Bloomberg Article
I enjoyed your article in the American Surveyor September 2018 issue. I think the Yale University employee’s remarks are somewhat true. I would add there are two culprits suppressing the progress of the land surveying profession across America. These are the NCEES shadowing all state licensure boards and the Geographical Information Systems (ESRI) software in use in nearly all state government agencies involved with cadastral mapping and improvement valuation assessments.

Many years ago I, like many others, became very interested and excited about the ESRI software. As the years have gone by I see the inroads that it is making in regards to boundary surveying. Not good. I now use this quote quite often: “the memorization of software commands does not equal intellectual intelligence.”

Due to these inroads made I now see that we are on the brink of the situation created by the England Ordnance Surveys noted in your book “The Curt Brown Chronicles” on pages 272, 370, and 388. I acquired your book as soon as it was advertised and want to congratulate you on a superb book. I can only imagine the wonderful relationship you had with Mr. Brown.

Back to the Yale university employee. As Dr. Hendricks would say, “they were educated beyond their level of intelligence.” Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright is also noted with a similar quote.

Always on the alert for your articles when the American Surveyor magazine arrives in the mailbox.

Dwight Crutchfield, RLS

Professional Responsibility
Your October 2018 issue (your 150th, an impressive milestone) includes articles at the front and back that resonate with each other. Jason Foose’s essay speaks to professional ethics, and quotes a definition of ethical behavior that goes beyond what is merely legal. Wendy Lathrop’s report describes problems for lay people buying property when they don’t understand what is on their survey, or worse, what isn’t there but ought to be. Until I recently retired, I was general counsel to a financial firm where an important aspect of my job was to explain to the CEO the meanings and implications of the various provisions in legal documents, and to alert him to what was not included that we might need to have inserted. The CEO had the advantage of a legal adviser (me) who served as an insurance policy against future problems. Ordinary property purchasers ought to get the same sort of professional “insurance” from the surveyor who prepares a survey of the prospective purchase. For that to happen, the surveyor must place himself in the shoes of the buyer and imagine what might cause problems in the future, taking into account the buyer’s plans for the property (to the extent the surveyor knows or can reasonably project them). As a professional service provider, the surveyor must “think like a property-owner” to anticipate trouble before it happens. It’s not enough to “think like a surveyor,” or even to “think like a lawyer.” To be truly ethical, a surveyor must also go beyond what is legally required and must become a problem-solving seer. A tough assignment, but isn’t that what separates ethically responsible professionals from mere skilled technicians?

Andrew Alpern