A 531Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Demma on The Owner of the Property Is?
Finally, an article about our profession worth discussing. I would like to thank Jim Demma for pushing back against these hot air artists who do have been damaging our profession for years now.

Certain land surveyors and lawyers out there have been pushing patently false notions for years about how the modern neo professional land surveyor must abandon their traditional role in society to become snake oil salesman rendering ownership opinions. These certain land surveyors and lawyers are simply exploiting the fear they have put in other land surveyors by insisting our profession is dead or dying.

They rely on hyperbole and superficial reads of case law to attack good land surveyors and good land surveying theory and practice, claiming it is archaic or inane.

I have argued this point for more than 15 years and have nothing but censorship to show for it. Good for you Mr. Demma for telling it like it is.

Perhaps some of these land surveyors who are creating these messes as a result of listening to the so called "experts" will start waking up. Stick with colloquial codified law, not sticking your neck in a noose making ownership assertions that can’t be supported. That is what title insurance is for.

Sadly most of the times it is too late for many of these land surveyors who have bought into this malarkey when they meet me in court or get that Board complaint letter or lawsuit served on them.
Deward "Karl" Bowles Texas PS
Former NJ PS

In response to Jim Demma’s article titled "The Owner of the Property Is?" appearing in the April issue of The American Surveyor; we might note on our plats that we have "surveyed the deed lines only," but is that a disclaimer or an admission of malfeasance? To help, here is a quote from the much quoted but seldom read "The Early Surveyors and Surveying in Illinois" by Z.A. Enos, that 20-page tome of wisdom that gave us Abraham’s Lincoln’s dissertation on center ¼ corners:

"In conclusion, there is a fact connected with our too-little-honored profession of which I think we have some cause to be proud-it is, that two of the most illustrious characters in the history of the nation and of the world, were in early life practical Surveyors. And may we not…attribute much of their subsequent success in the battle of life to that training of their great natural abilities which the early practices of surveying gave.

Success in surveying necessitates close observation, intelligent investigation, judicious weighing of evidence, self-reliance, prompt decision and action. The Surveyor in the field has no opportunity to consult authorities, to counsel with others, or hold under advisement for subsequent adjudication. He must think and act for himself, and that quickly and firmly. In the discharge of his duties he combines the three-fold character of attorney, jury and judge. Of attorney, in bringing out and collecting the evidence: of jury, in determining the facts from the evidence; and of judge, in applying the law to the facts so ascertained. His will and commands move and control everything connected with the survey; in fact, he is a little dictator for the time being.

This habit of commanding and being implicitly obeyed cultivates and strengthens that self-reliance, firmness of purpose and decision of action which are so essentially necessary to the accomplishment of all great and important undertakings…" Z.A. Enos-1891

Let us add to this the wisdom of another early practical surveyor, Daniel Boone: "Make sure you are right, and then go ahead."
Chad & Linda Erickson

A 531Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE