Book Review of Dr. Herbert Stoughton’s Journeys

This entry is part 5 of 14 in the series Field Notes

Book Review

Journeys: One Individual’s Excursions into the Surveying and Mapping Professions

by Dr. Herbert Stoughton

I have the honor and a pleasure to review the book referenced above, which I am going to call Journeys, and which was authored (at the request of the Professional Land Surveyors of Wyoming West Chapter) by Herbert W. Stoughton, PhD, PE, PLS, CP and geodetic engineer. This book of Dr. Stoughton (whom I respectfully and affectionately call Dr. Herb) is one that I have been hoping he would write. Okay, in all honesty, it’s what I hope is Book One of many.

This book was to be specifically written about subjects of the author’s choice. Therefore, it is not a textbook in the formal sense, but rather an interesting, informative compilation of various articles on sometimes-obscure subjects. That having been said, one could interpret the inclusion of obscure subjects as an invitation to read a boring book.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Herb’s passion has always been to provide an understanding of the functions that are utilized and the basis of the technology that we use in everyday surveying today. I believe that it is Dr. Herb’s wish to leave a legacy of documenting the foundations for our procedures that are in use every day around the world.

As an example: “Water Level Transfers to Determine Geodetic Elevations in Lake Ontario” is a summary version of Dr. Herb’s Ph.D. dissertation; “Mathematics and Surveying” is a history of mathematics and its relation to surveying from circa 4000 B.C. to the early 1900s; and there is a biography of Justice Cooley and a discussion of “Land Tenure of the Netherlands in the Colonial States.” Some subjects in this book have been rarely, if ever, discussed or written about but have a direct bearing on surveying practices today.

Dr. Herb’s development of original procedures to confirm the accuracy of calculations and observations is illustrated by “Signed Numbers” and “(A minus 0)” as well as the “Taping Corrections” essay. I’ve had the opportunity to survey with Dr. Herb many times and have marveled at his ability to accurately and quickly calculate substantial volumes of data correctly, and seemingly effortlessly. These essays are the secret to the process that Dr. Herb uses in his everyday practice of all of the disciplines in which he is qualified.   

Dr. Herb has made it a hobby to build a collection of documents and publications, which taken together provide much of the information that creates the basis for historical and modern surveying and mapping practices. It is my understanding that Dr. Herb’s collection will be archived. Hopefully, his collection will be the basis of many more books like this initial installment. I will warn you that this book is not a casual evening read, but requires study and thought. Reading this book will be well worth the time spent. Join me in an adventure.

The contents of this book are appended below.

  • Water Level Transfers to Determine Geodetic Elevations in Lake Ontario
  • Mathematics and Surveying
  • Mapping a 6th-century B.C. Archaeological Excavation
  • A Goodly Heritage: Surveying in New York State from 1776 to 1976
  • History of Surveying Education in New York
  • The Land Tenure of the Netherlands in the Colonial United States
  • Judge Thomas McIntyre Cooley (1824-1898) and ” The Judicial Functions of Surveyors”
  • On ‘Reestablishing of Lost Comers’
  • Elevations—The Federal Datums
  • The Blue Line and the Red Line—Their Significance in New York State
  • Application of Geodetic Engineering to Small Scale Settlement Studies
  • Current State-of-the-art Surveying Techniques Available to Monitor Structural Movements
  • “Signed Numbers” and “(A minus 0)”
  • Systematic Errors: A Primer
  • The First Method to Adjust a Traverse Based on Statistical Considerations
  • The Crandall Method to Adjust a Traverse
  • Instructions for Determining Mean Sea Level at Remote Sites  
  • Historical Overview of Vertical Datums
  • A Universal Vertical Datum: Issues and Problems
  • The Collimation Error Test: The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Method
  • Some Notes on the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey’s Collimation (Error) Test
  • Precise Differential Geodetic Leveling: An Approach to Analyze the Three-Wire Method Observations
  • Determination of Acceptable Geodetic Differential Leveling Observations by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (1899 to1990)
  • The USC&GS Orthometric Correction Formula: An Update
  • An Investigation of High-accuracy Determination of Short Geodetic Distances
  • Taping Corrections
  • Development and Application of the Refractivity Correction Formula for Optical and Infrared EDM Observations
  • Analysis of the First Velocity Capability of the Carl Zeiss ELT A2 Electronic Tacheometer  

Publisher:  Professional Land Surveyors of Wyoming
Price: $30 (includes shipping and handling)
Proceeds from sales will be invested in the PLSW scholarship fund.
Send orders to: 2821 Carey Ave. Cheyenne, WY 82001

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