All posts by Scott Martin

From NOAA Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection, C&GS Season's Report 1914, Seran.

Geodesy around the Campfire

Although I thoroughly enjoy what I do for a living as a land surveyor specializing in geodetic control work, I often tell people it makes for really lousy dinner conversation. Rarely does it take more than a sentence or two to generate blank stares, gestures of confusion, and drastic attempts to change the subject. The...

NGS Advisor page

State Geodetic Coordinators: An Important Emerging Position

As the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) completes its transition from the State Geodetic Advisor Program to the Regional Advisor Program by the end of 2016, the states are changing their roles with NGS as well.   In the past, the participating states have been contractual partners with the NGS, providing roughly half of the funding...

Leveling crew and Bilby tower. Credit: NOAA Central Library Historical Imagery

Mentoring: A Two Way Street

As the tools of our profession have changed, it seems that the opportunities for mentoring those following in our professional footsteps have diminished dramatically. Mentoring, or the lack thereof and what to do about it, may be the most widely discussed topic in our profession these days, from discussion forums, to professional associations, to the...

Observing party 1934

What Is a Professional Land Surveyor?

As I was recently completing the comprehensive NSPS questionnaire developed as a follow-up to the Forum on the Future of Surveying (see Multiple Choices by Gavin Schrock, PLS), I found myself contemplating the many descriptions of land surveyors included along the way. After completing the questionnaire and providing some personal feedback, I couldn’t help but...

“Sea Level Datum of 1929” — Did You Know?

I recently was consulted about the use of the term “Sea Level Datum of 1929” on plans and in engineering reports dating from the 1940-60s. The inquirer was concerned that this possibly meant that the work was based on something other than the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29). As is often the...

geodimeter station smith creek butte

Technology: the Bane of Surveying Traditions?

I have been surveying going on 39 years now. It’s a darn good thing I have succeeded, or at least survived in this profession, because I never really learned how to do anything else. Never really wanted to. As I have watched our profession change drastically over that time, mostly driven by technology and the...