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The Value of Trig-Star
I read with interest the article titled "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" [Charter Issue, pp. 45-47]. Mr. Robillard briefly mentioned the NSPS Trig-Star program under the section heading "The Problem". I believe the Trig-Star Program has great value as a tool surveyors can use to help attract young people to our chosen profession. Mason Victors [from Alaska], the current National Trig-Star Champion, worked for the BLM in the survey department last summer. Mason is interested in surveying and traveled from Alaska to attend the ACSM annual convention in Nashville to collect his award. Instead of asking, "Has even one of the Trig-Star winners ever become a surveyor?" we should be focusing some effort on insuring that [winners receive] positive exposure to our profession, including recruitment by the institutions of higher education that seem to be in need of qualified applicants. The National Contest and the winners that we produce are only a small part of the program. The Trig-Star program uses the competition and National Awards as a vehicle to advance the many missions of the program. The purpose of Trig-Star is:
• To promote the study of trigonometry in high school and to promote excellence in the mastery of trigonometry by honoring the individual student who has demonstrated superior skill among classmates at the High School level;
• To acquaint the high school trigonometry students with the use and practical application of trigonometry in the surveying profession;
• To build an awareness of surveying as a profession among the mathematicallyskilled high school students, career guidance counselors and high school math teachers/

The program is a tool that surveyors can use to promote themselves, their businesses, and the profession. High schools are receptive to the Trig-Star model. Individual surveyors go to the classroom and explain to the students that there is a practical application for the trigonometry they are studying. The contest sometimes takes a back seat to the real presentation. There are dedicated Trig-Star sponsors who bring survey equipment to the classroom for demonstrations. That is a service to the greater understanding of the profession. Those students exposed to these presentations have an appreciation for what surveyors do. That exposure is missing for the students not fortunate enough to have a local surveyor sponsoring the program at their high schools.

There are companies that utilize Trig-Star as a recruitment tool, and have great success. [For example,] MacKay and Sposito of Vancouver, Washington offers students a chance for summer employment. One of these individuals, Erin Dunbar, took them up on the offer. She now works for the company in the surveying department and is considering becoming a licensed professional. More importantly, her Trig-Star experience was so positive that she has become involved with the Trig-Star program and is the Washington State Trig-Star Coordinator. She is an active member of the National Trig-Star Committee and has contributed to the National Trig-Star program.

Every year, as the Trig-Star program grows, we are getting information about our profession directly to high school students across the country in the classroom setting. It is my hope that an awareness of the Trig-Star Program will convince your readers that the program is a valuable tool surveyor’s can use to inform the younger generation about careers in surveying. I would appreciate the opportunity to obtain your readers support of the program. The question is not "But has even one of the Trig-Star winners ever become a surveyor…?" The question is "How can we convince surveyors that the Trig-Star program, created and run by surveyors, is a program deserving of our utmost support."
John Chagnon
Chair, NSPS Trig-Star program
Eliot, ME

More Reader Comments
I have found the first issue of The American Surveyor quite enjoyable and informative. I have passed the magazine around the office, and everyone found something of interest. The article by Walt Robillard was quite thought-provoking. I am totally in agreement that land surveying should be separated from a college engineering curriculum. Many professional engineers practicing today view land surveying as simply a data collection process for a mapping project and have little knowledge of land surveying, boundaries, or property analysis. Your magazine will surely succeed if you continue to have articles pertaining to the average land surveyor operating a local practice against the ever increasing forces of title insurance companies, large engineering firms, realtors and attorneys.
Robert R. Rahnfeld, LS
Pearl River, NY

I received my subscription last evening and I read it from cover to cover. Finally a magazine that makes sense for a surveyor to read. I have been very disenchanted with many of the survey magazines in the past because they were dazzling many of us with their brilliance, technical terms and complicated formulas. Who needs to have a PhD in surveying unless you are planning to teach? Like Mr. Robillard stated, "have adjunct teachers" teach our incoming students. The students will be more receptive to them than to instructors who can’t relate to getting out with fellow surveyors who get muddy or sweaty in the elements. Thanks again and I will be sending in my check today to keep the magazines coming.
Mark E. Hummel, LS
West Palm Beach, FL

Photo Brings Back Memories
When I saw the picture on page 4 of the Editor’s Corner [Spring 2004], it brought back memories of an instrument I haven’t seen in over forty years. The instrument in the picture is a Microchain that was manufactured by Fairchild Camera and Instrument (FCI) in the early 1960s.

In the 1960s I worked for Fairchild Aerial Surveys in Los Angeles and then for Aero Service Corp. of Philadelphia after they acquired Fairchild Aerial Surveys.

The Microchain was only used by the military and we had a few at Fairchild Aerial Surveys. It is a duplicate of an instrument made by Cubic Corp. of San Diego called the Electrotape. There was an apparent agreement that gave FCI rights to sell only to the military, but they could use them within their own company. The only difference I noticed was that the Microchain was an olive drab color and the Electrotape was beige. Their operation, size, layout were the same. They did utilize radio waves, and as the sending operator progressed through the various frequencies in "send" mode the partner on a duplicate instrument matched the settings in a "receive" mode. There was also good radio contact between the Electrotape operators. After the results were recorded the operator’s roles were reversed and the distance was then measured in the other direction. Good operators could do this in less than 15 minutes.

These were excellent surveying instruments, especially in the aerial mapping business at that time. You could quickly measure between 50 and 25,000 meters with accurate results. Some drawbacks were their size and weight. You also had to occupy each point with the instrument and an operator. I probably measured 1000’s of distances with them and along with our Wild T-2s we knew we had a great surveying package. We in the field liked them better than the early Tellurometers which had a CRT display and required working under a rubber hood.
John Ostly, LS

Editor’s Reply: Somewhere I
have all the TMs and FMs we used while I was in the Army, and I think I recall seeing the manufacturer, etc. in one of those, but since I have no idea which box these manuals are in, I guessed. Thanks for wising me up. ­Marc Cheves, LS

I just finished reading your second issue of The American Surveyor. The first issue was very good, but the second is great-all I can say is WOW! You have certainly raised the bar for surveying publications. The contributors’ list reads like a "Who’s Who" of surveying, and the articles are extremely well done and on timely topics. I particularly liked Joel Leininger’s well stated comments on surveying education–he stated things I’ve felt for a long time but couldn’t state nearly as well. I also enjoyed Deral Paulk’s ProFile–I have previously known him from chat boards and e-mail, but the article fleshed out his character to where I feel that I almost know him. What other publications can I expect to see from Cheves Media? I’m eager! Congratulations on a job well done beyond all expectations. I was so impressed that I immediately subscribed for two years. All my best wishes for your continued success.
Brian D. Ewing, LS
Ewing Consulting Ltd.
Concord, CA

A 2.235Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE