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July is almost over and parts of the country are in drought conditions, while other parts are not. We continue to hear mixed messages about the economy. Many surveyors I've talked to have seen an increase in work, and the fact that employers are looking for survey help is a very positive sign. We can only hope that the construction economy continues to improve, and that rain falls where it is needed.
The Esri/ACSM Survey Summit was excellent as always. Attendance was down, but attendees came away with more ways to improve their work processes. Mike Beavers used his company, Frontier Surveying in Texas, to illustrate dozens of ways his firm uses GIS to make money and keep their oil company clients happy. With presenters from all over the globe, we were once again reminded by FIG President CheeHai Teo, "80% of all decisions have a spatial element," and because "information is geospatial," surveyors have a place.
Other presenters represented ACSM/NSPS, BLM, USF&WS, and NGS. All mentioned having to deal with budget cutbacks, but were optimistic for the future. NGS continues to kick out new products that help us make sense of GNSS. Esri announced that it will host the Summit again next year, July 6-9. Look for more about the Summit in my next magazine editorial. Of the sessions I attended, the one on UAVs garnered the most interest. More about this below.
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 The big buzz lately has been Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). One of the presentations during the Plenary at the Summit was by Rowland Harrison of Hawkeye UAV, a New Zaeland company that is doing all kinds of cool things with UAVs. While I think we still have a while before UAVs are prevalent like they were in the movie Minority Report, I'm sure that one day, UAVs will be able to deliver a pizza.

As it stands now, the FAA won't allow their use. It says it'll have a ruling by 2014. Currently, government agencies can apply for a waiver, and according to some reports, have done so 106 times. Privacy advocates are up in arms, and it's been reported that Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican and former judge, will introduce the Preserving American Privacy Act in Congress. I do find it interesting that the very ones the privacy advocates are concerned about can easily get a waiver. Look for more about the subject in the future.

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Karl Nicholas Named Carlson Software Director of Special Projects
Trimble to Supply GNSS Receivers for the Japanese GSI GeoNet Network
Investment in Nonresidential Structures Slows Sharply During Second Quarter
Geosistemas Offers Topcon's IP-S2 HD
Topcon Introduces eGIS Software
Altus Positioning Systems Announces Commercial Availability of its New GNSS Receiver
Optech Wins JALBTCX 2012 Awards
DeLorme inReach Satellite Communicator Provides Two-Way Global Tracking and Safety Data Links for Esri Customers
Altus Introduces Versatile Multi-Sensor GPS Data-Acquisition System for GIS Industry
Altus Positioning Systems Introduces New Portable Integrated System for GIS Applications
Oceanscience Launches Z-Boat for Shallow Water Hydrographic Surveys
Altus Positioning Systems Introduces New Portable Integrated System for GIS Applications
A Compelling Combination; Surveying, Mapping and Smart Geo Solutions at Their Best
Digitalglobe and GeoEye Agree to Combine to Create a Global Leader in Earth Imagery and Geospatial Analysis
On-line Webinar from the NOAA Coastal Services Center—New Elevation Inventory for the Nation
Trimble Expands its Positions Software to Streamline Esri Workflows for Mapping and GIS Applications
Altus Positioning Systems Hosts First Dealers’ Conference in Europe
New GPS Ground Control Software Installation Complete
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