A 424Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Canoes and Saying No
I have just read the latest issue of The American Surveyor magazine and have the following comments.

1) Denny and Delores DeMeyer’s article "Voyage of the Koo Koo Sint & Paddle Song" is incorrect in the statement that David Thompson was the first person to survey and map the Columbia River in 1811. It seems to me that Lewis & Clark surveyed and mapped the Columbia River in December of 1805 and published a map of their survey.

2) Landon Blake’s article "Finding Courage to Say `No’" seems to indicate that there are times when it is okay for a surveyor to cut corners and shortcut the process of performing the boundary survey. I strongly disagree. A boundary survey is always performed in the same manner with proper research, field work, computations and platting. It can never be compromised or it is not a boundary survey and the surveyor is not operating in a professional manner if he varies from the proper procedure.
Mark C. Martin
Via the Internet

DeMeyer’s Reply to #1:
It is true that William Clark of L & C was the first person to survey and map the Columbia River from the Snake (Lewis’s) River to the Pacific Ocean. A review of Mr. Clark’s map(s) clearly show he did not know the course of the Columbia River north of the Snake. It would be discourteous to Mr. Clark’s skills as a surveyor and cartographer to suggest otherwise.

It is a well-known fact that David Thompson was the first person to survey and map the entire Columbia River from its headwaters near Invermere, British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.

You are respectfully reminded that the magazine article you reference clearly states that David Thompson was "the first person to survey and map the Columbia River from its source near Invermere, British Columbia to its mouth at Astoria, Oregon".

It is my hope that you enjoyed the rest of the magazine article. I certainly enjoyed my six weeks of paddling with surveyors from different states and provinces and promoting our surveying profession and North America’s greatest surveyor, David Thompson.
Denny DeMeyer
Chairman & Team Captain
North American Land Surveyors

Blake’s Reply to #2
I agree with you that a boundary survey should always be performed to the highest standard. It is never acceptable to cut corners. It wasn’t my intention to indicate in the article that it was ever okay to take shortcuts on a boundary survey. On the contrary, I was trying to encourage our peers to take a stand and say no to the shortcuts, even when this is difficult because of outside pressure, pressure within the organization, or economic pressure. I hope this e-mail will clarify my position. If you believe there is a particular statement in the article that needs to be corrected, please let me know.–L.B.

I especially liked Landon Blake’s article "Just Say `No’". There are few things dirtier than a surveyor that will perform a record boundary in connection with a field survey. I am sorry to hear he lost his dad at such a young age. 52 is much too young.
David E. Woolley
Tustin, California

I wanted to pass along a big THANK YOU to Landon Blake for his article "Just Say `No." I am so struggling with getting the Arizona surveying community to get a grip on the issues we have with non-recording and with non-registered surveyors completing Arizona surveying tasks. You hit the correct nail with the appropriate hammer. I have been using the term "no more" in much of my correspondence. We all need to gain a little "American grit" and hold that line in the sand. Your article was greatly appreciated, and my father–who served under Patton in WWII–would have approved of your grit. Good job!
Carl Sitterley, PS
Via the Internet

A Complaint
I am a retired PS in southwestern Ohio, and a regular reader of The American Surveyor. Today I am writing to point out mistakes [in Volume 8, Number 8]. On page 39 at the bottom of the first column of, "CGSIC and ION 2011" a sentence begins "For we surveyors, …." Does no one with an elementary education in our English language read this stuff before you print it? I am sure I have known since junior high school in 1950 that "for" is a preposition, that prepositions take objects– nouns or pronouns–in the objective case, and that "we" is a personal pronoun in the nominative case. If "For us surveyors…" sounds wrong, I could refer your staff of proofreaders to grammar texts.

On page 55 in the caption for the left picture of a stone monument I read, "Township 6 & 7 North. Rangers [sic.] 5 & 6 East, …. One writing for surveyors should know townships are named in Towns and Ranges; "rangers" were early law officers in the Texas territory. Don Poole should be justifiably annoyed if he had captioned his pictures correctly and someone at your magazine introduced this mistake. Can your enterprise not afford proofreaders capable of helping produce a publication that at least looks as if it were written intelligently?
Fowler S. Agenbroad, Ohio PS 7782
Mount healthy, Ohio

Thank you for your input from Mount healthy [sic]! I apologize for the typos, but as you can imagine, with thousands of places for the train to run off the track editing-wise, it’s difficult to spot every mistake.
The Editor

A sampling of responses from our LinkedIn Surveyors 2012 Economic Outlook Poll:
I have expanded my territory in order to make ends meet! The overtime and fuel cost spent driving the extra distance absorb the majority of the profit but that still keeps income pouring into the office. Things should be better once we have Hope & Change out of Washington!
Posted by Lawrence

I’m just barely keeping my head above water. I have not been able to continue to afford E&O insurance and General Liabilty, so it has lapsed. That’s a "Catch 22"! I can’t bid on some jobs. Why would I pay upwards to $5,000 for insurance to just get a chance of bidding for a project that would only amount to $3,000? If I don’t get the job, I can’t pay the premium. Hoplessness has been my only hope for the last 3 years! I just hope things pick up next year. I’m too old to be hired elsewhere (if anyone is hiring) so I am stuck where I am. I feel I am just working for the government. Make some income and send it to the IRS.
Posted by Donald

Economic outlook?–My crystal ball is very cloudy and at any given point in time I can not see beyond the next week or two. The Denver residential R/E market seems to have stabilized. Very little new residential construction start-ups except for a few custom high-end builders. A little more multi-family & Condo projects than a year ago. Very disappointing end of year commercial sales and ALTA surveys.
Posted by Ronald

I was a civil surveyor in SW Fla for 25+ years and moved to Ft Worth to work in the Oil & Energy industry. The bottom fell out 3 years ago and has remained the same down there with no change anytime soon. Our profession has been hit very hard in Florida but Texas seems to be thriving. I am very fortunate to be here and hope a new administration will get us back on track!
Posted by Carl

Business has been better the last half of the year. Revenue is much better than last year. We’ve moved from our office to work out of the house and have not bought any new equipment to save on expenses. But we are still being blessed.
Posted by Mike

I work for a medium-sized firm (30+ employees). Here is my take on the last 6 months. The sole proprietor is struggling, but finding just enough residential work to keep going. The very large firms (200+ employees) are stable and seeing an uptick in municipal work. It is the middle tier that is suffering, with a prolonged loss of development work and the commercial market completely going cold, they are stuck in limbo.
Posted by James

The only economic outlook I see is putting in for early retirement (62 in January :-)(
Posted by David

It seems like business is slowly picking up. Currently working on some end of the year "emergency surveys". Some thing never change.
Posted by Dave

Got some feedback?
You can contact us via our website at, or send a letter to: The American Surveyor, P.O. Box 4162, Frederick, MD 21705-4162. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Due to the variety of titles used by licensed surveyors throughout the U.S., we use the title PS after the name of any registered land surveyor.

A 424Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE