Point of Beginning

Newsline

August 1, 2007
Colorado Updates Land Surveying Statutes; Seattle Art Honors Land Surveying; and Eagle Point Helps Surveyors and Engineers Work Efficiently.

House Representative Jim Kerr and Senator Abel Tapia, along with PLSC President John B. Guyton and PLSC members Di Askew and Roger Nelson, watch as Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signs House Bill 07-1225, clarifying ambiguities in the state’s land surveying statutes.


Colorado Updates Land Surveying Statutes

On May 30, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed House Bill 07-1225, which amends the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning land surveying.

The governor’s signing of the bill culminated the Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado’s (PLSC) ongoing efforts to address technological changes and clarify ambiguities in the land surveying statutes. “The PLSC Legislative Committee continuously works to update areas of the statutes based on the changing conditions placed on the surveying profession,” says PLSC President John B. Guyton. “We looked at the statutes and realized that some were outdated, and cross-referencing in others was cumbersome. We came to a consensus to modify the bill and came up with new wording.”

House Representative Jim Kerr, prime sponsor, first introduced the bill on February 15 with proposed language to define the terms “geodetic surveying” and “basic control” for engineering projects. The bill specifically defines geodetic surveying as “the performance of surveys in which measure of account is taken of the shape, size, and gravitational forces of the earth to determine or predetermine the horizontal or vertical positions of points, monuments or stations.” Basic control for engineering projects is defined in the bill as “survey markers set on or in the vicinity of a construction project to enable all components of the project to be built in compliance with plans and specifications with respect to the project location, orientation, elevation and relationship to property, easement or right-of-way boundaries.”

The bill also allows students in their senior year of an approved four-year surveying curriculum to take the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Fundamentals of Surveying examination. Additionally, the bill addresses boundary line agreements, an area of concern for Colorado surveyors. “The bill places statutory limits on when a boundary line agreement can be used,” Guyton says. Additional language was added to the bill stating that “If the map or plat is prepared by a licensed professional surveyor, monuments shall be set for any line, corner, or boundary included in the agreement.”

Although the PLSC Legislative Committee successfully helped modify House Bill 07-1225, members are not stopping there. “We have other issues that we are currently working on,” Guyton adds. “The [PLSC Legislative] Committee is working to continue solving problems faced by surveyors and [to] set standards of care.”

To view a copy of Colorado House Bill 07-1225, visit www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/olls/sl2007a/sl_70.htm.

Artist Perri Lynch’s artwork titled “Straight Shot” in Washington state’s Warren G. Magnuson Park features 12 limestone columns highlighting the Sand Point calibration baseline. Photo courtesy of Perri Lynch.

Seattle Art Honors Land Surveying

On June 7, more than 80 people gathered in Seattle, Washington’s Warren G. Magnuson Park to witness the unveiling of a surveying-related art display. In 2005, artist Perri Lynch was commissioned by the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation to create a work of art highlighting the Sand Point calibration baseline. The baseline, established in 1982 by a cooperative program with the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), is a series of locations marked along a one-kilometer path from the southeast parking lot to the northerly perimeter of the north ball field of the park. The baseline operates as an SPU facility and is continuously used by public and private surveyors and scientific communities to calibrate and verify the accuracy of electronic distance measurement (EDM) equipment.

According to Gavin Schrock, LS, a surveyor and analyst for SPU, the idea to create artwork representing the baseline began four years ago when it became apparent that construction in the park would interrupt the sightline. “We [SPU] found there wasn’t an easement for the baseline,” Schrock says. “We looked for three years for an alternate sight, but finding a kilometer-long alternate sight in a highly developed area is difficult. Since art has a permanent easement, we decided, ‘let’s stick art on the baseline.’”

To generate ideas for the art display, SPU’s One Percent for Art fund put out a call to artists in the Seattle region. Lynch was chosen out of four finalists for her natural design using stone installations as well as her connection with the surveying community. Lynch first became interested in surveying after stumbling upon a surveying monument in a Seattle park. “I started to research monuments in my county and realized that many are being destroyed,” Lynch says. “Surveying is a grounded way to understand where we are in the world.”

Lynch’s exhibit, titled “Straight Shot,” features a procession of 12 limestone columns positioned north to south along one kilometer marking the calibration baseline. Each column features holes, which allow visitors to view the line of columns just as a surveyor would through a total station.

Schrock and his co-workers at SPU are extremely pleased with the end product. “[The art] is now a permanent easement,” Schrock says. “The park--including wetlands, trails and benches--is actually worked around the art piece so the sightline is preserved. It is very visible to the community.” Schrock adds that the goal of the art is not only to preserve the baseline but also to honor the surveying profession. “We hope the park will stimulate students who take field trips to the park and promote surveying as a future profession,” Schrock asserts. “With hope, the park will help create future surveyors.”

Eagle Point Helps Surveyors and Engineers Work Efficiently

For more than 20 years, Eagle Point Corporation of Dubuque, Iowa, has provided technology solutions and services for land development organizations. Last year, the corporation expanded its line of services with the creation of a new business consulting division called Business Perspectives. “We wanted to broaden our focus and help our clients in all areas of their business,” says Eagle Point’s Business Consulting Manager Laura Howard. “There’s a big need in the [land development] market to help clients run their businesses more effectively--from financial services to strategic planning to helping them have consistent and profitable workload in their organization.”

As part of its Business Perspectives services, Eagle Point launched The Engineering Exchange in June 2007--a consortium to help engineers and surveyors find work, manage workloads and seek out qualified subcontractors. Through The Engineering Exchange, members can promote and/or bid on services. When organizations or individuals have excess work, they can advertise for subcontractors for additional help. Alternatively, surveyors or engineers who are in need of work can bid on projects. Annual membership in the program includes unlimited access to bid on or post Request for Proposals (RFPs). Members are eligible to bid on any RFPs that meet their membership profile specifications. “The Exchange helps maintain a consistent workload and reduce or eliminate the number of layoffs during slow seasons,” Howard says. “It provides a forum for companies to be able to work more efficiently by subcontracting each other.”

The Engineering Exchange places a strong emphasis on finding qualified individuals for surveying and engineering projects. “Many people in the [land development] market have been having a difficult time finding qualified employees for their jobs,” Howard claims. “The Engineering Exchange helps alleviate this issue. It helps even out the workload without the stress of filling positions.”

In addition to the forum providing a place to find help or get work, it also provides an avenue for companies to find subcontractors with specialty skills or favorable project sites, and for retired individuals looking to work on a few projects a year. “[The Engineering Exchange] is a community of individuals and companies helping each other out,” Howard says. “It is available to anyone in the market.”

Annual membership in The Engineering Exchange is $250. Additional information on Eagle Point’s Business Perspectives services and The Engineering Exchange can be found at www.eaglepoint.com.

Associate Editor Regan Grant compiles Newsline. If you have a timely, newsworthy item, contact her at grantr@bnpmedia.com or 248/786-1620.