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You might not be able to read it, but in my pic I'm holding a Senior Access pass to the National Park System (taken at White Sands NP). Having turned 62 last year, I became eligible for the one-time $10 lifetime pass. In our recent road trip from Maryland to Phoenix for ACSM and San Diego for ASPRS, we had the opportunity to visit five different national parks, and in doing so, the pass saved us $45 in entrance fees! For those of you who are interested, our flickr photos of ACSM and ASPRS are HERE and our national park pics are HERE.
Our latest isssue is now online. As usual, tons of great content, including at least one that might be controversial. In his article, Dr. Dave Gibson, LS, the founder of the four-year program at Florida State in Gainesville, lays out the case for a four-year degree requirement. The gist of the article is that it's guys my age who are holding the profession back by saying, "If no degree was good enough for me, it oughta be good enough for the youngsters coming up." And although I agree with Dave, I will say that, when it comes to boundary surveying, classroom instruction is vital, but no amount of classroom instruction can substitute for on-the-ground OJT, mentoring and apprenticing.
Another great article in the new issue is by San Diego surveyor Mike Pallamary. In it, he proposes a new way of doing client contracts to deal with out-of-scope extra work. I don't have to tell you boundary surveyors how difficult it is to estimate the cost of a boundary, simply because you never know how much work is going to be involved (court house visits, extra field work, etc.). Mike provides an excellent, common-sense remedy. You can scroll down to see the rest of our timely and career-enhancing content.
In other news, the National Geodetic Survey held a great webinar last week. Under the title Improving the National Spatial Reference System, the two-day event detailed the replacement of both NAD 83 and NGVD 88 with a geoid-driven, monument-less datum. Part of the presentations were provided by federal users of the NSRS, and it was evident that there will be resistance from some agencies because of all the legacy maps and information. Also, at least one agency said they wouldn't be able to move away from passive marks. More about this below.
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, LS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
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Editorial: Having the Right Tools
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 ....
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Civic Duty - A Visit to Civic Engineering and Information Technologies
We've shared them before--stories about surveyor fathers and the sons who not only followed in their footsteps, but took the career to a whole new level. Clifton Ogden grew up in ....
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Phased Contracting
One of the biggest challenges in operating a profitable land surveying business is the impact of unexpected evidence and its effect on client relationships. Not surprisingly, the two are oftentimes related and when problems arise, it can affect one's business reputation along with ....
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When Two Become One - A Look at the Law of Merger of Adjoining Parcels
A previously ignored fact buried in the hieroglyphics of a legal description suddenly presents possibilities to someone looking for value in their real estate, particularly in this economy ....
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Building a Fully Functioning County GIS in Five Years
Five years ago Cochise County, Arizona embarked on a comprehensive plan to install a practical Geographical Information System. Today 300 county employees use it regularly. We attended the Arizona Geographic Information Council's 2009 Education and Training Seminar in Tucson in ....
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3-D Laser Scanning 
Full Steam Ahead - Applying 3-D Laser Scanning to a Boiler Plant Replacement Project
The engineers of Sebesta Blomberg & Associates in Roseville, Minnesota faced a daunting task in documenting existing conditions within the two central boiler plants at ....
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Reconnaissance: Rewriting Legal Descriptions
When presenting programs to persons in the title industry, the question is frequently asked about the tendency of some surveyors in some areas to write new descriptions for virtually any property they are surveying. The questions posed are often along the lines of "Why do they ....
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Vantage Point: Professionalism, Logic, and Law
Three out of the four states in which I am licensed have mandatory continuing education requirements for renewing my professional land surveying licenses. The fourth is one of a minority without such requirements, including eight other states, several territories, and ....
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Which Came First? I just finished Chris Wickern's article "Whose Footsteps Are They?" [ 2010 Vol. 7 No. 3]. I enjoy the discussion points he puts forth. The cover photo was very true; I have a question about the location of the corner monument under the larger rock. Which came first—­the ....
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Surveyors Report: Licensure by Apprenticeship: Effects on the Surveying Profession
The image of land surveying as a technician/trade image is increasingly growing. I make a case for moving away from the apprenticeship system toward an educational standard. A 1525 English document gives ....
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feature Federal Geospatial Summit... As I mentioned above, after listening to several federal agencies detail their needs and requirements, and their desire to have coordinates be forever fixed, I sent the following, which they read out loud during the meeting: Technology is slowly killing the surveyor's role in society. Tasks that always required a surveyor can now be done by non-surveyors. Steam comes out of my ears when I hear surveyors complaining about having to deal with different coordinate values on the same point. This is our job! I think we want to hang onto all the voo-doo we can. We want our clients to be baffled and feel that they need us.

And although I realize that we are married to/stuck with State Plane Coordinates, does it strike any of the attendees as odd that we are using an antique, 1:10,000 system? Seems to me that we should move everything to geocentric ITRF coordinates as soon as possible! Is that not the future?

NGS Geodesist Dave Doyle disagreed with the part about SPC being an antique system, but what I was really trying to say is, From the first day I stood there and watched lats and longs and ellipsoid heights come out of the receiver, I didn't understand why we were still using SPC. I know there's legacy issues, and some users will always have a need for physical monuments, but still, why do we have to anguish over transformations when the box gives useable answers without doing anything?

Most of the world has moved to geocentric ITRF coordinates. Granted, we still have to deal with orthometric heights, but the system NGS is envisioning will do just that. If you'd like to watch the webcast, Day 1 is HERE and Day 2 is HERE. And you can read a great explanation of all this in a white paper, written by Dr. Dru Smith and NGS, by clicking HERE.

And speaking of which, for those of you who don't have enough to read already, our Exclusive Online-only Content area gets an immense amount of traffic, with some articles having been hit more than 11,000 times!

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Construction Backlog up 4.5 Percent in First Quarter of 2010
Tecterra Inc. Appoints Dr. Mohamed Abousalem as CEO
Trimble Sets Date for its 5th International User Conference in Las Vegas
ArcGIS Server Now Available as Cloud-Based Subscription
The Schneider Corporation Relocates Iowa Office to Des Moines Area
Blue Marble Webinar to Highlight Desktop Tips and Tricks
Keystone Aerial Surveys Purchases Fourth Vexcel Imaging Camera
Ice-breakers Navigated by Satellite Images
Why the Four Corners Monument is in Exactly the Right Place
Ashtech Introduces a New GNSS Reference Station: ProFlex 500 CORS
Oil Spills From Vessels Cause More Damage Than Major Accidents
The Oce ColorWave 300 Single Footprint Plot and Scan System for Wide Format Color and B&W Output
LizardTech MrSID Generation 4 Files Now Supported in Overwatch’s LIDAR Analyst
International Land Systems White Paper Examines Torrens System in U.S.
Does Concrete Float Your Boat? National Concrete Canoe Competition Paddles to San Luis Obispo
Capturing History at Mount Rushmore
Kucera International Purchases First UltraCamX
Bohannan Huston Welcomes Certified Photogrammetrist and Digital Mapping Professional
Versatility & Productivity Enhancements for Leica ScanStation C10 Laser Scanning System
Elko and Ueland Named Principals at Langan
Construction Materials Prices Edge Up in April
Merrick Awarded New Contracts
LizardTech MrSID Generation 3 Files Now Supported in Applied Imagery’s Quick Terrain Modeler
Students Take Top Prizes in Junior Engineering Technical Society’s National 2010 TEAMS Competition
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    Did-U-Know Glenn Letham at our sister site has compiled a state-by-state list of free imagery HERE

    bookHistoric Map Collection -- Map of the United States of America : with the contiguous British and Spanish possessions / compiled from the latest & best authorities by John Melish ; engraved by J. Vallance & H.S. Tanner. Melish, John, 1771-1822. CREATED/PUBLISHED Philadelphia : J. Melish, c1816. NOTES Relief shown pictorially. Prime meridians: London and Washington. Fifth state. Includes inset of the West Indies. Scale [1:3,900,000] (W 1180--W 640/N 530--N 230).. Note: This huge map is 23"x37"!

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