Editorial: In This Issue

Kicking off the new issue is another important article from Dick Elgin. In it, he details a subject not all surveyors encounter, but it’s still part of our required body of expert knowledge. Wearing his educator hat, Dick poses a boatload of riparian questions, all of which are answered in a book he has written about the riparian law of Arkansas. Because many states have enacted their own water laws, he encourages our readers to develop such books for their own states.

Longtime industry vet John Stenmark shares an account of a solo surveyor who was able to implement satellite-based RTK correctors to survey ground control points for a vast tract in Nebraska. As John points out, RTNs are only good if you are in the network and have availability of cell service. The elimination of base stations provides enormous time savings and the satt-service also provided sufficient vertical accuracy for the Nebraska lidar project.

Larry Trojak shares a story about a Florida surveyor who went through the Great Recession, coping as best he could. After watching his company dwindle from 25 employees to just himself, he decided that he needed solutions. He began with a GPS rover but when he saw the power of adding a robotic total station to create a hybrid solution, he was an instant convert.

Continuing with the final installment of the History of RTK, Stacey Hartmann wraps up the series with a focus on early RTK commercialization and “Trimble’s role in expanding the potential of the technology to give surveyors and geospatial professionals capabilities they didn’t even know they wanted.” We hear a lot about autonomous driving, and I recently heard that Tesla is developing a car without a steering wheel, but RTK will play an increasingly critical role in our future. Thanks to Stacey and her collaborators for pulling together the definitive account of this vital utility.

Wendy Lathrop provides a great tutorial on the difference between adverse possession and trespass. Because the latter can include monetary damages, it behooves surveyors to understand the difference. Gary Kent continues with his State of Surveying series, this time writing about the ridiculous efforts across the country to deregulate or even delicense surveying. This is nothing new, and when I lived in Texas back in the 1980s, we had to beat back efforts by the Board to lump us in with the tow truck operators and fight promoters! Rounding out the issue is another Test Yourself from Dave Lindell. Can you work the problem?

If this issue has a theme, it would be how technology and the economy has affected surveying. Whether it’s RTK, or robotics, or solo surveying, speaking as a surveyor who began his career with a transit and a 100-foot chain, the march of progress has been incredible. Once electronics hit the industry in the 1970s, it was hang on to your hat! I hope you’re having a great year and that you have found ways to deal with the economy and the marvelous technology that has made our work faster, cheaper and more accurate.

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.