Editorial: The Surveying Pulse

A 185Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Happy New Year! Although it hardly seems possible, this issue marks the beginning of our fifth year in publication. Our heartfelt thanks go out to you, our faithful readers, and to our advertisers for all of your continued support. It is deeply appreciated. In my discussions with surveyors across the country, it’s obvious that the residential land development market has pretty much come to a halt. However, light commercial development is still active in many parts of the country. Those of you who have ridden and survived the economic development curves for many years understand the importance of diversification. Like marketing, it is most important to apply it before a downturn.

In the President’s Corner of the November issue of Section Lines (the newsletter of the Kansas Society of Surveyors) I was encouraged to read that 44 Kansas companies have a current need for 125 persons of all levels–raw recruits, seasoned LSITs, and licensees. Sixty-six companies state that they believe the need in five years–for all levels–will reach 385! I spoke with the president, Doug Farrar, who concurred that while residential land development in Kansas is down, light commercial and business parks are still strong. He said that some developers are nervous about the future and are selling properties. Of course, whenever property changes hands, work for surveyors is created. Furthermore, most companies that have wisely diversified are also performing public sector work and oil and gas work. While some predict the residential downturn to last another two years, I am encouraged about the future of surveying.

If you are experiencing a slowdown, and you’ve had a need for upgrading your equipment or software, consider that now would be a good time to acquire that equipment or software. Many of you recall how difficult it is to properly train people when you have a heavy workload. Likewise, if you have been considering diversifying your practice by acquiring new technology, now’s a good time.

GLO Surveying
In addition to creating a land system that is admired all over the world, the designers of the PLSS also did something that I have always found fascinating: they devised a method of using a chain to establish acreage: a square 10 chains by 10 chains equals 10 acres. Terry McHenry, the editor of the Nevada Traverse (the newsletter of the Nevada Association of Land Surveyors) has been writing a series in the newsletter titled "Key Practice Pointers". One installment contains everything you ever wanted to know about the relationship of chains to acres. Our thanks to Terry for allowing us to reprint his interesting explanation. If a layperson ever asks you about this, you might want to photocopy the page.

We Welcome a New Reviewer
Judging by the number of downloads from our website, we have learned over the years that equipment and software reviews are one of the most popular items in our magazine. I goofed last month by not acknowledging our new equipment and software reviewer, licensed surveyor Shawn Billings. Shawn and his Dad work together in Kilgore, Texas, and have been successfully implementing technology for many years. Shawn reviewed Carlson’s SurvNet 5 least squares adjustment program in December. This month he reviews the TDS Nomad. Shawn’s hard at work on more reviews, so you can expect to see him in many issues this year.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 185Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE