NCEES and the education community to open the floodgates to registration by eliminating the experience requirement. This has already happened in Idaho. Granted, technology does enable non-surveyors, but the public continues to be protected by registration requirements that protect the average person's single biggest purchase, their land.

Mike Pallamary attended the NCEES meeting in San Diego I mentioned in the last newsletter. His article about that will appear in a future issue. But my sense so far is that this watering-down push will not go away, and as Mike says, it's going to take all of us to convince the public why the current system is in their best interests. There are many reasons why the rights of property owners have evolved in our nation's history, and none of them have to do with watered down test-taking or course-providing.

Along the lines of watering down, one of the letters to the editor (you can see it in FeedBack above) picked up on Wendy Lathrop's column about the removal of the teaching of cursive writing in our schools. In a glass half-full approach, the writer thinks it will produce future work for those who can still decipher it. And indeed, several states are moving to continue teaching it. Some claim the elimination is part of the controversial Common Core curriculum.

Also in FeedBack are more letters about Mike Pallamary's article about the Supreme Court's establishment of the California border where it meets the sea. Even with the disagreement by some, the letter from BOEM vindicates our position. If you are interested, we have assembled all the articles and letters into a flippy HERE.

Educator Gary Jeffress has produced his annual Age Profile of Texas Registered Surveyors, and not surprisingly, the average age has crept from 57 to 58. Gary began the tabulation in 2005 when the average age was 54. Of interest to me is the fact that the 50-59 bracket has steadily declined as most of these folks moved into the 60+ bracket. But in my own glass half-full approach, the number of registrants under 40 has increased quite dramatically since 2005, and for most of this period, we've been dealing with the worst construction economy since the early 1930s. So, as I said in the last newsletter, and to paraphrase the famous movie, if we build it they will come. You can see Gary's insightful analysis in The Texas Surveyor HERE. And the Thought Leader in the new issue (see above) is all about this very subject.

Finally, and speaking of education, we lost one of the good guys last week as Dave Gibson passed after a long battle with ALS. We first met Dave when we made him part of the RedVector Dream Team of instructors. He wrote for the magazines many times, most recently about his experiences of teaching in France. During this period, he showed up at Intergeo in Hanover, and his thousand-watt smile lit up our booth. Always smiling and always kind and considerate, his Christian spirit always showed, and he will be missed by all who knew him. His obituary can be found HERE.

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Noted Surveyor and Educator Dave Gibson Passes
Construction Unemployment Rose in January
Dewberry to Produce Topography and Bathymetry for Puerto Rico
Topcon Announces Topcon Solutions Stores
Teledyne Optech Wins MAPPS Grand Award
MAPPS, NSPS Announce 2016 Conference
Global Mapper 17.1 Released
Sokkia Introduces SHC5000 Field Controller
New Manager To Oversee McKim & Creed Texas Operations
AXIS GeoSpatial Takes Delivery of the RIEGL LMS-Q1560
ASI Expands Capabilities with Leica Lidar Sensor and Camera
Septentrio PolaRx5 GNSS Receivers Now Shipping to UNAVCO
Topcon Releases Entry-Level ES Series Total Station
Nonresidential Spending Falls Again in December
VRMesh 9.0 Released with Significant Product Enhancements
Shoulda Played the Flute, a Vietnam Memoir by Dick Elgin
Tepid GDP Growth a Sign Construction Spending May Sputter
Woolpert Selected for Orthoimagery Collection in Florida
Trimble Introduces New Visible Green Beam Horizontal/Vertical Laser
3D Laser Mapping Continues to Lead the Way with Mobile Mapping
GPS Ground System Anomaly
Update of RIEGL's Terrestrial Software Suite Now Available
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