From the Editor: A Great Year to be a Surveyor

Some magazines have what are called “theme” issues. That is, most of the content is focused on one particular subject. In my 22+ years of survey magazine publishing, my philosophy has always been to have a little bit of everything in each issue, thereby eliminating the possibility that a reader might decide there’s nothing of interest in the entire issue. So, in each issue I strive to have articles about technology, boundary surveying, and history. These are the subjects that our readers most frequently request.

To that end, this issue contains two technology articles. The first is about a group of cave explorers in South America. While these guys are not surveyors, they are using a new piece of gear that allows them to adequately map that which they have explored. While the handheld unit certainly won’t replace real surveying gear, it contains technology surveyors might find useful for preliminary tasks, evidence documentation and more. Another tool in the toolkit.

The second article is about a group of students who used a variety of spatial technologies to try and understand an often-overlooked Incan settlement. In addition to the expected mapping, the group employed ground penetrating radar and seismic refraction to try and get a handle on underground drainage. All this in an effort to develop a plan of preservation. Those of you who perform ALTA surveys are well-aware of the propensity of title attorneys to get us to certify to things we cannot see, so while most of our readers will never venture south of the border, it’s likely they will encounter situations where GPR might prove useful. Another tool in the toolkit.

Another popular subject is history. Because we as surveyors build on the past, we are naturally interested in the work of those who went before us. Jerry Penry’s installment in this issue pertains to the actions of an ancient surveyor in California. Four legendary surveyor mappers were responsible for mapping the West in our country: Wheeler, King, Powell and Hayden. One of Wheeler’s crew occupied Grizzly Peak in 1878 and in doing so left a tiny metal tube containing a note about their activities. The tube lay undiscovered until 1955, and you can read the rest of the story in Jerry’s article.

The third pillar of my magazine philosophy is boundary surveying. This corner has most recently been ably occupied by County Surveyor Jason Foose. In addition to being a hilarious writer, Jason continually reminds us of what we, as retracement specialists, are supposed to do. We’ve agonized over the decline of this knowledge and lament the tendency of the younger generation to not be interested, but Mike Pallamary has told me that young surveyors constantly approach him with a thirst for this knowledge. As guardians of the cadastral quilt, it is incumbent on us to ensure that this knowledge is not lost. In my opinion, Jason does an admirable job of this.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Wendy Lathrop. Wendy has been in all but one issue since we started the magazine. In addition to being a well-known lecturer, she writes about a variety of subjects, including FEMA and local laws. And while some of what she writes might only pertain to Pennsylvania or New Jersey, she fulfills another of my philosophies: everything is every article might not apply to you, but my hope is that in every article you might be able to extract at least one thing that will improve your practice and help you be more profitable. We hope that you find the magazine both interesting and useful. My intent for all these years has been to celebrate surveying. Thanks to all of our authors who have made this possible. 2018 is looking like it’s going to be a great year to be a surveyor!

About the Author

Marc Cheves, PS

Marc Cheves is editor emeritus of the magazine. He has been a surveyor since 1963 and is licensed in five states. Since 1995 he has been a surveying magazine editor.