All posts by Scott Martin

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...

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...