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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

In days of surveying yore

As I learned in my apprenticeship class for surveyors, from 1999 through 2005, a survey party consisted of three to four man crews.

When they needed an angle or radius calculation, each member of the party would solve the formula through the use trigonometry or geometry. Then they would compare their answers. If there were different answers, they would work the problem together until everyone agreed on the same answer. They would apply that angle or radius to the survey.

There were no laptops, calculators, data collectors or cell phones. Surveyors used a slide rule, with a notebook, and pencil and paper. The physical work was hard; pulling chain for distance was not an easy task.

Computer technology has changed surveying. It normally consists of one or two man crews. They have access to laptop computers with computer aided design programs on the job site; they have the use of hand-held computers to collect data.

If there is a problem, the party chief will call the office and a qualified individual will solve the problem on the computer and send back the correct data.

Pulling chain is a task of the past.

Surveyors need not know how to calculate angles because of the technology at hand. Workers need not, and some do not, go through apprenticeship programs to gain employment. The Operating Engineers Union is aware of this; I saw a blind eye being turned towards it to it. Then the union states that their membership is a highly qualified work force in this country.

With that, the work for most surveyors has now become light and very easy.

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About the Contributor
Dan Gonsalves
Dan Gonsalves, Inquirer Staff
Staff member, fall 2013.

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In days of surveying yore