Stay In Your Lane

Thanks to Wendy Lathrop for her always insightful contributions through her Vantage Point column. This month’s issue (July/August 2022) struck a chord and deserves extra kudos.

Whenever I have to give testimony, almost invariably the opposing counsel will accuse me of practicing law in my surveying testimony. I’ve come to almost look forward to it. (Fingers crossed) the accusations haven’t yet seemed to be persuasive.

Keep the columns coming, Wendy!

Tony Cavell
Via the Internet

Military Surveying and Helicopters

1980s Barbara Running Electrotape In Mapping San Diego County USEI wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the article on Military Surveying. My husband and I just happened to be re-watching all the old TV series of COMBAT! and it brought home what their working conditions must have been like. I knew of the Navy Seabees (my dad was in the Navy), and the Army Corps of Engineers, but I hadn’t heard of the Marine Engineers. We looked on YouTube and found some good documentaries like these: and

Helicopter Survey1 USEAnd then in the July/Aug edition, the article on the “Stick Wigglers” brought back some of my own surveying memories of when I was on helicopters. It was in the 80s when I worked for the County of San Diego and was lucky to be on the mapping crew. In order to locate and tie in the TRS corners, we first had to recover or set good control points. Some of those ended up being on the tops of “mountains” in San Diego. We were able to have the County Sherriff’s helicopters use our work as “practice” for them, but we were warned if they got a real emergency call—then they had to take off, and we might be stranded for a while. Luckily, that never happened.

View From Helicopter Of Survey Crew USEAs mentioned in the article, our pilots were Vietnam veterans—and flew like that! I remember one guy who, after picking us up, loved to just drop off over the edge—where it felt like being on a roller coaster ride. They were a talented group of pilots—like landing on only one skid on a huge boulder, as we carefully unloaded the equipment. Seems I remember that we couldn’t fit all the battery boxes, equipment suitcases, us, and the tripods into the back seats of the helicopter, so they had to take off the back doors, and our legs hung out. Kinda scary at first, but a lot cooler than all cramped inside a hot glass bubble. I’ve dug up a few photos to share.

Keep up the great work. I look forward to each new issue!

Barbara Brewer Cooper
Via the Internet