Letters to the Editor

email shelly@profsurv.com
What the H?

Editor Sandler:

As a surveyor trying to determine elevations I have often muttered “what the H.”
After reading Doyle, it is clear the H is not Z.

Evans Ralston
Las Cruces, New Mexico


On page 53 of our fall Aerial Mapping issue, the article “Delivering Intelligence, Not Data” was written by Ernest Yap (spelled with one p, not two).

Already Here (Fait acompli – it is done)

Here I am pondering the September 2013 publication. The Editor’s Desk has delivered yet another eloquent letter about robotics and aerial mapping. Of course cameras have been around for a (long) while and you can certainly strap them to any manned or unmanned vehicle (UAS) and get some good results, photos, images, and information pleasing to the eye. The technology is here to stay, but doesn’t mean much. UAS is simply robotics. 

To determine our future we must ask: Is the use of the UAS a portal for a remote expert (like a plumber), or is the robot system the “expert”?  Does liability lie with the human operator if it issues the correct command, but the autonomous software carries it out poorly?

Surveying is both an art and a science. The art of surveying is what I love and [it] continues to draw me to surveying.  Decisions are not made by the robot. The robot may do some slave work and is purely science. Leave flying to pilots, the intrigued, and the novice. For the professional surveyor we must use our skills wisely with great thought, seeking the solutions through preponderance of evidence, mathematics, history, and the art of mapping. 

In the future, I would hope that [PSM] gains an understanding of the art of surveying and not just the science.

Plus à faire – More to be done
Dale L. Hult, PLS
Sandy, Oregon

Hi Dale,

I agree. It is precisely the skill and artistry of surveyors that is needed to provide leadership in the implementation of such tools ... and they are simply tools. UAS, laser scanners, GNSS rovers, robotic total stations: they are just tools. Surveying is both an art and a science; if we did not raise awareness of the science we would be doing a great disservice to our profession.

The editorial and the cover were meant as a wake-up call. Just how many developments will go whistling past our profession and into the hands of those who do not value and possess the appropriate skills? Science will continue to hand us new tools; we can choose to ignore them, or we can choose to become the experts.

—Gavin Schrock, PLS

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