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POB Announces the Winner of Fifth Annual Highlights in Surveying Contest

September 29, 2009
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The grand prize winner of POB’s fifth annual project contest is the USKH survey department in Anchorage, Alaska, for its survey of airport and hovercraft landing sites on Akun Island, located approximately 750 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutian Islands.

USKH’s Sam Denny performs a topographic survey on Akun Island.

TROY, Mich. - POB today announced the winner of the 2009 Highlights in Surveying contest, an international competition that recognizes the talents of surveyors, mappers and other geomatics professionals.

The grand prize winner of POB’s fifth annual project contest is the USKH survey department in Anchorage, Alaska, for its survey of airport and hovercraft landing sites on Akun Island, located approximately 750 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutian Islands. The airport will service the City of Akutan located on the neighboring island of Akutan. The USKH survey crew had approximately three months to conduct detailed control and bathymetric surveys around the two islands as well as to perform an upland topographic survey of areas totaling approximately 1,100 acres. By using advanced technologies and a combination of surveying techniques, the crew was able to overcome substantial challenges in terrain and logistics to deliver the project on time and within budget.

“This was an extremely complex job handled by surveyors who understood the interconnections between the various aspects of the job and the various technologies applied,” said Joseph V.R. Paiva, PhD, PLS, PE, a respected geomatics consultant and POB contributing editor and one of the judges for this year’s contest. “The conditions under which they worked-both in the field and in the ‘office’-were difficult by any way of measurement.”

Jake Gerondale, USKH survey manager, accepted the award on behalf of the survey crew. “The extreme remoteness, weather, terrain, and wildlife made this one of the most difficult yet interesting places in the world to work,” Gerondale said. “We wouldn’t have been able to complete this job without the dedication of our field and office staff. We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts with this year’s Highlights in Surveying award.”

The winning project will be featured in POB's October print and digital issues and on POB Online at www.pobonline.com. As the grand prize winner, the USKH survey department will also be able to select one person to participate in the 2010 Land Surveyor’s Workshops Continuing Education Cruise courtesy of Land Surveyor’s Workshops.

Two other projects entered in the 2009 contest received honorable mentions:
  • Architectural Resource Consultants and D. Woolley & Associates Inc.: As-Built Surveys of a 1920s Landmark in South Gate, Calif.
    When officials from the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) decided to embark on the development of a new sustainable community college campus, they soon realized that uncovering the past would require high-tech modern tools. Working through an architectural consulting firm, surveyors used a combination of laser scanning, robotic total stations, GPS technology, advanced software and other tools to document this historic 40-acre complex of buildings. “This project provides a good example of how the architecture and land surveying professions can collaborate,” Paiva said.

  • Frank D. Abell, RLS: Survey of the San Ignacio De La Canoa Land Grant
    In 1821, one of the original Spanish land grants was surveyed by the commander of the fort at Tubac in what is now the state of Arizona. Fifty-nine years later, the General Land Office resurveyed this historic parcel. Unfortunately, the new location was slightly in error-by a magnitude of 2.5 miles. The true location of the land grant would remain unknown until Dr. Richard Willey of the Flandrau Planetarium at the University of Arizona accidentally discovered the truth while attempting to find where the Tucson Meteor crashed to earth. Willey published his findings in a local history periodical, The Smoke Signal, in 1979. After seeing the article, Abell began a 20-year-plus pro bono project to conduct a new survey of the historic parcel, an effort that concluded in July 2008. “Historic projects such as this one are extremely important in the community.” said Michael L. Binge, LS, GISP, one of the 2009 judges. “Any opportunity to connect the past to the present and, indeed, the future is a worthwhile effort. The research alone will pay dividends for years to come.”
The honorable mention entries and other noteworthy projects entered in this year’s contest will be featured in future editions of POB in print, digital editions and online.

“This year’s contest proved difficult to judge because so many of the projects entered are worthy of recognition,” said Christine L. Grahl, editor of POB. “They highlight how surveyors are expanding their capabilities and using technology in innovative ways to address complex design and redevelopment challenges. It’s exciting to see the surveying and mapping professions involved in such cutting-edge applications.”

POB will open its sixth annual contest in the spring. Visit www.pobonline.com for details.

About POB:
POB serves the surveying and mapping profession as an informative national publication, Web site (www.pobonline.com), digital magazine and eNewsletter, as well as the online community for geospatial professionals - www.RPLS.com.

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