Field Notes Archives

The Forever Chainman

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This entry is part 1 of 54 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 2 of 54 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 3 of 54 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 4 of 54 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 5 of 54 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 […]

The “Ah Ha” Moments

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This entry is part 6 of 54 in the series Field Notes

I can’t speak about other professional career paths, but I can certainly attest to land surveying after more than 40 years of “practicing” the art and science. There truly has been an opportunity to learn something new almost every day of those 40-plus years (unless I interfered). From the fundamental basics like stocking the survey […]