Thursday, December 13, 2012

What and how to measure

I have noticed that within our profession there are two distinct schools of thought.  The first being steeped in the science and exactitude of measurement.  The second being steeped in the the tradition and art of evidence evaluation.

The science of measurement is and has always been the single greatest hurdle to the practice of surveying.  It seems that no matter how good the device or magnificent the technology; the measurement is never good enough.  I have met collegues whom have spent the entirety of thier career chasing measurements and publishing thier results.  Redundant observations, adjustments, significant digits, least squares analysis, on and on the science goes.  Yet for all this science; the end result can be EXACTLY wrong.

Now I am diligent in my efforts to observes data either with GPS or Terrestrail observation.  However admittedly I rarely adjust anything.  I report what I observe.  I have a system of checks that keeps me out of trouble where blunders are concerned; however I have not bothered myself with adjustments.  When I am in the field I rarely use a predetermined search area calculated from a deed.  When I have done this I have found that it causes me to focus on the wrong information without opening my eyes to ALL the evidence.  So as a matter of practice I will go to the site; locate the evidence of occupation and search for monuments based on other records of survey.  Then when I get back to the office I plot out the evidence and then plot the deed and compare the two.

Boundary determination is an art.  I have said over and over.  You have to be able to see it, touch it, smell it. How many times have you seen a cluster of survey markers (pins and caps) around a corner.  Many an expert measurer has determined their mathematical solution and have place thier mark on the earth.  Yet how many times does it occur that admidst this cluster of markers not a single one of them can be called the monument marking the property corner?  Why is it so difficult to accept a previously set monument?  COGO-COMMANDOS.........

Unskilled para-professionals that have supervisory RLS's that don't take the time to take these guys to field and "raise" them properly.  There is a subdivision up here in the Metro Round Valley area that has what I call the Maricopa County virus.  The developer hired a PE/RLS to develop a subdivision.  The exterior of the development was surveyed in 2001 by a RLS up here.  The PE/RLS resurveyed it and platted a subdivision in 2003.  In 2005, the cogo commandos show up to set the subdivision pins marking all the lots; by the way same PE/RLS. 

Last week I am asked to survey an adjoining property to the subdivision and what do I find.....I find aluminum cap monuments set by the 2001 survey.  Then 0.65 feet away are rebar and plastic caps bearing the number of the PE/RLS.  The subdivision plat showed these exterior corners as found and accepted monuments.  All I can say is REALLY!!!???!!!

It is obvious that the field crew data collector jockies were just stakinbg out points and setting pins.  But where is the alleged professional in responsible charge?  He obviously wasn't bothering himself with training his survey crew.  You know, going outside is hot/cold, there are bugs, you get sweaty, and the stickers tear holes in your slacks. 

Well if the boss won't educate them; somebody needs to.