Problem:Public Land Survey System: The Solar Compass

Problem: Public Land Survey System: The Solar Compass

Gunter’s chain was invented by Thomas Gunter in eighteenth century England. The instrument was used in public land surveys throughout the nineteenth century. These chains tended to increase in length with extended use. Why?

(A) The constant repairs required by frequent breaks
(B) The elasticity of the materials from which the chains were made
(C) The wearing down of the links and the rings that joined them together
(D) All of the above

This is problem 12(5-6) from the new second edition of1001 Solved Surveying Problemsby Jan Van Sickle. Reprinted with permission from1001 Solved Surveying Problemsby Jan Van Sickle (1997, 728 pp., Professional Publications Inc.). For details on this and other FLS exam-prep books, call 800/426-1178 or

Answer: C

The earliest Gunter’s chains were constructed of iron (later, steel) links joined together by rings. The deterioration of the metal-on-metal joints caused the chains to gradually increase in length.