As unmanned aerial systems (UAS) become more prevalent in the skies, the United States is engaged in spirited conversation about their impact on the constitutional guarantees of privacy and free speech. Over the next 10 years, tens of thousands of these vehicles could be safely darting in our national airspace, providing a wealth of valuable services to homeowners, ranchers, farmers, journalists and businesses. Many of these vehicles will be equipped with remote sensing technology enabling the identification of individuals. This technological leap forward brings with it challenges to our concept of “privacy” and “free speech” our society has not yet faced.
Surveyors deal with the rules of construction each time they read a deed and attempt to walk in the footsteps of the original surveyor. While it would be tempting to refer to these as basic principles, the permutations found among the many jurisdictions that make up the nation seem anything but “basic.”
At recent convention seminars in several states, one of the most contentious issues was the doctrine of merger. In particular, heated debates frequently arise over the necessity of creating a new easement after the original right was extinguished due to the operation of the doctrine of merger. This is a disturbing concept for many. How can an express grant of an easement that is clearly described in a recorded deed be considered void when the dominant and servient estate are presently under separate ownership?
The doctrine of adverse possession has a particular fascination for me, but interest in this topic goes far beyond the surveying profession. Attorneys, employees of government agencies and the general public all become enthusiastic when squatters’ rights or trespass are mentioned.