Letters about education, and about previous articles by Dennis Mouland and Jerry Broadus.

Editor’s Note

October 2000

The dialog regarding to ‘educate’ or ‘not educate’ continues. In researching my latest book, Surveyors of the Public Lands in Michigan, 1808-2000, it was interesting to note that Bela Hubbard, (1814-1896) was an 1834 graduate of Hamilton College, N.Y. During his distinguished career as a U. S. Deputy Surveyor, he was very involved with the social, cultural and educational aspects of his community. To emphasize his commitment, he addressed the Michigan Legislature in January 1850 in an effort to encourage establishment of an “Agricultural Institution” (later to become Michigan Agricultural College, currently Michigan State University).

His address, in part, recites:

“No matter what a man’s business, the more varied education, the better, as he thus enlarges the sphere of his mind, and the sources upon which he can draw through life, both for profit and enjoyment.”

Today, as then, education may or may not make us a more competent professional surveyor, but it certainly should allow us to be better citizens, more cognizant of the world around us and better able to cope with the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

In my opinion, as professionals, we need to encourage the philosophy of Mr. Hubbard and his peers in the desire to improve ourselves and the service, whatever it may be, that we provide to our families and society.

Norman C. Caldwell, PS

via E-mail


May 2001 POB Online

I read with interest, Dennis Mouland’s online article on “Invisible Surveyors.” One movie that was not mentioned on the list, which was also a best selling book, is The Amityville Horror. The main character was a surveyor in upstate New York.

Granted, that wasn’t a big part of the book or movie, but it felt good to know that other surveyors have “horror stories”—literally—happen to them.

Until such time as our profession is as exciting to other people as it is to us, and the “wheels” in Hollywood figure they can make a BIG profit off of it, we’ll never get the coverage you, or the rest of us, would like.

Pat Naville

via E-mail

Editor’s Note: Dennis did not compile the movie list; POB compiled this list from a session at a recent trade show.

The Surveyor and the Law

May 2001

Please advise Mr. Broadus to select cases that contain simpler factual and legal issues. I read his article in the May 2001 POB, and then retrieved the case itself from Westlaw, and downloaded the drawings in the appendix. After laboring over this material for far too long, I can only conclude that the points to be made—for surveyors and attorneys—could be made with a different case that is more easily comprehended. I have asked several surveyors if they read it. The answer was invariably, “I started it, but didn’t finish. I got bogged down and didn’t have the time to try to sort it all out.”

B. R. Salyer, Esq.

Kentucky State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Jerry Broadus responds:

I am sorry that you found the time you spent deciphering that article to be unproductive. Your signature to the E-mail indicates that you are an attorney connected with the Kentucky Board of Licensure, so of course you know that it would be possible to summarize the legal principle found in that, or any other case, in about one paragraph. However, you would then be getting only my unsupported opinion about a case in a different jurisdiction, and how useful would that be?

Far too much legal writing attempts to distill individual cases into overly general statements of legal rules. If a surveyor wants to know the “black letter law” on something he or she will look it up in one of the excellent legal texts that have been published. I prefer to present cases that challenge the reader to solve the puzzle presented by the facts, because that is what surveyors have to do when confronted by novel situations in their work. Consequently I prefer to write about cases with complex factual disputes; it is in these cases that a surveyor is indespensible for untangling the threads.

You might find it interesting that the surveyor who worked on the Northlake Marine Works case is on our State’s Board of Registration. I know from my discussions with him that he was an active participant in the development of the legal issues addressed by the Court of Appeals. I did not intend to discuss the case as an abstract recitation of legal issues. Northlake is a real world example of what many surveyors do in their daily work, and as such, in my opinion, is valuable to write about.

Editor’s Note: POB has received good remarks about Jerry’s article, also.

The ideas and opinions expressed by our readers do not necessarily reflect those of POB.

Send your thoughts to the editor at brownl@bnp.com or mail to Letter to the Editor, POB magazine, 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Suite 1000, Troy, MI 48084.