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We continue to hear good things about the construction economy. In a new article in our sister publication, Machine Control Magazine, Marco Cecala mentions this, and although the article mostly pertains to buying used equipment, the opening paragraph still represents a positive indication about construction activity.
In particular, the Oil Patch is positively booming, with surveying jobs available from Texas to Alberta. And this in spite of the administration's blockage of the Keystone Pipeline. Years ago, I learned that there's still plenty of recoverable oil in our country, it just depends on the per barrel price. That is, when the price is high enough, the exploration begins.
As evidence of this, because of the success of shale gas exploration, the price of natural gas is less than half what it was in 2008. Reacting to the law of supply and demand, one of the major gas companies, Chesapeake Energy, recently called a halt to some of its activities. And now we're hearing that it's not only gas they're finding in the shale, but oil as well, so maybe our energy future isn't so bleak after all.
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: Take it to the Limit
Your editor attended both the FARO User Conference in Orlando and the Vexcel UltraCam User Group Meeting in Boulder. Both were full of fascinating technology, and illustrations of our digital future....
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Surveying Rockets—Launch Vehicle Alignment Survey
United Launch Alliance (ULA) operates its Atlas 5 Launch Vehicle program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. At VAFB, the vehicle is launched from Space Launch Complex ....
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Menkel Dennis 
Frames for the Future—Replacing NAVD 88--The Role of Geoid Models (Part 2 of 4)
Assuming funding allows the planned schedule, a new gravity geopotential-based vertical datum to replace NAVD 88 could be defined and nationally adopted by 2022 (since this ....
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A Well-Crafted Connection
Rockefeller University's $4.8 million Collaborative Research Center project is expected to do more than repair and modernize two aging research facilities. A parallel goal is to create an environment that facilitates and stimulates ....
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{small} Oregon City Makes Huge GIS strides
As the benefits of a comprehensive GIS effort have become more and more apparent, larger cities and municipal utilities have been steadily getting on board with the technology, citing it as something of a "no-brainer" in terms of better asset availability, increased accuracy, ease of ....
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Vantage Point: Helping Floodville
While most surveyors are familiar with the concept of flood insurance as one means of at least modest protection against the losses from flooding, not all realize that unlike other forms of insurance, there is a relatively low cap on the amount of coverage available. Furthermore, there are ....
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Product Spotlight: HP50g
Hewlett Packard has been developing products for land surveyors and engineers for four decades. In that time they have earned a well deserved reputation for bringing highly functional, quality devices, such as electronic distance meters....
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Topcon Volunteers Lend Physical and Moral Support to Japan Recovery
Several individuals at Topcon Positioning Systems, Livermore, Calif.—a subsidiary of Topcon Corp, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan—were so moved by the March 11, 2011 ....
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Footsteps: 10 Best Practices for Very Large Boundary Surveys
I haven't run across very many easy boundary surveys. Even most of the "small" ones can be quite complicated. However, large boundary surveys come with additional challenges. This article reveals 10 of the best practices I have developed to deal with the challenges of boundary ....
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feature If you're like me, perhaps one of the things you like about surveying is the opportunity to be precise and accurate. Whenever we make a measurement, we strive to make it to the best of our ability. The vast majority of us will never be able to participate in ultra-precise work, but we still like reading about it.

Several years ago, NASA launched the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). This fascinating endeavor involved twin washing-machine-sized satellites chasing each other in orbit. As they travel in orbit, gravity effects from the Earth causes the lead satellite to speed up or slow down, and ultra-precise tracking between the two detects this relative movement.

The spinoff for us has been that this detection of global gravity has allowed researchers to refine geoid models, and indeed, when I inquired to one of the NGS gravity experts, Dr. Dan Roman, and asked, "Has the GRACE mission data been useful to NGS in its geoid determinations?", he said, "Very useful. It underlies all our models and will be the basis for determining a global datum."

Last year, NASA launched another gravity experiment, this time to the Moon. The experiment will allow us to determine the make-up of the Moon's inner core. Dubbed GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory), it is basically identical to GRACE. But here's the cool measurement part: Even though the two spacecraft will range between 40 and 140 miles apart, the Ka-band radar NASA is using to make the measurements can resolve the distance between them to less that the size of a red blood cell, or a few tenths of a micron per second in their relative velocities.

The image above, courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech, shows an artist's conception of the GRAIL satellites in orbit around the Moon. And as a side note, the Ka-band radar is the same radar the police use in their speed guns. Except for the earliest units in the fifties, X-band (10.525 Gigahertz) was the only frequency used for police radar until the mid-1970s. K-band was developed for police use in 1976 and currently over 60% of all the police radar guns use this frequency. Ka-band is the latest generation. I don't know if it has to do with Ka-band, but it wasn't until I stopped using a radar detector that I stopped getting speeding tickets!

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LiDAR Services Establishes US Subsidiary, Delivers 1,065 Mile NERC Survey
ISPRS Announces Vexcel's Franz Leberl as Winner of Brock Gold Medal
EngineerSupply Offering DuraWheel Digi-PRO Digital Distance Measuring Wheels
Global 3D Technology Market worth $227.27 Billion by 2016
Online Energy Map Set to Reduce Household Bills in Nottingham
Applanix Introduces POSpac MMS V6 for Improved Mobile Mapping Positioning
Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying Reaching Our Orbit Campaign
Hoover Dam Bypass Named 2012 Outstanding Civil Engineering Project
N.S.P.S Announces Results of 11th Annual Student Competition
Rural County Uses iPad App to Create Address Database for Assessment, E911
Optech Announces Optech FMS: New Lidar/Camera Flight Mgmt System
BAE Systems Delivers Software to Forward-Deployed Warfighters
US Imaging Invests in Optech Lidar-Camera System
Golden Software Announces Full User’s Guides for Strater 3 and Voxler 3
SPARVlog Named Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Winner
Metrology Speaker Agenda Published for Hexagon 2012 Conference
Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying: News About Its Future
Effigis Introduces Advances in GNSS Post-Mission Compatibility with Field Survey/GIS Software
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    • Editor's Corner  • Surveying Rockets  • Frames for the Future  • Well-Crafted Connection  • Oregon City Makes Huge GIS Strides  • Helping Floodville   • HP50g  • Moral Support for Japan Recovery  • Large Boundary Surveys
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