Editorial: Following the Footsteps, Old and New

A 181Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Our cover this month pays tribute to a group of Wyoming surveyors who organized an expedition to Surveyor’s Notch in the Wind River Mountain Range, following the footsteps of the Hayden expedition’s surveyor/topographer/cartographer A.D. Wilson and crew (pp. 10 & 12). On those days when you’re feeling stressed and thinking that your boss has given you just a bit too much to do, consider the assignment given to Clarence King, who at age 25 was made geologist-in-charge of the exploration of the 40th parallel, in which cartographer A.D. Wilson took part. King was ordered "to examine and describe the geological structure, geographical condition and natural resources of a belt of country extending from the 120th meridian eastward to the 105th meridian, along the 40th parallel of latitude with sufficient expansion north and south to include the lines of `Central’ and `Union Pacific’ railroads . . . " [excerpt from the David Rumsey online collection highlighting Clarence King’s report, as well as the map "Rocky Mountains, Map 1 (Topographical), by A.D. Wilson, 1876].

Unlicensed Practice
Our own writer Jerry Penry also wrote about the 40th parallel where it intersects the Continental Divide in our July/August 2007 issue, and has written a variety of articles on fascinating survey history that can be accessed in the Archives or History sections on our website. Penry and his Nebraska colleagues have conducted so many survey expeditions that he created his own website detailing the efforts of his group in recovering, preserving and documenting the marks and monuments they have found (go to www.penryfamily.com/surveying/main.html). But, whoa Nellie, Jerry doesn’t just limit himself to penning articles about history. This issue includes an article about unlicensed practice. I receive the Board newsletters for the five states in which I’m licensed, and while my sense is that Board involvement generally involves unlicensed engineering, not unlicensed surveying, surveyors most often seem to run afoul of minimum standards. Still, it is up to us to register complaints with the Board to go after the unlicensed practice of surveying.

Astronomic Obs
Stepping back a bit in time, another article in this issue details the history of Elgin, Knowles & Senne, a Missouri company who developed software to enable us to easily make sun and star shots before GPS came along. Those of you who have done this, working the formulas prior to computers, know how time-consuming it was. On one of my recent road trips I interviewed Dick Elgin, and we’ll publish that article later on in the year. Dick has really been a positive force in the industry as a teacher and mentor.

Speaking of teachers and mentors, as Father’s Day approaches, many of us will reflect on the influences and impact our fathers and others had on our lives. In turn, each of us will leave behind a personal and professional legacy of teaching and/or mentoring of our own. May our footsteps provide clear and respectable paths for others to follow.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine. 

A 181Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE