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 un-manned 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, Oregon


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