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Editor’s Note

November 1, 2001
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One year can teach you a lot.

McGray
As you read this, a year has passed since I became editorial director with POB. As one often says after reaching a certain age, that year really flew by. But in another sense, I’ve learned more than I would have thought possible in that single year. It seems ironic that a person brought on board for some insights and expertise he presumably offers could be the recipient of such an education himself.

The obvious area about which I had lots of room for learning is in the nuts-and-bolts publication of a nationwide magazine. There’s a lot more to it than just the editorial component to which I belong. And it has been a real eye-opener for me to see the publishing professionals with POB at work.

But the most remarkable aspect of my year’s education has been in surveying itself. I get asked questions most every day, and I may know the answer to about half of them. The other half I get to research and find more out about the topic. As I’ve written in this space before, I’m amazed at how much I don’t know. Then there’s the matter of your words appearing in print. Your desire to be correct ratchets way up when you realize that thousands of surveyors may be reading your words, and that—surprise!—surveyors are most helpful in pointing out mistakes.

Then there’s rpls.com. As I’ve often suggested, if you haven’t visited it, do so. It’s very user-friendly and is full of practical and useful information. It also occasionally displays an opinion or two, links to other sites, and, yes humor. The “Friday Humor” thread is a tradition and has kept many a surveyor supplied with jokes for the weekend. I mentioned earlier the axiom that surveyors delight in pointing out the mistakes of others. I guess when you spend your professional career guarding against mistakes and dealing with error that trait comes naturally. In any event, that characteristic and its cousin “difference of opinion” generate some conversations on rpls.com that are mighty, well...interesting.

As I write this, the horrific events of September 11 are still painfully prominent in everybody’s awareness. I have purposely avoided writing much about that subject simply because there are many who are much wiser and much more articulate than I who have written plenty, and will write more. But I was struck by the outpouring of postings on rpls.com. Many surveyors across the country evidently felt that rpls.com was the natural venue to express their shock and outrage. Hopefully, rpls.com played a role in helping some folks get through those days and will continue to help in many ways. Thank you, Mark Deal, for creating rpls.com and for helping POB assume its administration.

Editorial Mission

POB is edited to help the progressive surveying and mapping professional succeed. The magazine is dedicated to achieving this mission through concise and aggressive coverage of the industry, highlighting:
    • New applications and evolving technologies (particularly GPS and GIS),
    • Practical solutions to surveying and mapping problems, and
    • Business, legal and educational issues.

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