Point of Beginning

Letters to the Editor

December 1, 2001
Letters respond to September and October 2001 articles.

“Back To Basics”

September 2001

There is a simple way to apply a little math to limit the multiple tries while getting on line. The steps are:
1. Setup on P1, a point close to the desired line. Sight the most distant point with zero on the circle and measure the deflection angle to the closer point. This is angle A1.
2. Move the instrument enough so the second setup, P2, is on the other side of the desired line.
3. Again, sight the most distant point with zero on the circle and measure the deflection angle to the closer point. This is angle A2.
4. Measure D1, the distance between P1 and P2.
5. Compute D2 = |A1| * D1
(|A1|+ |A2|)

Note: |A1| means absolute value A1, or ignore the sign.
6. Mark P3 at distance D2 from P1 toward P2. P3 should be very close to the line. Check by double centering and shifting the instrument on the tripod.

Tom Arneson
Duri, Indonesia


“Road Software Outlook”

September 2001

This article contains a lot of food for thought.

Field to finish is an important tool in a well-managed survey operation. I agree with the author that setting standards and establishing guidelines on how the field crew will gather data are two important steps to a successful field to finish operation.

Although “field to finish” technology has been available on the PC since the mid-1980s, and on larger computers earlier than that, I am amazed at the number of firms who aren’t using it for a variety of reasons. The reduction of errors, improvement in the quality of the final product and time saved in producing a field drawing, will in a short time, pay dividends for the time invested in implementing a “field to finish” system.

The author also states, “Make sure that you have a solid Windows system that includes MSDOS...,” but does not provide any support for the need for DOS. Firms that are making any effort to stay current with new technology have retired their DOS programs long ago. Those who haven’t need to do so soon.

Robert M. Pasley, PE
Glenwood, Md.


The author responds:

Robert, thanks for your input and comments with regards to the article. As far as MSDOS, this is something we continue to struggle with. I would refrain from stating that your total survey department computers should do away with the DOS environment. Some survey software is still DOS dependent, e.g., earlier versions of SMI Transfer, Topcon digital level interface program, and the transfer program “Kermit.” I’m not surprised that others in this profession share your opinion; there are plenty of private firms and public survey departments that have refused to take the initiative to upgrade the methods and technology for data collection.

Brian Skalman

“The Business Side”

October 2001

I just finished reading your article and agree with most all of your comments. Here in Connecticut, one can file a grocery list as long as it is the correct size and has a “red stamp” affixed to it stating it is an original ink on mylar. I whole-heartedly agree on continuing GOOD education, but some states diminish the hourly requirements if one is a member of a professional organization, or is an officer in same, or if one attends the annual meeting, and so on.

Even though I am one of those surveyors that went to the School Of Hard Knocks, I feel that a four-year degree is becoming more evident in this profession. The major drawbacks to this, in my opinion, are: if a state requires a four-year degree, then that state should have a college that offers this degree. And what are the monetary incentives for a four-year degree in land surveying? As most of us know you’ll never get rich being a land surveyor, but most land surveyors continue on in this career because they have a liking for the profession. Whether it’s finding that corner marker that no one has found in 50 years, or wading through swamps up to your nose, or seeing how you can outlast the elements, or number crunching ‘till the sun comes up, or finding that forgotten easement in the land records, most surveyors I know (and I’ve been doing this since 1974) survey because, well…because of a whole lot of different reasons. If a senior in high school was making a decision to major in civil engineering or land surveying, and he or she was to research the starting or ending salaries of these careers, I would bet good money that the choice would be civil engineering. As sad as it is, no matter what section of this big country you go to, land surveyors are not in the same salary ranges as civil engineers.

Anyway, your article was 99.99 percent agreeable.

Edward S. Ruchin, PLS
Via E-mail

I am a party chief with a surveying company in Georgia. I am finishing up a four-year surveying and mapping degree at Southern Polytechnic State University. I could not agree more with what you have stated in your article in POB. My opinion on the matter is this: Are we really professionals? Why do we sign and certify plats? The more we require and bend to “minimum technical standards,” the less stature we have as “professionals.” Does a doctor sign off and certify to surgery he just performed on you? What are his “minimum technical standards?” No, he is a professional, right? In fact, that is why he costs so much, right? In the time it took me to become an RLS I could have gone to med school and become a doctor! We are not only hurting our profession but putting a dent in our wallets. The more we are looked on as just surveyors and not “professionals,” the less we are going to be able to charge for our services. Anyway, I will now get off my soapbox; however, I just wanted to say you hit the nail on the head and we as professionals need to raise our own standards and start getting the respected professional stature I feel most deserve.

Jerry Wood
Via E-mail

The ideas and opinions expressed by our readers do not necessarily reflect those of POB.

Send your thoughts to the editor at brownl@bnp.com or mail to Letter to the Editor, POB magazine, 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Suite 1000, Troy, MI 48084.