Various & Sundry

It's been some time since I wrote about NGS activities, but I can assure you that these folks have been busy. I recently visited the Silver Spring headquarters to talk to several of the individuals responsible for myriad improvements, enhancements and basic research that directly benefits surveyors. I am working on an article about a new gravimeter that promises to provide an increase in the number of gravity observations available for use in such things as the development of new geoid models. NGS has announced that GEOID 99 will be released this fall. Increased gravimetric observations will directly tie to the Height Modernization Initiative. Because it was assumed that sea level is the same all around the coasts of the United States, the U.S. level network contains distortions that were pushed inland from the coasts. Modern measurement tools and techniques revealed that, because of the geoid, sea level is not the same depending on where you are, and the modernization effort aims to cure the distortions. Of course, where we are headed with all this is the ability to obtain high-quality orthometric heights directly with GPS.


Other recent NGS efforts include the introduction of a user-friendly CORS server that makes it much easier to retrieve CORS data; GPS antenna modeling that will improve the accuracy of the vertical component of GPS observations; improvements in ionospheric modeling (just in time for Solar Max); experiments designed to mitigate multipath; the use of GPS to provide improved weather prediction models (the spinoff for us being increased real-time accuracy); and ongoing experiments to determine the feasibility of using distant CORS stations by incorporating precise GPS orbit information. You'll be able to read about these efforts in future issues of the magazine.

Professional Surveyor Books

I need to apologize to those who have been waiting for Silvio Bedini's new book, Early American Surveyors and Their Instruments. When the articles ran in the magazine, we obtained permission to use the photographs and other images. To print the book, we have to re-obtain permission to use the hundreds of images, and this has delayed the release. Advance orders have been very heavy, and we now hope to have the book ready for sale by the end of the year. In the meantime, Silvio has written another book, The Jefferson Stone, Demarcation of the First Meridian of the United States. As I write this, the book is being sent to the printers, and plans are to have it available by the time of the third Surveyors Rendezvous in Luray, Virginia, September 23-25. In fact, Silvio has agreed to attend the Rendezvous for a book-signing of the Jefferson book and other books Silvio has written. This public appearance will be a rare opportunity to meet Silvio and I encourage you to attend.

I Remember When

In the June issue, Walt Robillard wrote three short stories—under the title I Remember When—about events that occurred early in his career. I neglected to add a paragraph about the reason for Walt's submitting the stories. Because our profession is so rich in so many areas, his idea was to foster contributions along this line. Anyone who has been in surveying for any length of time has stories to tell. Here's one that really happened: in the early 1980s, one of our crews was surveying a pipeline in southwestern Oklahoma. The crew had just pulled up to the job when a pickup truck came racing up. The driver grabbed his shotgun from the gun rack and jumped out. He marched up to the party chief, placed the barrel of the shotgun directly on his chest, and asked, "Who's the boss around here?" Without missing a beat, the party chief answered, "You are!" This apparently was the correct answer because the land owner chuckled, put the shotgun back in the truck and then asked, "What the hell are you doing on my land?" The story is amusing now, but I'm sure the party chief's heart sped up a bit. Whether it's dealing with irate landowners, or melting the babbitt off a chain by putting it on a potbelly stove to dry it off, we've got great stories to tell. I encourage you to share your stories with the readers.

About the Author

  • Marc Cheves, LS
    Marc Cheves was a former editor of the magazine.

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