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In a bit of good news, the Associated Builders and Contractors reported yesterday that construction backlog increased dramatically in Q2. The report pertained to nonresidential activity, and land development activity continues to be down, but since we're tied to the construction economy, we'll take any good news we can get! You can read more HERE.
Our latest issue is online and as always, it's got more great content. Of particular interest to me is Mike Pallamary's article about the shenanigans in San Diego. I discuss this further below in the Spotlight. Also of interest is the follow-up article on the Louisiana Bilby Tower. Stephen Blaskey's new GIS column is proving to be very popular, and the article on cloud computing is leading the Hit Parade. Please scroll down to see the rest of the new articles.
Speaking of reader reactions, our article about the last plane table surveyor opened a floodgate. Apparently, Mr. Sanford is not the last one. The daughter and occasional rodman for a 95-year-old Kansas surveyor wrote to say that her Dad is still using an alidade to gather elevation information for his oil & gas clients. I had planned on running it as a letter to the editor, but then a Washington surveyor wrote about his use of a plane table and his father's use of a plane table on a USGS crew, so look for another article on the subject.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a project or story you'd like to share. Thanks for your support.
Until next time,
Marc Cheves, PS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
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Editorial: The Survey Summit
The Esri/ACSM Survey Summit was excellent as always. Attendance was down, but attendees came away with more ways to improve their work processes. Brent Jones made opening remarks and listed the challenges facing the mapping industry: less mapping, faster delivery ...
Read the Article
NSPS Surveying USA at Worland, Wyoming
The front page of the Saturday, March 19, 2011, edition of the Northern Wyoming Daily News contained an article informing readers thusly: Local Surveyors to check GPS systems today... Beginning at 11 a.m. local surveyors Stanton Abell, of Worland, and Rick Hudson, of ....
Read the Article
The Last Tower Standing—Taking Down The Louisiana Bilby
In late April and early May of this year, the nets were buzzing with chatter from AAGS members (American Association of Geodetic Surveyors), folks formerly employed by either the Coast and Geodetic Survey or the National Geodetic Survey ....
Read the Article
The Deadwood Datum
When the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) began their topographic mapping program in the 1880's, one of the early problems they faced was the lack of precision horizontal and vertical monuments in the areas to be surveyed ....
Read the Article
Footsteps: The New Packing Shed
A few months ago I became aware of a land development debacle in the area where I practice. I believe it is a great example of the benefits that come from having a land surveyor involved throughout the life of a land development project. It also illustrates the type of problems that ...
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Beyond the Boundary: Working With the Lending Industry
A lender is much like a physician. A physician uses many pieces of evidence, including physical symptoms, verbal accounts from the patient, and sophisticated tests that reveal the inner workings of the body, to diagnose and treat a patient's ailments. Only after evaluating the complete ...
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A Reckless Path of Destruction
In 1985, in response to a large number of complaints, the California Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors notified all state and municipal Land Surveyors and City Engineers that the paving over and destruction ...
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The Future's 'Cloudy' (and that's a good thing)
One industry that is characterized by continuous improvement is information technology. An IT innovation for business that has begun to penetrate the mainstream of business activity is enterprise cloud computing, which utilizes groups of computers in various locations that aggregate data storage ....
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GIS—Just a Tool: Myth #1: GIS Costs Too Much Money to Get Into
Before dispelling this myth, we need to have a discussion of what makes up a robust GIS system. There are three parts: a database, a mapping engine, and finally a linkage. Each of these three parts is vital to making a GIS a viable solution for the needs of a land surveying business. And ....
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Vantage Point: The Navigational Brain
From when I was about five to about 8 years old, my dad would lead my mother and me out to our tuna boat-sized 1950s automobile at least one Sunday a month for long drives out in the countryside. My father was always the one to drive, partly because he liked to drive and also ....
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feature Regarding San Diego, after posting the new articles over the weekend, I received a phone call from an unidentified city employee who said the State Board had issued a letter stating that the City was in compliance with the law. He claimed the issue was already settled and didn't know why Mike was bringing it back up. I told him to send a response and I'd be glad to publish it. Over the past year, I have seen the danger of becoming involved in controversial issues, but when I learned that one of the city officials said a foot or two was good enough for boundary control, steam started coming out of my ears, and I decided the issue needed the light of day. I think it's safe to say that the American people are sick of arrogant officials who place themselves above the law.

While the Photoshopped image to the right of Mike Pallamary as a Knight in Shining Armor might appear to be a joke, it's not that far from the truth. Mike is also working on a (pro bono) case for a group of property owners on Avenida Playa Veracruz who are struggling with FEMA over flood classification and FEMA's demand that they pay for flood insurance. These folk's houses sit atop a 40+ foot canyon, and a cursory examination of this image or this one indicates that cross sections are not needed to tell the tale. Look for another article from Mike about this in the future. In other FEMA news, our in-house FEMA experts Bart Crattie and Wendy Lathrop have written an article for our next issue about the new Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and its impact on the surveyor.

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Construction Backlog Bounces Back in Second Quarter of 2012
Midland GIS Solutions Establishes New Partnership with Farmington, MO
INTERGEO 2012: 3-D Urban Models Optimise Tasks and Make New Applications Possible
Meridian Associates Awarded ‘Small Business of the Year’ from Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
GEODIS Has Created More Unique Oblique Images of Czech Towns
LiDAR Services Awarded South Dakota Wide Area LiDAR Mapping Project
Ayres Associates and Applied Ecological Services Team Buys Leica RCD30 Camera
MapSAR Website Provides Online Resources to Search and Rescue Personnel
Trimble Introduces New Spectra Precision DR400 DigiRod for Rod-less Grade Checking
Hemisphere GPS Establishes Distribution Partners in Brazil and China
GeoShack Moves Office from Exeter to London, Ontario
ASPRS Updates Recertification Requirements
Bentley Systems Salutes Its Software Users for Their Contributions to London’s Infrastructure
Old Aerial Photos Provide Crucial Evidence for Savills
INTERGEO 2012: No Olympic Games Without Geoinformation
Surveyor 2.0 - The Next Generation
Construction Unemployment Rate Dips to 12.3 Percent in July
GeoShack Expands to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Civil GPS Service Interface Committee (CGSIC) Meeting in Nashville at ION
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