This newsletter for June 27, 2012 will be archived at

line News / Blog / Current Issue / Article Archives / Photos / Subscriptions / eMagazine
LiDAR / Machine Control / GIS / LBS / RTN-101 / Survey History / RSS Feed line
Our July issue is at the printer, and as always, is full of great content. In addition to two new columnists, the cover feature has a real connection for me. Titled The Last Plane Table Surveyor? it details an 83-year-old Colorado surveyor who is still expertly using an alidade and plane table to do topo surveys.
When I arrived in the DC area in 1987, I was shocked to see plane table and alidades as the dominant mapping technique: In the Midwest, we had switched to total stations in the late 70s. In an effort to get a handle, I knew there was a problem when I learned that the accuracy of an alidade is ±3 percent. To me, that meant that every 100-foot shot was somewhere between 97 and 103 feet.
Even so, I admired the plane table artists who not only brought nearly-finished "hardboards" back in with them from the field, but also the fact that these guys could see exactly how the contours ran. Trouble was, the engineers digitized the plane table maps, thereby incurring more error. This sometimes showed up in disputes with earthwork contractors over quantities, and worse, sometimes required our expert surveyors to "field-engineer" a storm drain line when the ending station fell several feet short of an already-installed inlet.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a project or story you'd like to share. We appreciate your support.
Until next time,
Marc Cheves, PS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
Sponsored by Trimble

TRIMBLE Survey Student Paper Competition

Write the winning surveying application paper and win a trip to Trimble Dimensions plus 4 nights' accommodation in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, your school could win a new Trimble R8 GNSS.

Visit the website for details and get writing today.

Editorial: Oil & Gas Surveying
With boots tied to the construction economy, it's no secret that surveyors have endured the worst economic downturn since the end of WWII. Those who have been surveying for a while have seen many ups and downs, but for each downturn, after at most a year, were able to get back ....
Read the Article
Standing the Test of Time—John Keating & Topographic, Inc.
Most surveyors have at least one person they can credit with giving them their start in surveying. When John Keating opened Topographic Engineering in 1958 he hired high school kids to help perform the field work. Beginning in 1963, I was one of ....
Read the Article
Pacific Railroad Crazy—The Story of Theodore Dehone Judah
October, 1860. In a cabin near Dutch Flat, California, two men consummate a contract. Surveyor Theodore Judah and druggist Daniel "Doc" Strong, both worn out, had spent the day climbing and studying a ridge. Some twelve years earlier, along ....
Read the Article
Reconnaissance: Unwritten Easements and ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys
Section 5.E.ii. of the 2011 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys requires that the field work shall include "Evidence of easements or servitudes not disclosed in the Record ....
Read the Article
Vantage Point: Smart Vent: Safety and Service
It's always pleasing to discover something new and impressive about someone you think you know well. When it's a company you've known for a long time, it's an extra pleasure. Smart Vent has been present at many of the floodplain management events I've attended over the years ...
Read the Article
George E. Marsh: Dust Bowl Gypsy
George E. Marsh (believed to be George Everett Marsh Jr.) would have been completely forgotten if not for a wonderful photo album and a few writings that he called "Piffles and Jottings from the Desiccated West" apparently written as part personal ...
Read the Article
How Wide is the Right of Way on a County Road?
When I was newly elected as the County Surveyor, the road department seemed to get a kick out of frequently referring calls to me concerning the right of way width of the county's roads. It was impossible to provide on the spot answers, since ...
Read the Article
Footsteps: Determining Property Corner History
A critical step in every boundary survey is the determination of property corner history. In this installment of Footsteps, will discuss why this process is important and how to perform it. We will then consider a brief example that demonstrates what can happen when a boundary ....
Read the Article
Sponsored by VisionMap

VisionMap’s A3 Digital Mapping System captures and processes areas 2-3 times larger than competing systems, in significantly less time.

With the largest footprint of 60,000 pixels across flight track, efficient imagery collection of large areas, high-resolution vertical and oblique imagery, and fastest fully-automatic processing, A3 is the most advanced mapping camera available today.


feature Tick Alert! If there was ever a group that needed to be aware of the threat from deer ticks and Lyme disease, it's surveyors. David Mann, a licensed surveyor from New Hampshire, has compiled an excellent, exhaustive article about how ticks operate, how to remove them, and most importantly, the things you can do to protect yourself from the possible devastating effects of a tick bite. The 1.68Mb Word doc can be found HERE

The most surprising part of the article for me was developments in clothing pre-treatment and even tick-blocking clothing. The new chemical treatments last thru several washings. Back when I was in the field in areas where ticks were prevalent, we liberally applied sulfur powder to our lower legs, and if needed, to our upper body (for the ones that were waiting in tree branches).

Also alarming to me was the rapid spread of these ticks across the US. I've read elsewhere about other tick varieties we have to worry about. I highly recommend reading the article and following the suggestions. Here in Maryland, we've seen a lot of non-surveyors who are struggling to deal with the effects of this scourge.
Sponsored by Hemisphere GPS

The S320™ is Hemisphere GPS’ latest survey product that provides the quality one can expect from a Canadian manufacturer, without the shocking sticker price. So whether you are doing GIS, Construction, Mapping, Land or Marine Surveying, the S320 can be tailored to meet your needs. The S320 system includes the Hemisphere GPS XF1 data collector, which features Windows Mobile 6.X operating system, 3.8" screen, 624MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, Bluetooth v2.0, WiFi and much more. Visit us for details.


New Era for GITA Begins
DMK Associates Brings Leica Geosystems C5 Scanner to SW Florida
Aerial Surveys International Invests in Optech Orion M300 Lidar
AeroMetric Hires Johnson as an Airport Solutions Specialist
New UltraCam Calibration and Service Center Opens in Singapore
AuruMar Adopts Maptek Vulcan 3D Modelling Software for Marine Mining
GITA Issues Major Report on Geospatial Data Collaboration
Leica Geosystems Announces Leica RCD30 Multi-Head Camera Concept
CHC Navigation Releases the LT400 Submeter GPS/GIS Data Collector
GeoEye Expands Presence in Europe to Meet Increased Demand
Fugro Horizons Upgrades Four Leica Airborne Digital Sensors to ADS80 Model
Photo Science Purchases MJ Harden from GeoEye
SuperField 3.1: Lightweight Mobile GIS Software for Spatial Data Collection
Porcher "Shay" Gregg Passes
25th Concrete Canoe Championship Claimed By Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Recharge Your Leadership Mojo: Eight Ways to Reignite Your Passion
Magellan and Effigis Partner to Bring Enhanced Precision to GIS
Webb Simpson Wins the 2012 U.S. Open on Putting Surfaces Built with Topcon Precision Measurement Technology
Juniper Systems Introduces Embedded Handheld Upgrade for the Mesa
earthmine and Mandli Communications Bring Street-Level Data to DOT Market
New Century Software Simplifies the Pipeline Data Loading Process
Microsoft UltraCamLp Purchased by Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys
Corvallis Microtechnology Announces Deed Calls-Area-Perimeter App
Fresno State’s Surveying Program to Benefit from Scholarship Program
Notice Advisory to NAVSTAR Users (NANU) 2012038 NANU Type: General
Got News? Drop a line to press [at] or Contact Us

  • LiDAR News - >>
  • Geospatial News - >>
  • Land Surveying News - >>
  • Machine Control News - >>

  • LiDAR News RSS Feed - LiDAR News FeedBurn >> Get our LiDAR News RSS feed
  • Geospatial RSS Feed - GISuser FeedBurn >> Get our GISuser RSS feed
  • Land Surveying RSS feed - Amerisurv FeedBlitz >> Get our Land Surveying RSS feed
  • Machine Control RSS Feed - Machine Control FeedBurn >> Get our Machine Control RSS feed
  • line
    Sponsored by Topcon

    Sometimes you need a quick and agile network rover. Other times you need the most sophisticated, rugged receiver on the planet. No matter what you need, you deserve the most advanced technology.

    For over a decade, Topcon has led the way in innovative GNSS technology. And we still do today.


    This section is an update about surveying and other geospatial conferences, training, seminars, webinars, and relevant events. Feel free to make a suggestion for future consideration. For a complete listing of events, please visit our online calendar HERE.
    Send your event info to editor[at]


    E-Magazine - Volume 9, Number 4, 2012
    • SPAR International 2012 • Monitoring a Cruise Ship Wreck • Port of Miami Tunnel • Frames for the future: Replacing NAD 83 • Interview with Tom Greaves • Product Review: Champion TKO GNSS • Fripps Versus Walters • Cadastral Mapping • Riverbed Ownership...and more!
    E-Magazine - Volume 9, Number 3, 2012
    • Editor's Corner • Guardians of the Rock • Frames for the Future
    • Congressional Land Actions • Industrial Equipment Tolerances
    • Surveying Chicago's Railway • Fearful Excitement: The Surveys of David Douglas • Product Review: Leica Disto 3D ...and more!

    Did-U-Know has compiled a state-by-state list of free imagery HERE

    bookHistoric Map Collection — A map of General Washington's farm of Mount Vernon from a drawing transmitted by the General. CREATED/PUBLISHED [S.l., 1801] NOTES Removed from: Letters from His Excellency George Washington, to Arthur Young, [etc.]. London, 1801. Scale 1:6,336. This map is 23"x18".

    Printed on high-quality photo paper, this poster is capable of being a center-piece for any room or space. These unique reproductions are both fascinating and sure to please.

    Our maps and posters make excellent gifts for clients or employees!

    Sponsored by Spectra Precision

    ProFlex 800 is a powerful GNSS positioning solution that guaranties outstanding RTK performance in an ultra-rugged, highly integrated receiver design.

    Augmented by the Z-Blade GNSS centric technology, ProFlex 800 delivers fast and reliable RTK position even in harsh environment where GPS coverage is not sufficient.


    ADVERTISING with Spatial Media (Amerisurv, GISuser, MachineControl, LiDAR News)
    Request our Electronic Media Planner - complete with rates and promotion options. Connect with our large, targeted audience of Land Surveyors, Civil Engineers, GISusers, LBS professionals, SmartPhone Developers, technology managers, and other key decision makers.

    About | Privacy Policy
    © 2012, Spatial Media LLC
    905 West Seventh Street, #331
    Frederick, Maryland, 21701 USA