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Our July issue is in the mail, and as I mentioned last time, is full of great content. Scroll down for new articles.
I've had many many people ask me over the years how the USGS made its early-day maps. This month's lead cover feature is a pleasant blast from the past, plane tables and alidades. Few today would dispute the fact that total stations and data collectors are a requirement for topo surveys, but there was something nice about the sense of accomplishment gained from the plane table operator bringing back a map when he returned to the office.
Much respect is due to those "artists" who could see and understand what they were mapping, and they didn't encounter any hiccups with the TIN software. The present-day software is great, but the early versions occasionally allowed contours to cross. Added to this is the fact that the USGS made extensive use of this type of gear first for creating maps, and later for checking aerially-derived maps. The late ASPRS historian and former USGS plane table man, Abe Anson, wrote a eBook about all this that's available for $15 here.
Until next time,
Marc Cheves, PS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
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Editorial: Turning Points
With this issue we are pleased to introduce some new columnists! Stephen Blaskey, a licensed surveyor and graduate of the Corpus Christi GIS program, looked at his survey practice and detected areas which would benefit from the application of GIS. Topics for upcoming instalments ...
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The Last Plane Table Surveyor?
John Sanford, 83, of Lakewood, Colorado, may be the last, or almost last, plane table surveyor in the central U.S.A. John purchased his alidade and plane table for $70 in 1950. John's most recent job was a complex topographic survey of a ....
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The Lost Graves of Tarawa
The island of Tarawa today is an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, a former British colony of the Gilbert Islands. It consists of 24 islets, eight of which are inhabited principally by a Micronesian population that subsists on some minor exports and on ....
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The Survey Association: The Past, Present and Future
This article is about the UK Land & Hydrographic Survey Association (, or TSA as it is better known. TSA was formed in 1979 by a handful of companies to give the UK's private surveying industry a voice and to increase awareness of the surveying profession. Has it ....
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GIS—Just a Tool: Common Misconceptions
GIS is a powerful tool that is currently being underutilized by land surveyors. This underutilization is costing the surveying industry time during the business day, which equates to wasted money. I am not here to preach that GIS will save the universe from all which is evil. This approach has ...
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Product Review: IS-3 Imaging Station
Technological revolutions come about rarely. Many of the products heralded as revolutionary, in truth, are not. For example, consider the ubiquitous smart phone: a cell phone with a touch screen, modem, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, digital audio/video player, digital camera, LED light, accelerometers ...
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Footsteps: Tarin vs. Sniezek
In this installment of Footsteps we review the court decision in Tarin versus Sniezek. This case was decided by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in the State of Florida. It involved a claim for land enclosed by an encroaching fence. This case has a few things to teach us about the legal doctrine ...
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Vantage Point: Shifting Sands
This is a story a long time in the making. It begins in March of 1962, when the infamous Ash Wednesday Nor'easter known as "The Great Atlantic Storm" smashed Avalon, New Jersey, along with much of the midAtlantic coast between North Carolina and New York. One of the many victims ....
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GPS Helps Rural Electric Co-Op Map a New Direction
The ability of an electric utility to quickly identify outages and then--just as quickly--respond to and address them, is key to good service and high customer satisfaction. At the root of the identification part of that equation is a reliable mapping ....
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Beyond the Boundary: New Strategies for New Times
Looking back, it's easy to remember times when businesses or professions did only one thing. Appliance stores sold only appliances, and shipping companies got your package from point A to point B. Today you are able to buy your TV, washing machine, cell phone, and video games all at ....
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feature Summer Time! Wendy Lathrop, our in-house FEMA expert, alerted me to the congressional extension of HR4348, now Public Law 112-141. You can read about it HERE.

It's a huge omnibus kind of bill, but the section of interest to surveyors is Title II, Subtitle A, Section 100201 et seq. It reauthorizes the program for 5 years (a big relief from some of the 30 day proposals), modifies premiums and deductibles, and includes a new Technical Mapping Advisory Council (100214).

I'm on a short break with family in Northern Minnesota. We're lucky congress pushed this through before doing the same!
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Blue Marble’s Knight to Speak at NOAA’s LiDAR Workshop in Portland
QCoherent Announces Release of LP360 2012.1
Xplore Computers’ Ability to Handle Extreme Temperatures Highlighted
GeoSpatial Experts Unveils Android Version of GeoJot App
CobbFendley Expands Into Mexico
Pennsylvania Governor Appoints Bony Dawood to Industrial Board
RETTEW Welcomes Dietrich, Durofchalk, Joyce and Siegfried
LiDAR Services Awarded Two Year NE USA NERC Facility Rating Project
APWA Applauds Enactment of MAP-21 Transportation Bill
Bentley Helps Sustain Nuclear Engineering Professions by Granting Bentley Institute’s Academic Subscription
3D Laser Mapping Launches Australian Training Programme
MappointAsia Appointed as earthmine Partner for Thailand
Construction Industry Unemployment Rate Drops to 12.8 Percent in June
July/August NGA Pathfinder Highlights Partnership
3D Documentation in the Restoration of Historic Buildings
RIEGL International Conference 2013 - June 25 - 27, 2013
BHC RHODES’ 20 Year Anniversary Celebration Raises 50,754 Meals
Optech Wraps Up Successful 6th International Terrestrial User Meeting
Cyclomedia’s 360 Degree Street Level Imagery now Available from Blom
eRecording Counties Top 800 Mark
Construction Spending in May Up 7 Percent from One Year Ago
Dam Safety Act Applauded by Civil Engineers
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