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Letters: Editor's Points - August 2010

October 1, 2010

In reference to your article on surveyors and GIS, you ask for success stories. I have none-only what you've written.

I do agree that surveyors should start working toward a better GIS system. [In New York’s GIS department], there was no surveying involvement, which led to a positional problem of correct line work jammed together to make a pretty picture. Some of the data were digitized or scanned from other towns and just applied like an appliqué over stretched boundary lines.

The product is being passed off as accurate. But it’s not all accurate, although some parts are. Positionally, the lots on their map were not GPS'd and are not surveyed, so I don't see the surveyor ever going by the wayside. It is one of our jobs to maintain measuring accuracy, and by law we are licensed to certify accuracy. The last time I checked, a GIS technician IS NOT A SURVEYOR!

The GIS department that I deal with never sets foot out in the field, so how do they know what they are even looking at? Have they ever set up a transit and shot building corners, property corners, curbs or ditches? Do they even know what a tape is or how to use it? Are they licensed?

When a deed says a lot is one acre, it should be one acre-not some trumped-up shapefile made to represent two acres.

Furthermore, I believe that surveyors should understand the complete picture of GIS-know how it works or how it’s built, know what's good and what's bad. It might [be a good idea] to get law passed stating that only a LICENSED SURVEYOR should run any GIS department so that all control is not lost and the public does not get junk.

The surveyor of today must try to make advancements in their industry. There is plenty of room for such advancements and many avenues for them to follow.

--Steven J Green, PLS, New York


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