Point of Beginning

Letters to the Editor

May 22, 2001
Letters about plane table mapping and respect of surveyors.

“Plane Table Mapping”

September 2000

I have just re-read the article about Plane Table Mapping by Milton Denny in the September 2000 issue of POB and am surprised there wasn’t more comment about it. I have always had an affinity for the plane table “technology” and found the article very interesting. I have acquired several types of alidades but didn’t have access to the history that Milton wrote about. Sometimes that old “technology” still has a place in today’s marketplace if one knows how to adapt it.

A belated thank you for the history lesson, Milton.

S.R. McLaughlin, LS

Springfield, Mo.

“Letters to the Editor”

February 2001

It is due to my passion for surveying I had to take time to respond to Mr. Hilbern’s comments. He criticizes the process used to appoint board members. He indicates that the system is flawed due to the fact that those involved in the formation and operation of the board aren’t qualified to make surveying decisions. He even says, “Most of them do not hold a degree in land surveying.” Later he states we should drop any degree requirements. Let me get this straight: the licensing process is flawed due to a lack of education of those involved with the process but we should not have a degree requirement for surveying and force the regulatory bodies to abolish this requirement. Now there’s a well thought out argument. There is a solution: promote a lack of education.

He then encourages practicing surveying without a license. He believes the only consequence of this negligent act is being referred to the attorney general. That has to be one of the most crass and selfish statements I have ever heard. A surveyor’s mandate is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public in surveying matters. Being referred to the attorney general isn’t the worst that could happen. Someone who isn’t qualified to practice could harm a member of the public. In the states I practice in, Tennessee and Georgia, regulations are very clear. Our first concern is to the public not ourselves. Secondly, anyone who aids or encourages someone to practice without a license will be disciplined by the board.

The comment about engineers and architects is also contradictory. Engineers and architects have educational requirements for their professions. If they are taking over our roles, which I see no evidence of, then maybe their education makes them more qualified for our jobs. Engineers and architects practicing surveying shouldn’t bother Mr. Hilbern. He has already advised one person to practice without a license so why shouldn’t engineers and architects be able to do our job without a license? He encouraged the act of practicing surveying without a license, yet he’s not thrilled with those outside our profession practicing without being qualified.

He also states we should grow our numbers so we can “stand up to these other professions.” People who practice “professions” don’t usually “stand up” to one another; they work together for the good of the community they serve. What he describes is more like “calling out” the engineers and architects to meet in the streets and “settle this like a man.” I could go on and on but the letter is a sad commentary on someone, in my opinion, that is totally oblivious to what his role and responsibility is as a surveyor.

Barry Savage, PLS

Cleveland, Tenn.

“Letters to the Editor”

March 2001

Mr. Schwandt appears to be a knowledgeable professional, but I do not agree with him on the issue of respect due our profession. No one can demand respect. It MUST be earned. The only way we can draw respect to our profession is to practice responsibly and professionally as individuals. Only then will the whole reflect the characteristics of the parts. It doesn’t work the other way around.

Kevin N. Davis, PLS

Stanton, Ky.

I really enjoy your articles about GPS, GIS and all the fuzzy areas in between. You have managed to take a complicated subject and break it down so people like me can understand. I just read “The 900 lb. gorilla,” and everything you mentioned has happened to me.

Michael Kethan, SIT

Woodville, Texas

Errata:

The equation in the March column The GPS Observer is incorrect. The equation should have included a minus sign and read as:

DH = dh – dN

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