Editor’s Points and Newsline

April 2008

I am the person that wrote the [Alabama] legislation [to create rural surveyors] and had it introduced. Unfortunately, the bill died as time ran out but will be introduced again in 2009.

I was surprised and very pleased to read your editorial “Time for action.” It appears that the “Education Debate” is a national problem and not just an Alabama problem. I am a strong believer that foresters should be able to be rural surveyors. They are in the woods and like the woods.

It is really not about education but about getting people that will do the job. I am working on my options, and I am sure that you will hear about them.

John Boney

Traversing the Law

June 2008

Your statement in the June issue, “Believe it or not, boundaries have been created and re-established for centuries without any math at all and, yes, even without RTK GPS” says so much with so [few] words. All surveyors doing boundary surveys should consider it every time they look at the math solution to the boundary-line location. It would also be great if lawyers read and understood what your statement says. Most do not. I am going to hang it on my wall for myself and my technicians.

Peter J. Moore, PLS
New Jersey

Reading the contribution of Mr. J.N. Lucas to the June 2008 edition leads me to a couple of conclusions:1) He doesn’t like engineers, architects, technicians or math, and 2) His writing doesn’t give too much away of stuff which readers might like [to] assimilate and use to improve their knowledge of a subject.

I can understand all I need to know about trig and spherical trig. But I can’t make head nor tail of what he is trying to convey about “proportioning” other than his message that boundary surveying should not be practiced by anyone other than himself or someone he considers to be his equal. Particularly not engineers, architects or ordinary land surveyors.

I cannot see why his article didn’t include a dimensioned sketch, and perhaps we could all have deduced the meaning of “proportioning” with or without explicit description.

W. Brown

Columnist Jeff Lucas responds:

If you are reading into my writing that I do not like “engineers, architects, technicians or math,” let me assure you that some of my favorite people fall into those categories, and math is what first drew me into the surveying profession. In addition, I also like surveyors. If I didn’t care about all of the above, I wouldn’t bother writing my column in POB. I write my column because of my respect for the surveying profession, which was instilled in me by the surveyors I worked under as a rodman, instrumentman, party chief and survey technician. When I became licensed myself back in 1984, and for many years thereafter, I continued to work for and with other licensed surveyors and I had technical people working under me, as well. I, too, tried to instill respect for the profession in those working for and with me.

Unfortunately, all of this experience and interaction with others in the profession could only take me so far. I was still confused over my ultimate responsibilities as a land surveyor. There were gray areas in my mind that I just could not seem to shed light on. I do admit that law school helped me to work out these problems that I was still having 20 years after entering the profession by forcing me to study the law and compare the law to my practice.

I do not claim to have all of the answers, and I do not believe that my column is the proper forum for instruction to other land surveyors. There is only so much that can be covered in a 2,000-word magazine article. I present situations, add my comments and leave it to professionals, like you, to make up their own minds about the outcome. If this comes off as “better than thou,” that is not my intent. My intent is to let you do the thinking. I just suggest what you might want to think about.

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