The Latest News

May 1, 2001
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This month's Latest News includes information on the new officers of ACSM, Michigan's re-monumentation project, the NOAA's survey of earthquake areas, and the American public's satisfaction with highways.

ACSM officers (left to right): Lyn DiBiase, Gary Kent, G.S. Best, K. Anderson, Joseph Dolan, Timothy Trainor, Keith Clarke, Gary Thompson and Alan Dragoo.

ACSM Installs New Officers

The annual ACSM awards ceremony, held in March in Las Vegas, Nev., installed new officers and directors of the organization. Dr. James Reilly stepped down as president, and was superceded by Gary R. Kent, director of surveying and mapping, Schneider Engineering Corporation, Indianapolis, Ind. The following is a list of ACSM’s new staff:

Gary R. Kent, ACSM president

G.S. Sam Best, ACSM president-elect

K. Eric Anderson, ACSM vice president

Joseph M. Dolan, ACSM director, NSPS

Timothy Trainor, ACSM director, CaGIS

Keith C. Clarke, president, CaGIS

Gary W. Thompson, president, NSPS

Alan Dragoo, president, AAGS

Lyn DiBiase, president, GLIS

POB magazine proudly sponsored the NSPS 2001 Surveying Excellence Award at the awards ceremony. Our congratulations go to Thomas W. Morgan, PLS, of Supply, N.C., this year’s recipient. The Excellence Award is presented to a surveyor who has performed outstanding service in the surveying profession. The award included an engraved plaque and a $500 honorarium from POB magazine.

Re-Monumenting 300,000 Corners

Eighty-three counties in Michigan are in the midst of having their boundary markers relocated. Eighty-three doesn’t seem like such a big number until high costs, budgeted funding, vast land areas, limited surveyors, fickle weather and treacherous landscape come into play.

Since the Michigan Survey and Remonumentation Project was launched in 1993, about $31 million has been spent. The goal is to have all of Michigan’s boundary markers accurately located, mapped and updated. Initially, an estimated 20 years was expected to complete the survey. The project has been expanded to an estimated 40 years and $167 million in costs until completion because of unforeseen difficulties faced in relocation.

One licensed surveyor and one financial consultant oversee each county. It is up to the discretion of each surveyor in charge if he or she will do the work himself or herself or subcontract the work to other surveyors. Each county receives a grant from the state of Michigan annually ranging anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000 depending on size, terrain, location and other factors. Maynard Dyer, manager, subdivision control/survey and remonumentation for the state of Michigan, surmised that the average grant per county is approximately $30,000 annually. The grants are funded by fees charged for documents filed with the county deeds offices and also by private funding.

Part of the project consists of gathering all historical documents from the original surveys and obtaining the history of the marker before resurveying it. Each county has access to the original government surveys taken between 1809 and 1854, which can be used as reference maps. Surveyors face difficulties in located some markers because of inaccurate maps; disputes over the location of original markers; the expansion and development of houses, buildings, roads and parking lots; and changing landscapes. Surveyors use whatever means necessary to find these hidden markers including utilizing the latest technology in surveying, studying journals and maps from original surveyors, and even digging around in fields and woods.

The mapped boundary markers of Michigan will benefit federal, state and local governments. They can be used by state utility companies for large-scale mapping, for real estate property boundaries by property owners, for horizontal/vertical control stations by the government and to have an accurate positioning of Michigan boundary posts.

Dyer said that Kent and Oakland are two of the 83 counties that should be completed by next year. So far, about 50,000 of Michigan’s estimated 300,000 corners have been replaced. No one really knows exactly when the project will be completed, but it could take up to 30 years to complete some of the more challenging counties.

NOAA’s Rainier is to conduct hydrographic surveys in Washington.

NOAA Surveys Earthquake Area

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employed the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to do emergency hydrographic surveys of the Puyallup (Tacoma), Nisqually (Olympic) and Duwamish (Seattle) river delta fronts after the Feb. 28, 2001, Washington State area earthquake. NOAA will deploy Rainier, one of three ships specially designed for conducting hydrographic surveys in support of nautical charting. Officials fear that the earthquake may have triggered underwater landslides in the Puget Sound that could potentially undermine port facilities built on river deltas.

USGS will create updated topographic maps of the river deltas for comparison with pre-earthquake maps to evaluate the damage that occurred. Additionally, determining whether landslides occurred will aid in understanding the triggering forces of submarine landslides in delta sediment.

The American public cites highway improvement.

Satisfaction with Major Highways

The U.S. Department Of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a report, “Moving Ahead: The American Public Speaks on Roadways and Transportation in Communities,” that shows a 15 percent increase in the number of travelers who are satisfied with major highways in the United States. The areas that were cited for increased traveler satisfaction included pavement conditions, safety, bridge conditions, visual appeal and travel amenities.

Though travelers were overall satisfied, they still want traffic flow improvements, continued improvements in pavement conditions and more effective ways to deal with or to decrease traffic congestion in work zones. Citizens also desired highway projects that are more sensitive to local communities such as mass transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Surveys conducted by the FHWA help guide officials to allocate funds according to public preference. In addition, land surveying and construction has improved through thorough planning and corresponding performance, influenced by these public opinion surveys. The final result may be more work for land surveyors and construction workers in order to keep up with the restoration and improvement of the highway system.

Associate Editor Sharon Oselin compiles “The Latest News.” If you have a timely, newsworthy item, please call her at 248/244-6465. Also visit www.pobonline.com for weekly news updates.

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