Guest Essay: Cadastral Matters

A senior in the Geomatics Engineering Program at Fresno State, Claudia Barrueta sees a future in land surveying where a solid foundation in cadastral and professional excellence must be maintained while keeping technological advances in perspective. Already deeply committed to the surveying profession and community, Claudia has served as president, NSPS – Fresno State chapter and editor of Fore Sight! Magazine. Claudia also has surveying work experience in both the private and public sectors.

Based on conferences I’ve attended, the education I have received thus far, and past internships, I boldly suggest that a majority in the surveying community believe that technology is the direction in which the land surveying profession is headed. However, I believe the future of the profession lies in understanding boundary control and legal principles. A land surveyor is licensed to define and establish real property boundaries; therefore, a licensed land surveyor should have a vast amount of knowledge pertaining to the law.  Yes, I agree a land surveyor should have an understanding of the technology he or she is using in order to provide the best possible service to the public; however, a land surveyor must not forget that technology is simply a tool.

Technology is not what makes land surveyors professionals. Traditionally, the word “professional” was used around the terms theology, medicine, and law; therefore land surveyors are professionals because they are required to understand the law as it pertains to boundary. If land surveyors allow themselves to be defined by the tools they use, which are meant to simplify a few aspects of their job, then surveying is in danger of becoming a trade. Surveyors must not let the profession be driven by the availability of technology or georeferenced data; it should be driven by our expertise. Professional land surveyors will stand out based on their ethics and knowledge of what they are licensed to do: establish real property boundaries.

I believe boundary surveying faces challenges due to technology and how quickly it is advancing. To defeat this challenge surveyors should embrace their role as boundary experts and embrace continuing education. Continuing education will allow surveyors to stay current with technological applications, but also with changes in the laws that govern the practice of land surveyors. All surveyors will be able to ensure that although they are using the latest technology they are still meeting the legal standards. In surveying, technology is constantly changing and becoming more complex; trying to understand the law and how the technology works should never end.

I’m not sure what the future holds for me in surveying; however, I can say that I will be a land surveyor.  I find pride in knowing that someday I will define real property boundaries; after all property is the most important thing anyone can have to their name.  In the preface of Evidence and Procedures for Boundary Location (Fifth Edition) Robillard and Wilson write, “[w]e hope some young surveyor will come forth and take up the banner of the well-rounded surveyor of tomorrow, one who possesses the love of the law and sees that technology is but a tool of the surveyor…” I am full of optimism with hopes that someday I will fit the definition of that young surveyor. I’ve been motivated by my mother and my father, Dr. James Crossfield, and the surveying community in California that have been very supportive of my education. I find motivation in knowing others believe in my potential to be successful.

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