Editor's Points: Summer Reading for Surveyors
After you read Elaine Ball’s Business Side column on marketing, summer may not be your only busy season. She plans to have you developing a targeted strategy that will fill your calendar with the kind of work that is most rewarding from a professional and financial perspective. Clearly, one column won’t do all of that, so stay tuned as she lays it out step by step in coming months.
I’ve mentioned “Drawing the Line” by Edwin Danson before. Thanks to the fact Charles Mason recorded everything, not just technical details, we get a unique glimpse into the partnership of Mason and Dixon and the famous boundary work they did when America was still in its formative stages. It’s a very readable text with some careful attention to some of the other developments and innovations that Mason and Dixon participated in.
A more technical approach is the textbook “Fundamentals of Satellite Remote Sensing” by Emilio Chuvieco. Clearly designed as a textbook, it features review questions with each chapter if you plan to teach with it. It is a solid work start to finish and could serve as a good reference piece as well as providing an opportunity to delve into some new territory or brush up in some areas that have become a little fuzzy with time.
Somewhere between a hardcore textbook and Danson’s more relaxed but fact-filled book is “Land Tenure, Boundary Surveys, and Cadastral Systems” by George M. Cole and Donald A. Wilson. As with Danson, the authors start with the formative era and how it has affected land tenure and surveying. Walking through the rise to statehood from the perspective of land tenure systems leads to questions about how the country ever managed to form a union. It also gives insight into why surveyors are licensed state by state. The legal hodgepodge that governs property rights ranges from aboriginal and tribal law to French, English and even Roman law. The authors help make sense of it all in a book that works to inform and to educate. It’s just as good a read if you aren’t using it in a class.
Taken together, the three books range from process and technical to more storytelling in nature. There are certainly some aspects of land surveying that are not fleshed out, but there is a strong representative sampling of the things that attract career professionals.
The sense of history is strong. Surveyors clearly follow the footsteps and converse across decades and even centuries with their predecessors. That love of history is apparent.
Problem solving and technical challenges are another draw for those who like a good mystery. Technology is part of that process. Along with the field work, that’s part of the tactile element.
It all adds up to a very specialized set of skills and knowledge that sets surveyors apart. You probably won’t be enjoying these books at the beach, but they just might make your list of guilty pleasures.