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National Surveyors Week, What's It All About?

Posted By Frank Lenik, PLS, Thursday, February 8, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

We’ve all heard about National Surveyors Week – the week long celebration of the surveying profession that takes place annually in March. But who’s actually celebrating, and how? What is the best way to use this event to the advantage of our profession?

Consider the main three goals of the program:

  1. Public awareness of our profession through education;
  2. Public awareness of our profession through the media;
  3. Public awareness of our profession through public service

The education of the public, both adult and youth, is probably the number one goal of National Surveyors Week. The work we perform for the benefit of the public often goes unrecognized and we need to share our knowledge with them. The work being done by our Trigstar volunteers is incredible and should be highlighted during National Surveyors Week. There are volunteers doing outreach to Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups and resources are available for these programs. We can expand on this and offer to speak to the local Rotary or Lions Club. They are always willing to have a speaker at their meetings. How better to promote your profession and your business than to make a public appearance?

Reaching out to the public through the media and making them aware of our profession and our role in today’s society is a goal whose value we all recognize. Over the last few years we have achieved this in a variety of ways including Presidential, gubernatorial, and municipal proclamations, newspaper articles, and radio spots highlighting National Surveyors Week. There is also a a National Surveyors Week Facebook page and a National Surveyors Week Twitter hashtag. Each of these channels represents another way for the land surveying community to stay connected with a different section of the public.

Although the annual effort of contacting the President, members of Congress, your governor and your municipal leaders may seem trivial, remember that it serves to remind them that surveyors are important. It is an essential part of our awareness campaign and serves as an introduction to our senators and representatives when we visit them on the hill. Whenever a bill, law or ordinance is being contemplated which affects the public and impacts on our profession, these elected officials should know who to turn to for answers to their questions.

Newspaper articles, radio advertisements, and on line media can serve the same function for our profession, keeping us in the public eye. Rather than being hidden behind an attorney, title agent or real estate agent, we can use the media to highlight the value of our profession with our most important constituency our clients. The best way to get an article about surveying published in a newspaper is to contact a local reporter and let them know that you have a good lead on a community interest story. If that fails to attract their attention offer to write one yourself and submit it to the paper. State societies, society chapters and even private firms have written or sponsored articles or public service announcements which serve as advertising for our profession and their businesses.

In his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy poignantly said “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”. It is with this attitude in mind that we should attempt to give back to our nation and our profession and lay the groundwork for the future. We can lament the passing of the geodetic field parties of the past and the disappearance of the NGS monuments, or we can embrace the future, share our expertise and volunteer for a common cause. In doing this we can prepare the foundation which future surveyors and the public will turn to for their geodetic positioning. It will help us hone our skills and keep us current  on changes in our own practice.

Republished/edited from a 2015 article

Tags:  land surveying  land surveyors  national surveyors week  surveyors week  texas land surveyors  texas surveyors 

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TBPLS is Under Sunset Review - Are You Prepared to Help?

Posted By Travis Tabor, RPLS, SurPAC Committee Chair, Thursday, February 8, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dear TSPS members and friends: 

Every twelve years the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying is reviewed by the Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC). The Sunset Commission staff will evaluate TBPLS over the next several months, make recommendations and publish a staff report. The Sunset Commission Members will review the report and hear public testimony before making recommendations to the full Legislature. During the 2019 Legislative session, the fate of TBPLS will be decided - continue with improvements, be consolidated or potentially abolished.

Due to the pending review, it is imperative to raise funds for SurPAC so that we can make timely contributions to SAC members. Historical data suggests that the Legislature acts overwhelmingly in conjunction with the SAC recommendations and several SAC members are in contested battles for re-election. Strong support from SurPAC will make clear that the TBPLS must remain funded.

SurPAC has immediate needs of raising $40,000 for this effort. Everyone is encouraged to contribute to SurPAC, but we are relying heavily on those in leadership roles to set the example. All Surveyors stand to be impacted by the SAC recommendations and potential changes to our regulatory body. However, business owners may be impacted most, and we are asking you to contribute to our latest fundraising effort. 

SurPAC is searching for a coalition of individuals willing to pledge $500 each towards this campaign. We are asking for immediate pledges from 20 people to build a $10,000 fund. The pledge fund will be used to match contributions from other TSPS members and double the fundraising effort. The matching funds will be calculated on those individual contributions received on or before July 1, 2018.  Those contributors who make the donation of $500 or more will be recognized in our publications, unless requesting to remain anonymous.

Please help SurPAC continue to promote and protect the surveying profession by completing this donation form and returning it to the TSPS office. It is important to remember only personal checks can be accepted and any donation amount is greatly appreciated.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Travis Tabor, RPLS
SurPAC Committee Chair

 Attached Files:

Tags:  fundraising  land surveyors  sunset advisory commission  sunset review  SurPAC  TBPLS  texas land surveyors  texas surveyors 

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TSPS Member Feature: John DeHan, RPLS #6042 - Chapter 11

Posted By Kristen L. Evon, Thursday, February 8, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

TSPS: How/why did you get into surveying?

John: In a cold Ohio November with a foot of snow on the ground, I started as a chainman. Frozen toes and hands were thawed by joining the Air Force, where I was trained in surveying and drafting. I made it to south Texas by way of Germany and this area has been my home for years now. I have enjoyed learning our profession from some of the best surveyors in San Antonio. The interconnection of our history with surveying is fascinating and I continue to be amazed at facts that are uncovered. 


TSPS: Why did you join TSPS?

John: I joined TSPS long ago to attend the surveyors’ rodman training that was offered by the society. As I moved up the ranks and continued my training, I attended a class or seminar now and then. I more recently became involved at a higher level due to my desire to give back to the profession and help keep it vibrant and growing. I believe that TSPS is a valuable asset to our profession and a huge part of our continued success.

TSPS: What is your most memorable surveying moment?

John: I have prepared a few boundary surveys along the historic San Antonio Riverwalk. The amount of research that went into these projects was incredible. Following the chain of title back one hundred or more years taught me quite a bit about the history of our city.  Surveying an entire city block and beyond was usually the standard in order to come up with a resolution. A whole range of situations were addressed, party walls, different monuments called for on neighboring deeds, and the fact that the City of San Antonio actually owns the river within the downtown area.

John's Favorites:

Color: Blue
Food: Pizza (no not pizza hut or papa johns)
Animal: Dog
Singer: Led Zeppelin and Stevie Ray Vaughan
Hobbies: Travel


Above: John participates in a historic survey demonstration on the Alamo grounds
Right: One of John's favorite places to visit - Breckenridge, CO

John is currently the TSPS Chapter 11 - Alamo Representative and works for TGD Surveying LLC in Garden Ridge, TX.

Tags:  members  texas land surveyors  texas surveyors 

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James Knox, RPLS #4214 - Chapter 23 (North East Texas)

Posted By Kristen L. Evon, Thursday, December 7, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

TSPS: How/why did you get into surveying?

James: I was in engineering design with TxDOT from 1959 until retirement in 1993; I learned a lot concerning linear survey layout, etc. I did hand drafting for surveyors as a part-time job from 1971 until the CAD era. I was registered as a RPLS in 1983 and surveyed on Saturdays until I retired from TxDOT, after which a started my own business, Knox & Associates, and have been operating a sole proprietorship ever since. I suppose my training started my interest in the surveying profession as well as a love for the history of the progression of land ownership and the stories of how the "old timers" worked and accomplished the work.

TSPS: Why did you join TSPS?

James: I wanted to learn more about our profession and experience the camaraderie that surveyors enjoy.

TSPS: What is your most memorable surveying moment?

James: Over the years, because of extensive farming, a great percentage of original monuments have been lost or obliterated....when one is recovered and matches the record monument description, the adrenaline starts flowing. The witness trees for most of these are gone, due to extensive logging, but still, some are occasionally found. I have found some unusual monumentation: a.50 cal octagon rifle barrel, old bed rails, sections of railroad rail, shaped bois d'arc  and pine-knot states, wagon thimbles, etc.

James's Favorites:

Color: Blue
Animal: White-tailed deer
Singer: Buddy Holly
Hobbies: Coin collecting (I am president of the Texarkana Coin Club) and flint knapping

Tags:  members  texas land surveyors  texas surveyors 

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Misrepresentation of the Tree Species – an Errors & Omissions Claim

Posted By Kristen L. Evon, Thursday, December 7, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

Misrepresentation of the Tree Species – an Errors & Omissions Claim
Submitted By Gina O’Hara, ANCO Insurance
Opinion by Tim Soejfe, Seltzer Chadwick Soefje, PLLC

Whether a land surveyor performing a routine land title survey falls below the standard of care when the surveyor incorrectly identifies the correct species of a tree identified on the land title survey.

Yes. Although the standard of care would not otherwise require the species of a tree to be identified on a land title survey, the misrepresentation of the tree species subjects the land surveyor to liability if the owner reasonably relied on the misrepresentation of the tree’s species to his detriment.

Whether a land surveyor fails to meet the duty of care depends on the type of survey performed. The reasonable degree of care about the identification of the species of a tree required for a “land title survey” varies from the reasonable degree of care required for a “tree survey.”

The violation of the standard of care is a question of fact for the trier of fact (ie., jury, judge, arbitrator, etc.). Two surveys of the same parcel of land can have great variations and inconsistencies between them, but this does not conclusively prove one land surveyor failed to exercise the requisite degree of reasonable care.

Land surveyors may be held liable for damages resulting from inaccurate surveys if they fail to perform their services with a reasonable degree of care and skill. Dennison, Mark S., Surveyor’s Liability for Negligent Performance of Land Survey, 59 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 375 (Originally published in 2000). See, Smith v. Herco, Inc., 900 S.W.2d 852 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi 1995), writ denied, (Oct. 5, 1995) and reh'g of writ of error overruled, (Nov. 2, 1995).

The common-law duty of care imposed on a land surveyor requires a surveyor to “exercise a reasonable degree of care in the performance of their work . . . [and] may generally be defined as the level of care that a surveyor of ordinary skill and prudence would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.” Id. 
The standard of care for a “land title survey” requires only that the land surveyor locate trees on lines of possession and boundaries. Minimum Standards Detail Requirements For ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys Minimum Standards Detail Requirements For ALTA/NSPS Land Title (Effective February 23, 2016).1 Land title surveys do not require a land surveyor to identify trees on a survey unless “specified in the contract . . . [or] deemed by the surveyor to be evidence of possession . . .” Id. 

In contrast, “tree surveys” require data on “tree locations, trunk diameter and species.” Austin, Texas – Environmental Criteria Manual, §3.3.2 (A)(1)-(3).2 A tree survey should correctly identify the tree at the species level; however, it is also acceptable to identify the tree by its common name. Id. A land surveyor must do more than locate a tree to satisfy the standard of care for a “tree survey” because such survey requires identification of tree species or type. 

The best practice for a land surveyor performing a “land title survey,” therefore, is to avoid identifying the species of tree unless specified in the contract or deemed by the surveyor to be evidence of possession. If the land surveyor chooses to exceed what is required by the minimum standard of care and identify a tree’s species, and does so incorrectly, the land surveyor likely is subject to liability for negligent misrepresentation if the owner reasonably relied on the identification. In a “tree survey,” the species must be accurate, or the land surveyor likely falls below the standard of care.

1 See, 
2 See, 

Tags:  land surveying  land surveyors  land title survey  surveyors  texas land surveyors  tree species 

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