The school season is back upon us. For surveyors, it seems, schooling never ends. To help in the learning process is the past, which, at least in some sense, repeats itself. (I even find myself skipping occasionally and will admit to having a yearning to hoola-hoop when I see one in a store.) And although not every element of the past can be repeated, things can be re-enacted and people can be impersonated. (What would we do without Elvis impersonators?)
Through the lessons of the past, we can re-create what once was. Later this month, a large group of surveyors, their companions, associates and compadres will gather in Pennsylvania, in a place where Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon once trudged the ground locating points to further their goal of measuring the land. Through lessons of Mason and Dixon’s experiences, the attendees are sure to gain insight into how previous surveyors got the job done. (It may also be comforting to know that our predecessors fielded much worse in the way of tools and techniques to accomplish a job. And perhaps the pressures of Mason and Dixon’s day were greater than ours.)
Such lessons via re-enactments, biographies and other historical material can be helpful to surveyors, experienced and novice. What was once learned by another can help one learn today. We do progress as time goes on, and many of the changes that affect us aren’t recognized until several years later. What we do today will be lessons for others. As Edwin Danson, author of Drawing the Line, How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America (see the interview on page 14), says, “Mason and Dixon et al broke the mold and the techniques they pioneered became the foundation for the great surveys that followed.”
Thankfully, today’s surveyors haven’t a need to segregate land for slaves as Mason and Dixon did, but they do find themselves solving tough boundary disputes on a regular basis. And they may not (as frequently) find themselves confronting a bear in the process of a survey, but a resident’s dog can be quite intimidating. Perhaps learning how others overcame obstacles can help us overcome ours.
CEUs, PDHs and CPCs—Oh My!When not on the surveyor’s “playground,” professional measurers are in the classroom learning the “book stuff.” And with the majority of states mandating continuing education credits for licensed professional surveyors, the need for more colleges and more courses has risen. Sailing with the tide, Auburn University in Alabama offers a distance education series. Course credits can be attained through the Internet, or the use of videotapes and CDs. POB magazine is proud to announce its partnership with Auburn University for the advancement of the profession’s education. We have joined to bring you more courses with more convenience. For more information, see the announcement on page 19 or visit www. pobonline.com/AU. If you’re interested in taking the ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys course, read our reviewer’s perspective on page 18.
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