Letters to the Editor

Henry David Thoreau


I was thrilled to read about Henry David Thoreau, Surveyor in the February issue. As someone who frequents the trails and roads of Concord, MA on foot and bicycle, I confess that I had no idea he was a surveyor. I did know about his father's pencil company, however. It was quite fun to learn of the names of his clients, many of whom are memorialized with familiar street names.

Further, as I read the issue I was learning a piece commissioned by the Concord Band that recalls the great authors from the area. It's titled "Flowing Pens from Concord" and includes musical vignettes of Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Emerson and Thoreau. Now when I think of Thoreau's pen, it will be writing both words and survey records!

Adena Schutzberg
Somerville, Massachusetts
Clarinet 3, Concord Band

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Surveying's Weak Suit


I'm surprised at the article by Ashley Rose-Nalin and Stephen Estopinal's letter in the April issue of Professional Surveyor. I have been a licensed land surveyor in four states since 1976 and have never had anyone refuse to share information with me, and I have never refused to share information with others. In fact, I am more than happy to give them any information I might have. This problem must be and east coast-west coast phenomenon.
Also, AMEN to the letter from Brian Wilton (April letters to the editor).

Chuck Hanson
Sioux Falls, SD

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My congratulations to Ashley Rose-Nalin on an excellent article in the March issue of the Professional Surveyor.

We need more young people like Ashley that are prepared to speak out about our weak suits - yes we have some - many have that have grown on us over the ages. As we move into the 21st Century we need to re-examine our role in society and stand up for the profession that we really deserve to be.

As Justice Jean Coteof the Alberta Court of Appeal stated at our Alberta Annual Meeting in 2006:
"What a surveyor does has a much large public, semi-governmental aspect than most professions. Basically, what a physician does is cure you. That's really only directly of interest to you, and, maybe, those who depend upon you. . . . A surveyor certifies to the whole world that a certain point or a certain plan ties in to a large, overall publicly-ordained scheme of things. You can enter on to private land, you can question people under oath, and you make judgments. It isn't just a mechanical matter, you weigh evidence and come to conclusions and that sticks and it is accepted by everybody, including the courts."

We must learn to value our services and project our image to the public in order to gain the respect we deserve as true professionals.

Keep up the good work, Ashley and don't let the old guys intimidate you!

Ken Allred, ALS, CLS, MLA
St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

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Been brooding over Ashley Rose-Nalin's article and the dilemma she finds herself in. My civil engineering professors did not see into the future back in 1965 when my BSCE was awarded. The sky was blue the interstate was in full swing and projects were easy to find. Then came the 1970s with recessions and a nervous breakdown. I was asked to resign from two jobs and never told why. I fought depression and tears from being turned down. The illness plagued me until 1994 when some new medicine was released. It made a huge difference along with the church prayers and some natural vitamins. I never gave up even though I felt at times my degree and P.E. was worthless. Now my practice is freelance and the sky is blue even though we are in a tight recession.

What my cheap advise to Ashley is: never give up, others' actions will disappoint you, you will have to clean up other people's messes as the Professional of Record, be asked by superiors to sign things that are not right, etc. We as imperfect humans live in an imperfect world, but some day providence will give all of us a future and a hope including: the good, the bad, and the ugly. My doctors told me to work and I did. I even crushed cars in a junkyard and slept in a blanket in that same place because I had no money for a motel room.

Ashley you are blessed to have your degrees and a personal code of ethics, you will always be an example to young people interested in the possibility of a career in surveying. You are the next generation of excellent surveyors and you are an example to me.

With respect to Ashley,
David M. Niese,P.E.
Avondale, Arizona

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Railroad Monumentation Bill

To the editor:

Lately in Professional Surveyor there have been a number of articles mentioning the law under consideration by Congress requiring railroad monumentations, the most recent being February's guest editorial by Mr. Robert Nielson. The articles support the bill, to my knowledge without exception. This in spite of the fact that it is a bill manifestly harmful to society.

I'm going to be blunt here - it's special-interest pork. It's a lobbying group (ACSM and possibly others) looking to see if they can get some featherbedding for their constituents. It's a profession trying to get a subsidy at somebody else's expense.

When it's asserted that this bill is "in the public interest", it's only true to the extent that there will be some people who are not surveyors who will still derive some benefit. This merely makes the bill less pernicious than some special-interest pleading.

Even with some cost-benefit analysis showing all kinds of benefit for almost no cost (no doubt, its supporters have already boiled, baked, and deep-fried enough numbers to generate precisely that), the bill is wrong. This bill tells railroads when and how to conduct their business. Sorry to point it out, but the more the government tells people to do this and don't do that, the less free the country is. And freedom is considerably more valuable, especially in the long run, than whatever benefits this bill might bring.

Brian Wilton, LSIT
Yakima, WA

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Problem 180


I just got the solution to your Problem 180 in order to check my solution with yours. I got the same or correct answers. But I noticed a couple of things in your narrative below the diagram that are not correct.

1) You refer to Point "E" as the true N 1/16 Corner. That is incorrect. This is the E 1/16 corner of Section 11 in the North Line, i.e. (E 1/16 S2/S11), and,
2) You refer to Point "H" as the true S 1/16 Corner. This is also incorrect. This is the E 1/16 C----C of Section 11, i.e.( CE 1/16).

You need to print a correction in the publication stating this. You know, some dodo head will see them as described in the solution and go into the field and mark their monuments as you have so indicated.

Gotta keep you on your toes Dave!

Best Wishes,
Charles L. Dowdell, PLS
Huachuca City, Arizona

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When I want to read about all things surveying, whether past, present, or future, I turn to Professional Surveyor for its excellent surveying content. When I want to read about political issues, I turn to political magazines, newspapers, or the blogosphere. The past three issues of Professional Surveyor (Feb-April 2009) have been charged with political banter, with contributions by the editor as well as by readers. Understand that although I myself am a prolific author of political letters, e-mails, blogs, and etc, when it comes to your surveying periodical, I request that you please limit future content to what we can all agree on - all of us Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Greens - we all love surveying.

John M. Knox, PLS
Costa Mesa, California

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I always enjoy your magazine. You need to find someone to replace Silvio Bedini. I appreciate the books you have published collecting together many of his contributions over the years.

Paul Temple
Arlington, Virginia

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The article "Mark Twain Lives On" in 2009 edition of Aerial Mapping is about the Clarence Cannon Dam and Mark Twain Lake bringing hydroelectric power, water supply, and flood control to the northeastern part of Missouri. Once the article mistakenly refers to the area as the northwest.

» Back to our May 2009 Issue