Editor's Corner: Hot Summer Days

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The long days of summer are upon us, meaning that many of you are getting to the field a bit earlier and staying out a bit later. It’s also that time of year for picnics, softball, cold watermelon and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Just last week I had the pleasure of joining with fellow surveyors at the Appalachian Chapter meeting of the Maryland Society of Surveyors, where we even tried our hand at some old instruments, enjoyed plenty of fresh barbeque, and shared lots of stories. Leveling the instrument in the photo is Jim Bailey, who works for Van Mar Associates in Mt Airy, Maryland.

Ronald Reagan Tribute

I’m sure many of you have had total strangers wander up to you on a job and ask about what you’re doing. I’ve heard tell of those with a sense of humor (and the ability to keep a straight face) who’ve been tempted to tell "chatty" landowners that they’re just there taking measurements for the landing lights for the new airport that borders the property, or some other story designed to raise an eyebrow. The longer you’ve been around, the more you tend to cross paths with others– like adjoining landowners mentioned above–who have done some surveying in the past, often as a summer job. It was therefore a surprise, though not a shock, to learn that our nation’s 40th President also did a little surveying one summer. Our thanks go out to John Palatiello from MAPPS for providing the tribute to Ronald Reagan on pages 12 and 13. Reagan was the last President to proclaim National Surveyors Week. Read for yourself his laudatory praise for the benefits surveyors bring to society.

New Contributing Writers
Extending our Fabric of Surveying in America series, we are pleased to welcome New Mexico surveyor and writer Fred Roeder on board. Now retired from the U.S. Forest Service, Fred is the author of Antepasados, a lively collection of stories about surveying in the Southwest and other fascinating historical surveying subjects (available through www.nmps.org). His Fabric of Surveying article in this issue pertains to the many pueblos that were acknowledged by the GLO as it worked its way across New Mexico, and the fraudulent attempts by unscrupulous people who tried to obtain land illegally.

I am also pleased to announce another new contributing writer, Gary Kent. Gary works for the Schneider Corporation in Indianapolis. He lectures across the country and is widely known as ACSM’s resident expert on ALTA-ACSM surveys. In his inaugural column, he discusses the current status of ALTA surveys.

Subscriber Benefits
Subscribers to the magazine are eligible for discounts on two items for sale on our website. First is Taylor Morrison’s latest book, The Coast Mappers. You can read Pat Toscano’s review of this book on page 66. It was my pleasure to meet and work with Taylor when he visited the Washington D.C. area to do research for his book. The book was written for a young audience, but the subject matter is also well-suited for adults. Taylor’s illustrations are outstanding, and he does and excellent job of explaining difficult concepts.

Also available on the website are highquality historical map reproductions, examples of which can be seen on pages 46-47 and 50. The maps are printed on archival paper with archival inks. If you have a special request, don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll see if I can find the map you are looking for.

The $63 Million Man
Another story I thoroughly enjoyed telling is the Dennis Nardoni saga, outlining the business history that finally culminated in the sale of CST/Berger to The Stanley Works in January of this year. Shown above is a small dividing engine–one of several Nardoni rescued from the Berger factory in Massachusetts–that now resides in the foyer of Nardoni’s office in Bradley, Illinois. The story begins on page 14. Watch for a future article about where the company is going from here, and how Ash Puri will continue to take the company to new heights.

SurveyPlanet Revisited
For this issue’s ProFile, we traveled to Seattle to visit with Mark Plog and Tom Woldendorp. You might remember these guys as the founders of SurveyPlanet, a portal website designed to help surveyors do their job. Although the website is no longer live, Plog and Woldendorp are applying many of the lessons learned to their new surveying business. Read about it on page 42.

3rd EarthData Installment

My thanks to Jeff Leonard (left) and Tom Harrington of EarthData (pictured below) for helping me tell the GeoSAR story in this issue. I also want to thank Brian Logan, Mary Hiatt, Louis DeMargne and all the folks at EarthData who helped me with this series of articles. This issue’s GeoSAR article was to be the third and final installment, but just after I started writing the series, EarthData created another new company, EarthData Solutions LLC, whose technology may also be of interest to our readers. Based on highly accurate aerial images, software from the new company creates incredibly precise 3D models (to the tune of ±1 meter). Thus far they have created models of 10 major U.S. cities. The models have even been used in such films as The Day After Tomorrow and Spiderman. Given the state of our planet, homeland security concerns, and the need to deal with terrorism, there’s no doubt the technology will be put to good use.

Have a Great Summer!
I hope you’ll take some time out for family and friends this summer, enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic or two, and pause to reflect on our many blessings in this "land of the free and home of the brave."

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 1.558Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

About the Author

Marc Cheves, PS

Marc Cheves is editor emeritus of the magazine. He has been a surveyor since 1963 and is licensed in five states. Since 1995 he has been a surveying magazine editor.