mapping Archives - Infrastructure Digest

The Curt Brown Chronicles: Engineers and Surveying

“Most engineering colleges offer training in computations, mapping and instrumentation, but little or nothing in surveying law. A man may be a beautiful technician, a skilled mathematician, and an expert at making measurements, but of what value is his skill it he does, not know where to place a legal property corner? Almost 100% of the fault we find with the men we employ is their ignorance of where to place property corners. The objection is frequently raised that the subject of land law is not engineering. But is that true? Everyone is expected to obey the law and everyone is presumed to know the law. The property surveyor is licensed to set property corners and he is expected to set them in accordance with the correct principles of law. He is not practicing law; he is merely obeying law in the same fashion that you or I do when we obey the speed limit. And if land law is never engineering, why has the engineer from time immemorial had the task of locating right-of-way lines and property lines for his fixed works?”

Why should you read this? Short editorial on an important continuing controversy. The American Surveyor, January 2015

Civil Engineer Places Two-Million Dollar Home on Wrong Lot—This Was Not Land Surveying

“Four Twenty proceeded to build a magnificent 2,400 square foot, three bedroom residence with a septic system and a sweeping driveway, all in reliance on Carrigan’s plans. When the project was completed, Four Twenty entered into a purchase and sale agreement to sell the property for $1.9 million. Before completion of the transaction, the buyer commissioned Richard S. Lipsitz, a Professional Land Surveyor and the president of Waterman Engineering Company to perform an independent survey of the property. Lipsitz performed a Class I survey to verify the location of the property lines and to ensure the marketability of the property. Upon completion, Lipsitz’ informed the buyer that the home was built on the wrong lot and was instead, located entirely on the Nulman Trust Property. The buyer naturally terminated the purchase agreement.”

Why should you read this? You may have heard this story, at least in broad outline. This is an excellent article that provides details of the mistakes made, and how the liability fell out in court. Also, for land surveyors, more support for better survey standards for pre-construction surveys. The American Surveyor, November 2014

The Lost Graves of Tarawa

“After more than 14 years of research, Mark Noah, a World War II history buff in Marathon, Florida, started raising money for a mission to the South Pacific islands to find those missing men, and cause the military’s Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command to launch a formal investigation into bringing those remains home for burials with full military honors.

“There is plenty of evidence that the remains are there,” Noah explained. “The chaplain who was responsible for graves registration kept meticulous records of who was buried, along with information such as service number, branch of service, date of death, nature of wounds, but Tarawa was only the first step in the American campaign to reach Tokyo, so at the time our troops had more pressing things to do than to tend to bodies, and space was at a premium due to their need for the airfield on the island, so the remains were lost in the shuffle.”

“Five of the burial sites have had U.S. Marine remains accidentally dug up during the extensive construction activity that has taken place over the years,” Noah said. “As a result, we have known generally where they are buried, but having the remains found, identified, and returned for burial and to give families of the missing men a sense of closure is our foremost goal.”” An unusual use of ground penetrating radar to find grave sites. The American Surveyor, June 30, 2012

Mapping Rangelands with Unmanned Aircraft

“USDA scientists Al Rango and I are leading a team to conduct ongoing research at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico. The goal of this research is to determine the utility of UAS for rangeland mapping and monitoring and to develop an operational UAS-based remote sensing program for ecological applications.” Man, UAVs are everywhere lately, but at least these aren’t armed or spying on us… they say. Aerial Mapping, Spring 2012

Oceanscience Launches Z-Boat for Shallow Water Hydrographic Surveys

“The Oceanscience Group (San Diego, CA) has recently launched the Z-Boat 1800 portable remotely-operated survey boat that brings high quality positioning and depth sounder instruments together on a convenient remote platform that can be launched and operated from practically anywhere.” It’s a practical way to do hydrographic surveying… and it’s a radio controlled boat; whee! The American Surveyor, 7-23-2012

A New View on Mapping

“… using a modified version of an airborne thermal infrared sensor technology used by the military for night vision, Bluesky began offering aerial thermal surveys that provided average heat-loss values for building polygons.” Bit of an advertisement for Bluesky International Ltd., but also a good overview of new options in aerial mapping, including thermal mapping, solar potential mapping, and UAV use. POB, July 2012

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