Record Breaking Winter

A 163Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

I hope you are coping with the record-breaking cold weather this winter! It’s a good time to curl up with some reading material and I’m sure this issue won’t disappoint in that regard.

Long-time industry friend Mike Michelsen responded to a request from me and has written a fascinating account of early navigation aids used to help guide airplane pilots as they implemented the new air mail service back in the 1920s. In today’s world of electronic everything, the giant concrete arrows seem rather quaint. But navigation is still a big topic. At one time, we thought we could bag LORAN altogether and switch to GPS. But the ease with which GNSS can be jammed and spoofed has caused us to rethink and funding is again being provided for the tried and true radio nav system. Back up systems are always a good idea, especially with so many in the world who would do us harm.

Continuing with our series of articles about BLM surveying, Arizona’s Mohave County Surveyor Jason Foose weighs in with his opinion that proportioning is only valid when re-surveying government land, not private land. Jason had written a letter to the editor that appeared in our February issue in which he asked the question, Why is it that "proportioning" is a last resort but is the first thing taught? Based on that, I encouraged him to write an article. The next installment of Chad Erickson’s series will appear in our April issue.

We continue to hear a lot about 3D printers and the coming 3D world. Trimble’s SketchUp 3D modeling software will play a role in allowing virtually anybody to become a "maker" or someone who can design and produce almost anything. This is science fiction stuff, but I believe that the day will come when we won’t necessarily have to buy things, but rather will be able to produce them ourselves in the comfort of our own home. Certainly plastic items fit this concept, and ongoing developments with 3D metal printing hold great promise.

As surveyors, 3D is no big deal for us. What will be a big deal is how we fit into this new world where non-surveyors can do things that always required a surveyor. As with all of the other geospatial disciplines, we need to utilize our measurement and positioning expertise and carve a niche for ourselves. People want certainty, and as we always have, we can continue to provide it by certifying as to accuracy and precision.

Also in this issue is an article about how a Topcon mobile scanner is being creatively used to obtain volumes, both of stockpiles and of material removed from a road project. Our equipment expert, Shawn Billings, is back with a review of the latest receiver from Altus Positioning.

Closing out the issue is another Things I’ve Learned installment, this time from industry veteran Walt Robillard. Walt’s 84 and still traveling and sharing his vast knowledge in seminars. In a time where our country seems to have lost its way, it’s refreshing to hear Walt remind us of the importance of such things as conscience and moral character. Hat’s off to Walt for his 60+ years of service to our profession. Look for more of these Things I’ve Learned installments from other industry heavyweights in future issues.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 163Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE