All posts by Scott Martin

Camp Fire Before and After

Rising from The Ashes: Paradise Strong

Almost exactly one year ago, the residents of the town of Paradise, California, and the surrounding area awoke to a wind-driven inferno eventually named the Camp Fire. Before it was over, 86 people would lose their lives, more than 13,000 single-family homes (including mobile homes) would be destroyed, along with over 600 commercial structures and...

Petaluma and Napa Creeks 1861. Re-issued 1882 with Aids to Navigation corrected to 1885. Credit: NARA C&GS; Collection.

Steeped in History

Recently I spent a few days with my family at the remote cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where I had retraced an 1876 mining claim boundary two years prior. I wrote about that experience here. Humoring the Old Man During this recent visit my daughters and sons-in-law humored me by agreeing to let me...

The March toward 2022

Above: A screenshot of the GPS on Bench Marks web tool mobilized in 2018. NSRS modernization: What NGS is doing and what you can do. “The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus Although this quote pertains to all of life, its truth is especially painful for professional surveyors and geospatial professionals. But...

The HP-41C: A Legend Is Born

Because I tend to reminisce in my Field Notes installments from time to time, it seems fitting to include the computing workhorse of my generation, the Hewlett-Packard 41C series. It carried me through the most developmental stage of my career and will remain my favorite calculator of all time.  The first HP-41C was introduced in 1979 as the first...

ridgecrest earthquake

Shake, Rattle & Roll: Disruptions to the Geodetic Fabric

On July 4, 2019 the desert region near Ridegcrest, California was hit with a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, resulting in minor damage in the area, most significantly to the infrastructure at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake. Approximately 44 hours later on July 6th, a larger earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck the region, causing...

The “Ah Ha” Moments, Part 2

Last month I wrote of two “Ah Ha” moments early in my career: situations where the “light came on” from a surveying experience, even if the value of the moment wasn’t fully understood at the time. In this issue, I share a couple more: where a practical application cemented abstract concepts and where a lack...