Field Notes Archives

You Can Take the Surveyor Out of the Field, but….

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This entry is part 1 of 67 in the series Field Notes

I would speculate that very few individuals who have made a career out of land surveying started the path by saying “I really want to be a surveyor and sit at a drafting table or behind a computer all day.” Even if we started in the office, as I did on a drafting board, we […]

The Forever Chainman

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This entry is part 2 of 67 in the series Field Notes

A friend and colleague recently used a phrase I hadn’t heard, but it caught my attention – Forever Chainman. My initial assumption was it was intended as a negative, but that didn’t seem consistent with his prolific positivity. He didn’t disappoint. He said he used it to describe a certain type of self-starting mentality that […]

Advice to Younger Surveyors

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This entry is part 3 of 67 in the series Field Notes

by Michael R. Johnson PLS xyHt editor’s note: The surveying profession is blessed to have gifted storytellers in our midst, though we need more. One, known as “Uncle Paden” on the surveying forum, is Michael R. Johnson. A surveyor in Oklahoma, Johnson regularly regales readers with tales past and present of surveying, observations of […]

Rising from The Ashes: Paradise Strong

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This entry is part 4 of 67 in the series Field Notes

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 […]

Steeped in History

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This entry is part 5 of 67 in the series Field Notes

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 HP-41C: A Legend Is Born

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This entry is part 6 of 67 in the series Field Notes

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 […]