Traversing the Law

January 2010

I agree that we should expend every effort to find any evidence before we declare a corner lost, and most surveyors will agree that proration is the last resort. I disagree with Mr. Lucas that there is no such thing as a lost corner. I am sure Mr. Lucas is familiar with the court case Barber v. Walker that my firm and Mr. Oscar Pittman were involved in. There was plenty of evidence supporting the location of the section corner, recorded subdivisions, Gulf Power maps, and DOT maps. The only decision that should have been made was which of the multiple corners to use. However, Mr. Bill Baskerville was able to convince the appellate courts that the corner was lost.

In the Panhandle area of Florida, thousands of acres are owned by paper companies. These sections have not been surveyed in my lifetime. Yet during this time, trees and lighter stumps have been repeatedly harvested. We have had times of drought and times of flood. The thousands of acres of interior sections do not have adjacent owners. The only roads are lumber roads or hunting trails. During the many times of drought and floods, the topo calls have moved. Creeks have moved, wetland limits have expanded and rescinded. You will not find any original evidence or corners in these areas. The paper companies are now selling some of this land. There are no corners to locate, no adjacent owners to consult, no interior corners to use. The topo calls cannot be trusted. Nobody wants to prorate corners, but these corners are LOST.

I believe the only one misguided or confused is you, Mr. Lucas. You have taken a good theory too far. You need to realize that surveying is a vast and complicated profession, and you cannot limit yourself by excluding valid arguments. Surveyors cannot have tunnel vision; they must explore the evidence as it takes them using their knowledge and experience to help them make the decisions necessary. Everything must be considered and nothing excluded. Do not handcuff yourself with the words “never” and “always,” as you may end up eating those words.

In any case, Mr. Lucas, lost corners do exist, and I hope for the sake of your readers that you admit it. Your original arguments are valid, and surveyors would be wise to listen. Any evidence is better than no evidence. But there are places where no evidence exists. In these cases, you have no other option but to declare the corner lost.

David D. Glaze, PSM


Scanning the Trends

February 2010

It’s really not the Point of Beginning.

My grandfather was born in Sweden in the late 1800s. At 19, he traveled to America through Ellis Island, first settling in Michigan then on to Idaho and then the West Coast. By midlife, and married to my grandmother, he was a blacksmith with 13 children. The family got by, but many changes occurred during their lives. Pounding out horseshoes, hinges, nails and wagon wheels eventual gave way to rubber tires, industrial machines and modern manufacturing. Blacksmiths were forced to either retire or become millwrights.

Land surveying is in the midst of experiencing the same dilemma. The cover and articles in the February [issue of] POB bring to light the latest trends in surveying. Each new article defines how land surveyors will collect and distribute data. I estimate that within the next few years, SUV-mounted scanners will give way to satellite “real-time” topographic mapping and photographic cameras that will “watch the grass grow.”

We will be able to count the orange buds in Florida, track the location of all bee hives and even count the bees and numbers of pollinated flowers. This technology is here to stay, whether we like it or not.

Like my grandfather, we, as land surveyors, will need to decide how to proceed. Some will follow the road of photographs and scanning. We will buy bigger and better trucks and better “cameras.” We may add “mag” wheels and oversize tires or even buy a used unmanned military “drone” and outfit it with the latest gear. POB may continue the trend and write and research articles showing the latest and greatest technology winner.

Although my other passion is photography and the outdoors, I chose to be a land (boundary) surveyor. For those of us that do not follow the path of “photography,” we will need to understand the roots of land (boundary) surveying. The basics used by surveyors before us might even save us. Their understanding of boundary lines, property corners, mathematics, evidence, control surveys, land title rights, measurement, and even error is crucial and everlasting. No camera or scanner will be able to compete with rational analysis, original monuments, closing corners, senior rights, gaps, gores and, of course, digging up those old pipes and stones.

I think it is time when we as land surveyors and POB must decide if the magazine is truly the Point Of Beginning or is it just another Photography Of Beauty, which does have the same initials.

Oh, by the way, my grandfather retired.

Dale Hult, PLS


Editor’s note: POB remains dedicated to helping surveying and mapping professionals succeed through our coverage of new applications and evolving technologies; practical solutions to surveying and mapping problems; and business, legal and educational issues. We welcome articles on all of these subjects.

Editor’s Points

March 2010

The ACSM definition of land surveying is the science and art of making all essential measurements to determine the relative position of points and/or physical and cultural details above, on, or beneath the surface of the Earth, and to depict them in a usable form, or to establish the position of points and/or details.

I’ve been in the land surveying profession for many years, and the only thing I believe I do is measure. I use tools to do this measurement, and these have changed from time to time, but their purpose is still to measure. That will never change no matter what some will say. When the time comes to prove what was done, our records of how we measured will be the prima facie evidence.

I’ve written a couple of pieces for POB over the years. The most recent was titled “Surveyors in Turmoil” [Web Exclusive, Aug. 26, 2003, online at]. I took a look into the future and saw the surveyor getting away from measuring. We, the surveyors, have allowed too many situations pass by us. As your editorial pointed out, will we be ready for the ‘e-revolution’? Are we truly getting away from measuring?

Jessie Hummel, PhD, PSM


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