Technology Benchmark

September 2007

I enjoyed your article in the September ‘07 issue of POB. I was registered in Wisconsin as a professional surveyor for more than 30 years. Most of the time I was in my own business while holding the county surveyor position for most of that time. I was also registered in New Mexico for about the same number of years, but never really practiced there.

I came up through the civil engineering graduate method and found that the math and aspects of surveying really fit my fancy. That is why I stayed with it rather than going into any of the other fields that the CE program would allow a graduate to go.

The biggest problem I found with other surveyors, or those wanting to get into the field of surveying, was that a lot of the people wanting in, or already in, didn’t understand the math language or the legal aspect of surveying. Their main thought about surveying was that it was a way to make a living and therefore fairly easy to perform. Needless to say, I had problems with that type of thinking.

In Wisconsin, there were some of this type of people, whereas in New Mexico it seemed like they think most of the math and legals were for someone else, not surveyors. I have checked plats in New Mexico where the closure would be as much as 3' to 10' off and the plats would be approved. In Wisconsin, even angle closures of 1/2 second off and you had to make corrections. I enjoyed that type of discipline. When I spoke to a number of the New Mexico surveyors about a tight closure of plats, they didn’t know what I was talking about and didn’t want to hear of it.

In “reviving the surveying profession,” it would be nice to rid the profession of the non-disciplined people in some easy way. How to do that is the big question and problem as I see it. Are there any good suggestions as to how this can be done legally? Even with college graduates going into the surveying profession, the question is, “Do the professors maintain the ethics and professionalism that is needed to instill into the students for what they need to be a positive surveyor?”

Don E. Panetti

via e-mail

Editor's Points

November 2007

I just read your article in the recent issue of Point of Beginning about your trip to Traverse City, Mich. I had to laugh a little because I am the same way you are when I take trips around the state of Wisconsin. I am big into snowmobiling and do a lot of it in Wisconsin and the UP [Michigan’s Upper Peninsula], and I am always on the lookout for points of interest in surveying. I always take along my handheld GPS and use it for directions to places but also to search for one-of-a-kind survey markers. I have always been interested in spots such as the one you visited in Traverse City. I am going to do a search for a spot like that (the 45th Parallel) in Wisconsin. I really enjoyed your article.

Matt Vike


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