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October 1, 2001
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Mouland

New technologies are out of this world.

POB was recently able to arrange my visit to the top-secret facility known as STSP. This stands for Secret Technology for Surveyors Place. The only way I can explain it is to call it the Area 51 of Surveying. The government not only hides the secret captured alien survey technologies there, but also studies them and tries to duplicate them for our use. Few people realize that these are the scientists who gave us the EDM, GPS and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

I was witness to some of the exciting survey technologies about to explode into the market. I want to share just a few of these with you. Surveying is going to really change over the next few years.

The laser line clearing device (LLCD) is about to be perfected. A simple hand-held unit which, when pointed down the correct line, clears a 3-foot wide swath of all trees, brush, encroaching structures and other obstructions. They plan to market it separately to non-surveyors as the sure fix to stop the clock on adverse possession. Just point and… boom! No more open and notorious.

Even more impressive is the Professional Universal Translator (PUT). Another hand-held device that translates instructions, plans and intent of other professions so a surveyor can understand it. The civil engineer module (commonly called the “I just need a few shots” module) has been perfected, along with the title insurance company unit, which eliminates all the hassles of negotiating a certificate on an ALTA survey. It translates what they really need, not what they say.

The technicians on the PUT have only one obstacle to conquer, and that is the architectural plans interpreter. Seems there is no logical model to follow, so they have hired the Navajo code-talkers to help unscramble the plans. This one will be a few years away, I’m certain.

But perhaps the most innovative device to be introduced in the coming years will be the Satellite-Based Monument Setter (SBMS). This fourth generation GPS satellite actually stores millions of rebar, aluminum rods, caps and flagging. It computes corner positions, then fires a properly stamped cap mounted on a flagged rebar down into the one-part-in-a-million location you designate.

Imagine: corners raining down from the sky. It will be the finishing touch for those registrants who never leave the office. Now they can testify they really did set that corner! The design team on the SBMS is currently working out the final safety issues with the FAA.

Last, but not least, is the Corner Evidence Analyzer (CEA). This unit resembles a tri-corder (for you Star Trek fans). You point it at some survey evidence, and either a green light or a red light comes on. Green means it is the corner, red means it is not. Wow, is this going to simplify the field work. A few glitches are still being worked out. When I tested the CEA, it was on a corner with four rebars in a one-foot circle. It simply read “tilt.”

As my visit to the STSP came to a close, I asked to see the alien bodies. They respectfully declined, citing national security issues. I begged them to give me some information, a scoop if you will, about how far the aliens had infiltrated our society. I had read in the tabloids that the president and half the Congress were actually aliens. They laughed and assured me this was a false rumor.

They did indicate, however, that Curtis Sumner (executive director of ACSM) was really an alien. This information really cleared up some of my questions about Curt.

What an honor it was to have seen all this cool stuff. More later; I have to get beamed up to the mother ship now.

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