Page 8 - 2021 Summer
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trouble afoot for Surveyors

                                     By: Michael kulish, plS

                                     About the Author:
                                     Michael Kulish is a Professional Land Surveyor. He has practiced in both private and public sectors for
                                     35 years. His expertise spans technologies from compass to satellite with career experience in boundary
                                     retracements, construction, LiDAR, digital photogrammetry, hydrographic, and mobile mapping. Ad-
                                     ditionally, he has taught Surveying and GIS at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington since 1993

           hese are strange times, with the coronavirus health threat,  The goal of the proposal is to declare that there is only one foot
        Tsocial distancing, economic uncertainty, and stay-home or-  and that is the recently developed international foot. That simply
        ders causing dramatic adjustments in our lives both personal  is not the case. If we seek an international standard for the future,
        and professional.  unfortunately, shut-down orders and new  that is the meter. If we seek clarity and truth for past measure-
        ways of conducting business are not the only challenges that  ments, well that depends upon whatever units were actually em-
        Professional Land Surveyors will deal with in the near future. For  ployed, although they may be expressed in modern units.
        surveyors practicing in Washington State your world will expand   Regarding the Proposal to “Deprecate” the US Survey Foot
        by 0.0002% on June 11, 2020 – and as surveyors you’ll need to
        account for that. More about this later.                 •  The proposal causes the very problem it purports to solve
          In 2022 the new modernized national datum will be imple-  •  There is no real benefit, and significant, real, current and
        mented by the national Geodetic Survey. This is a necessary and   long-term cost in mandating the IF for geospatial purposes
        beneficial thing. Riding on the coattails of that advance however   •  The problems it causes will affect millions of properties and
        is a proposal that we should use this as an opportunity to rede-  create confusion for geospatial practitioners and their clients
        fine the foot. The proposal seeks to establish the “international   •  Implementing the use of the IF for uS geographic measure-
                            foot” (IF)  as “The foot”.  The  two issues   ment does not serve the public interest
                            are separate. The new datum – which is
                            based upon the meter – does not in any   •  The  IF  is  not  a  better  unit  for  geographic  purposes.  It  is
                            way depend upon the existence of the IF.   merely a different, and, in this case, inappropriate, one.
                            The premise is that the uS Survey Foot   •  That resolving this problem once and for all can be done by
                            (uSSF)  is  somehow  now  superseded,   declaring that the correct foot to use for uS geospatial prac-
                            and the potential for using the wrong   tice is the uS Survey Foot, which could also be reckoned the
                            unit causes confusion.  The potential   uS Geographic Foot.
                            does exist, mostly causing a problem for   If, as seems likely at this point, this “deprecation” attains the
        geospatial professionals. however, it is the recent introduction   force of law all surveyors now living are going to be dealing with
        of the international foot into a well-established province of mea-  the fallout for the rest of their careers. The reason, quite simply, is
        surement and the mistaken use by practitioners that has caused   that measurements already made are not somehow changed or
        the problem.                                            ‘standardized’ by giving them all the same name – but they will
          The IF proposal so fundamentally misunderstands the purpose  most certainly be confused. Although the difference between
        and nature of geospatial measurement it is difficult to believe  the uSSF (0.30480061 or 1200/3937 m) and the IF (0.3048 m –
        that it could even be taken seriously let alone be championed.  exactly) is quite small it is a BIG deAL.

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