Regarding “An End to the Pin Farm,” September 2006
Where [Tim Barnes] boils the problem down to money and infers that the federal government (the BLM) picks up most [of] the tab… this is not correct. The program is funded by the surveyor (client) paying a filing fee for the corner records--one dollar each in Wyoming and three dollars in Idaho, for instance--into the county clerk’s or recorder’s office. That office absorbs any cost not covered by the fee. There is no federal money involved and the BLM does not contribute to the system in any way but is a major user during its retracement surveys.

This effort is not funded from the federal government. It would be embarrassing to ask for federal funds as ACSM is doing for the Trig-Star program.

Paul N. Scherbel

The Business Side

December 2006
Our current equipment measures faster and more accurately that anything previous. But is that reason to ignore a found monument? What is wrong with filing a Record of Survey showing a record (either from a deed or previously recorded map) bearing and distance and a measured bearing and distance?

In metes and bounds descriptions, the deed is to be held (which I never totally agreed with especially when record monuments are found), but is setting pin cushion corners the answer? Why not just say, “fd iron pin accepted as corner of…” or “fd iron pin N45°E 0.07ft from true corner”?

I recently found a downtown area here where two and three spikes are at the c/l intersections, some of which the spike heads overlap. These “land surveyors” are so good they don’t accept someone else’s non-record point and set their own, but [they] aren’t good enough land surveyors to file a map calling out their “better” monument. And these same “super accurate surveyors” evade the state law of filing a map when setting property corners by setting c-nails in the street on PL(?) prods for construction of multi-million dollar homes. (I didn’t set the property corners so I’m not required to file a map.) And they save the developer a few bucks.

W. T. Foster, PLS

From the Ground Up

January 2007
Excellent article by Mark E. Meade on the National Readjustment of NAD83.

The article brings the reader from the beginning of NAD83 to present in a clear, concise manner and what to expect in the way of shifts, as well as why datum shifts have occurred. I was particularly glad to see that NGS has adopted a name for the adjustment with the year stated. I expect that adjustment shifts in the future will be further down the road, perhaps not so related to better definition of the Earth’s size and shape but continental drift. Maine is on the Northeast Tectonic Plate drifting northwest several millimeters every 10 years or so.

On our survey projects, there is a control file that contains the station names and coordinates upon which the survey is based. In the past, we have simply stated the particular adjustment name the coordinates are in, but for the past few years we have been including the names of the base net stations and showing their coordinates. Having named the adjustment of NAD83 that I am using, with the coordinates in the file also, this proves the adjustment stated is the correct one. (This can get very confusing for those not familiar with geodesy, and have their own survey problems to contend with.)

I also frequently “slide” older projects into the latest adjustment for newer projects. Not so much for the survey topography itself, but [for] the centerline coordinates that define right of way and any iron pins or boundary markers. With the GPS solution software available today, it is really easy to “slide” older adjustments to newer ones--the key, of course, is to positively identify the geodetic systems.

Harold E. Nelson

Traversing the Law

January 2007
The article “Adjudication of Boundaries” by Jeffery N. Lucas was excellent! What he has to say about surveyors making a decision about boundary lines and determining who owns what is the same thing I have been preaching for years. I cut the article out, filed it and will read it again and again.

Jack Keen, LS
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