News & Views
Dec. 31, 2014

CST exam benefits college surveying program
American Surveyor
From Jan. 15: This is a story of how an Indiana College has taken advantage of the Certified Surveying Technician Program since 1991. Vincennes University has been in existence since 1801. It is Indiana's first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become president of the United States.More

A follow-up to National Surveyors Week — a useful and helpful sidenote
Frank Lenik, NSPS Area 2 Director
From April 9: Many of the benchmarks which we considered for occupation during National Surveyors Week were along active railroad lines. I spoke to a number of surveyors about this and reminded them that this was trespassing, as well as dangerous. However, I still saw photographs of surveyors along railroads using their GPS.

I was told by a railroad company representative that the penalty for trespassing on a railroad right-of-way was $300. He said there could also be a federal penalty of $1,500 assessed to the individual, not the company. He provided to me a document entitled "Compilation of State Laws and Regulations Affecting Highway Rail Grade Crossings". This is a U.S. Department of Transportation document that spells out the various laws and penalties that apply to this situation.

Please familiarize yourself with it and pass it along to your colleagues and members.More

Survey Party at the Arch
From Oct. 1: News & Views readers will recall an article some time ago about an activity which was called "Survey Party at the Arch." A more detailed article about that event appeared in the September issue of the Missouri Surveyor, the magazine of the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS). The link to that article is:

The St. Louis Chapter of MSPS is now in the planning stages of another project that it hopes will involve more than just Missouri Surveyors. Bob Myers, the First State Land Surveyor of Missouri, has located the Final Resting Point of Joseph C. Brown. This is the same Joseph C. Brown who ran the Fifth Principal Meridian. The grave site is currently without a Headstone, and the Chapter is planning to rectify that with the dedication of a monument, with media coverage, and other activities. They are hoping to involve other States such as Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and any other state that has reference to Joseph C. Brown in their Land Surveying Records. The Chapter will keep NSPS News & Views informed of the progress for the project, and for outreach to other State Societies. More

Crime against surveyors hitting too close to home
Richard D. Pryce, PSM
From March 26: Crimes against Surveyors in south Florida have been going on since 2002. Until recently, it was targeted against individual field crews, sometimes snatching their equipment while they were away from their vehicles, or breaking into their truck while at lunch in a fast food joint. Even more rare, but much more serious, the crews have also been confronted at gun point. Read More More

Ask Vic: Written agreements
From Sept. 3: Periodically, NSPS News & Views publishes the Ask Vic column, which is provided to NSPS by a Risk Management Attorney at the Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc. Below is the August 2014 question.

Question: I have often used whatever contract my client has presented to me, signing the agreements without giving it much thought. I have also completed projects without using a written agreement. Recently a client asked for insurance certificates with much higher insurance limits than I had agreed to when signing the contract. Although we resolved the matter amicably, should I be paying more attention to client-generated agreements?

Read more for Answer More

Use of GPS in ALTA/ACSM surveys
From April 30: Readers of NSPS News & Views may recall that the April 2, 2014 edition included a question regarding the use of GPS in achieving the allowable Relative Positional Precision for an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey. Subsequent to that article (and a response) being published, NSPS received another inquiry on this topic. Read more about that inquiry and a response to it. The response is in red letters. More

ALTA/ACSM standards
From June 18:
Last year we were contracted to provide an ALTA survey for a property in downtown Minneapolis, Torrens property. The survey went fine and we were paid. The client is coming to us now requesting an updated survey because they are only purchasing the parking structure. The parking structure is a 4-level parking garage below grade, under a 5-story above grade building. Another surveyor has been contracted by the seller to do a Registered Land Survey of the property, dividing it into both horizontal and vertical tracts that takes into account stairways, elevators, garage levels, and retail spaces. I am at a loss as how to respond to the request, I am not sure what I would be required to show, i.e. interior and exterior walls to the extent I can see them, support columns utilities ???, or is this something that just is not done? Seems crazy to me if they are going to have a new RLS in hand. Can you give me any advice?

Read more for Answer More

FEMA says flood insurance program is unsustainable
From July 30: Craig Fugate, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told a Senate Committee that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is on an unsustainable path, opening the Federal government to huge potential losses. More

Winners announced for the NSPS 2014 Map/Plat and Journalism competitions
From June 25: Each year, NSPS sponsors national competitions in several categories. The compilation of the judges' respective score sheets have been tabulated, and the winners have been notified for both the Map/Plat and Journalism competitions. Each competition drew a significant number of entries, with Map/Plat garnering 42 individual submittals, and Journalism 28. The results: Map/Plat Journalism More

Court sides with landowner over abandoned railroad right of way
From March 12: Is a railroad line an easement or a right-of-way? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that land reverts back to its original owner. The court found for the property owner that a railway line abandoned in 2004 was an easement, which becomes part of the owner's property under an 1875 law, not a right of way that reverts to the public, as the government argued. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said once the railroad abandoned the line, "land became unburdened of the easement" which he noted conferred to the landowner "the same full rights over the right of way as he enjoyed over the rest of ... (his) parcel."More