Surveyors Rendezvous 2013 Program Now Available

A 3.25Mb PDF of the Surveyors Rendezvous 2013 program is available HERE

Everyone is Invited!
To Historic Philadelphia . . .

On behalf of twelve sponsoring organizations, it’s our great pleasure to invite you to Historic Philadelphia this August . . . for SURVEYORS RENDEZVOUS 2013.

It’s the 17th national ‘RENDEZVOUS’ — Surveyors Historical Society’s large annual gathering. Everyone is welcome and urged to attend. SHS membership is not required, nor is period garb. Land surveyors, instrument collectors, history buffs, astronomers, map-makers and other kindred folks from all across America, plus far-distant lands, will be on hand to share fun and knowledge. A memorable time will be had by all. Non-members may receive full member discounts by joining SHS when registering.

At every Rendezvous, Surveyors Historical Society teaches the History of Land Surveying — an important subject not normally covered – or at least not covered very well – at most ‘regular’ state conferences.

Why does the history of a profession matter?

If you ask architects, they can tell you all about the history and development of architecture. An engineer is familiar with great advances of engineering. Doctors can tell you about breakthrough medical discoveries of the past. Scientists are always versed in their field’s pioneering work. Lawyers, military people, aircraft designers, oceanographers . . . it doesn’t matter which calling or occupation — all of them know and respect the history of their professions. It’s a key part of their education. Why should surveyors be different? Are we less important?

Young surveyors usually think, “What use is history? I can work the equipment. I know my hardware and software. Why do I need that stuff?” But long-time professionals know why. Every jurisdiction has its own special quirks and idiosyncrasies, little pieces of local knowledge which practitioners in that area must understand and apply, in order to be right. Now, why should that be?

Why are there always little ‘things to know,’ everywhere one goes to survey? It’s because of the history. You cannot follow in the footsteps of generations past, and replicate old boundaries, unless you understand what they knew in those days, and what their equipment could do, and the conditions they faced, and the books they studied, and the principles they tried to follow, and the rules they had, and what they believed was correct.

William Faulkner got it right when he said, “The past is never dead, it isn’t even really past.” That’s particularly true for surveyors. Everything we do is based on decisions from days gone by. How many boundaries don’t have problems? (Not many.) Where do we find the answers? Old records and original monuments.

This 2013 Rendezvous transcends Surveyors Historical Society. It features events of such significance they even transcend our entire storied profession. We’re adding some pieces to American history.

A new Pennsylvania ‘blue & gold” historical marker will be unveiled at South Street, near the 1760s ‘official’ Southernmost Point of Philadelphia, where Mason & Dixon actually began their survey. We’ll also mark the real spot – out at Stargazer’s Stone in rural Chester County – of Mason & Dixon’s 1764 Astronomical Observatory. And finally, on Saturday afternoon August 31 — in a ceremony we hope will gain not just local, not just national, but international publicity — we’ll honor the memory of Charles Mason, who lies buried in an unmarked grave two blocks from Independence Hall. Centuries after his death, that great astronomer-surveyor-geodesist will receive at last a fitting Memorial Stone — not a carved tombstone, but an authentic 1766 Mason-Dixon Stone, quarried in England — which once stood marking the famous Line that is his greatest monument.

Everyone is invited. For the first time, you can now register on-line for a national Rendezvous. Please visit — and join us at Historic Philadelphia August 28 through 31, 2013. We’ll ‘rendezvous’ this summer where William Penn landed in 1682. See you there,

With highest professional regards,
Surveyors Historical Society

A 3.25Mb PDF of the Surveyors Rendezvous 2013 program is available HERE