Mike Ring started his land surveying career in 1985 while serving in the military.

“(Three) days before I left for Marine Corps boot camp,” he remembers, “my recruiter called and told me my first choice school, combat photography, was full, and I needed to pick a different job. I asked what my second choice was, and he said ‘draftsman.’

“‘No, I don’t want to do that. What was my third choice?’

“‘Surveyor,’ he responded.

“Even though I had no idea what a surveyor was or did, I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds good.’”

Ring now lives in Oak Park, Illinois, works in Chicago and is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, and is approved to take the Wisconsin jurisdictional.

Working for Terra Engineering, Ltd., most of his surveying projects are for public departments – Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Tollway, City of Chicago, Cook County, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (pictured).

“The technological changes that have come about since the days of 4-screw Gurley levels, plane tables and alidades, T-16s and steel tapes, will enable surveyors to gather more information quickly and perhaps more accurately,” says Ring. However, he stresses, the fundamentals of surveying will always be the sharpest tool in the box. “Your survey is only as good as your control, the law needs to be applied properly, thorough research is essential, and rights must be honored.”

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