All posts by Scott Martin

Geospatial data aligned with Geodetic control toothpicks

GIS Technology: Get It Surveyed

As I approach my 30th anniversary of being a licensed professional land surveyor in California, I can’t help but think about how things have changed over those years. One word: Technology. It has changed everything. For me, it started with EDMs, then total stations. Handheld calculators were emerging. When the HP 41-CX came out, that...

Idaho Crew 1918 american women in britches and hats surveying

Who Is a Professional Land Surveyor?

A few months ago I wrote a  piece titled,  “What is a Professional Land Surveyor?” Now I will take a crack at “Who is a professional land surveyor?” I started in this business when I was 17, not even graduated high school yet. I was a hot shot architectural draftsman in high school, or so...

Meades Ranch monument

Coordinates: The Rodney Dangerfield of Boundary Surveying

Although my entire surveying career has been in California, I believe that the following is true in almost every, if not every, state. With regards to the Priority of Evidence Rules (Rule of Construction), when conflicting elements exist when determining boundary location, coordinates are always at the bottom of the list. In my 30 years...

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...