History of Land Surveying

land surveyingLand surveying is about the oldest professions in the world. Ever since man has decided that a part of land should belong to a tribe, the demand for surveying began.

Land surveying is fascinating. The techniques used seek to decide which part of land belongs to whom, hopefully ending arguments permanently.

In a nutshell, surveying is a process using mathematical ways to survey land.

The first accounts of surveying land goes back to ancient Egypt. Experts have discovered evidences which the ancient Egyptians used basic geometry to redraw the lines of boundary once the Nile River overflowed. An Egyptian land register going back 3000 BC have also been found.

Following Egyptians, the Romans – also among the most powerful civilizations belonging to the ancient world – practiced land surveying. They took it one step further and made “land surveyor” an official position inside the Empire. They had been called agrimensores, also known as Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum. Despite the fact that used very simple tools, these people were very thorough with their jobs and would create straight lines and proper angles with the aid of these tools. After the lines were measured, they would create shallow ditches to mark the lines. In fact, a lot of the furrows they created continue to exist today.

One of several recorded land surveying in the “modern” times belongs to William the Conqueror who wrote the Domesday Book in 1086. This book serves as a directory names of land owners, the number of land they owned in addition to other information about the land. While it was a great level of information during this time, the pieces of information were not 100% correct. The locations had not been accurate and the maps were not built to scale.

Amongst history’s greatest icons had also been an avid surveyor – Napoleon Bonaparte. The interest in surveying land was really merely a product of his wish to conquer the entire world. Napoleon Bonaparte founded a registry named the cadastre. This includes a registry of properties of a county, ownership details, locations and as many details concerning the land’s value. Yes, Napoleon Bonaparte can be regarded as a land surveyor – and also a very smart man.

The strategy put to use in land surveying also have evolved over the centuries, over time. Years back, people would use whatever may help them determine the space from one place to another. This simply means using chains with links as well as ropes. Naturally, this didn’t give accurate results but they did not have the technology we have back then.

Today, land surveyors enjoy the best technologies in order to help with their job. There’s GPS, or Global Positioning System, which is just about the most accurate technologies being used today. Total stations are also extremely important to a land surveyor, which employs the use of an EDM or Electronic Distance Measurement device along with a theodolite that enables for more precise angle and distance measurements.

For all your land surveying needs, call Auburn Land Surveying at (334) 826-9540 or send us a message by going here.

How do you feel about construction safety regulations?

Construction Safety Regulations

by Misty Fanning – Find My Research

construction safetyConstruction safety should be the number one goal of general contractors, subcontractors and employees. There are several resources that need to be utilized before preparing to start a construction project. All employer’s and employee’s are regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If more employers and employees utilized the regulations that are available a majority of construction accidents could be avoided. OSHA 1926.20(b) discusses accident prevention responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the employer to implement programs and verify employees are following applicable rules. It is also regulated that competent persons utilized by the general contractor or subcontractor must provide inspections to make sure the construction project is safe at all times. If the employer, whether contractor or subcontractor, fails to follow the regulations this could lead to accidents or OSHA citations. The general contractor and the subcontractor depending on the agreement can share the duties on the construction project. When the general contractor makes an agreement with a subcontractor, the general contractor must assume all responsibilities as an employer under OSHA regulations. As far as a subcontractor, he or she is responsible for any applicable OSHA standards. The general contractor will be responsible for the entire site and the subcontractor would be liable for any agreed part of the contract. The subcontractor and the general contractor would be jointly responsible for the subcontractor’s work. The general contractor and subcontractor are required to provide personal protective equipment for employees that are exposed to hazards at the site. If a general contractor or subcontractor does not provide or require employees to use the personal protective equipment he or she may be fined. The personal protective equipment must be provided for the employee by the employer. Personal protection includes helmets, safety lines, lifelines, lanyards, safety nets, eye protection, foot protection etc. All personal protection equipment must meet applicable regulations to verify the equipment is safe for employees to use. The contractor or subcontractor is required to provide employees training. Any contractor and/or subcontractor who does not train employees may be fined. The employer shall verify each employee fully understands and knows how to avoid unsafe conditions. If an employer feels that an employee is not properly trained it is the employer’s duty to make sure that person is trained correctly. It is also the employer’s duty to know applicable regulations to control and eliminate any hazards. Resources: 1. OSHA Regulations

Construction Safety – My Response:

I agree in general with OSHA regulations. There are some instances when I’ve been on a construction site that common sense says that a safety helmet isn’t needed but OSHA regulations require it. My survey crew recently had to sit through an hour long “training” in order to survey in the woods near a power plant. Of course they had to wear helmet, glasses and steel toe shoes. I’m also aware of fatal accidents related to ditch collapses. These are also common sense situations. If you put someone in a ditch over their head – you need shoring. You shouldn’t need regulations for that BUT some contractors ignore the regulations and common sense. So, overall I’m good with the regs. If they keep accidents from happening because a contractor is scared of a fine, then I’ll bear the extra time in training and wear those clunky steel toed shoes. Keith – Auburn Land Surveying

Expert Witness – Georgia Supreme Court rules against family of Glynn crash victim

Expert Witness – Georgia Supreme Court rules against family of Glynn crash victim

By Teresa Stepzinski

BRUNSWICK – The Georgia Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeals decision and ruled in favor of two companies that a Savannah woman sued over her brother’s death in a crash on Interstate 95 in Glynn County.

At issue was whether the woman’s expert witness was qualified to testify in the matter under standards set by state law and a precedent-setting 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case.

In an unanimous opinion Monday, the state Supreme Court said Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett was right and the appeals court was wrong.

Scarlett ruled correctly when he determined the family’s witness was not an expert in the matter. Therefore, Scarlett was right to grant the companies’ motion for a summary judgment in their favor, the justices said.

Johnny Hamilton, 19, of Garden City was killed and his brother, Justin Hamilton, and their sister, Lakeisha Hamilton-King, were injured when a van struck them in a chain-reaction collision April 8, 2003, on I-95 at the Little Satilla River Bridge, which was being widened.

The three had gotten out of their car after it struck a concrete bridge guardrail when Hamilton-King attempted to avoid another car that drifted into her lane. There was no shoulder. As they stood close to the bridge barrier, the three were hit by the van.

The surviving siblings sued the HNTB Georgia Inc., the designer of the bridge-widening project. They also sued Plant Improvement Co., also known as Seaboard Construction Co., which was the prime contractor for the widening of nearly 7 miles of I-95 including the bridge.

They claimed the companies were negligent in designing the traffic control plan for the construction work, and in failing to provide proper lighting and signs in the work area. The siblings offered a civil engineer, Jerome Thomas, as an expert witness, to testify in support of their claim.

The companies asserted Thomas was not an expert under the qualifications set by state law and federal precedent. His testimony was inadmissible, they argued, because he did not present any evidence that bridge construction projects without shoulders and lighting were “inherently defective,” the companies argued.

Scarlett agreed, and excluded the testimony. Without admissible expert testimony, “there was no issue of fact to be decided by a jury,” Scarlett said in ruling for the companies.

The siblings appealed Scarlett’s decision, and won a reversal from the Court of Appeals. The companies then appealed it to the Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court.

 

Judge’s Order Tossing Expert Witness Grabs Attention in Asbestos Case

Judge’s Order Tossing Expert Witness Grabs Attention in Asbestos Case

expert witnessIn the Law.com article “Order Tossing Expert Grabs Attention in Asbestos Case” it is reiterated that an expert witness must not “advocate” for a particular side but must be a “dispassionate scientist/witness.”

    “For the reasons stated in the defendant’s brief, the court finds that Dr. Maddox easily qualifies as such a ‘quintessential expert for hire’ not only for the length, frequency and apparent lucrativeness, but also the litigation orientation he exhibited in attempting to add a proper empirical basis for his opinion after he had originally stated his sworn opinion and the court first found that it was inadmissible. This transgressed the scientific rule that the empirical data should lead to the theory, not vice versa. Although no person probably enjoys seeing their testimony discounted, during his live testimony at the hearing on this motion, Dr. Maddox’s behavior seemed much more consistent with an advocate than a dispassionate scientist/witness,” Parrott said in the order.

This opinion was formed during the “Daubert hearing” [insert link to my article] that lasted the whole day.  In addition to the 1993 Supreme Court’s decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharma, the judge also cited a 1996 decision from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals saying “the courtroom is not the place for scientific guesswork, even on the inspired sort,” and the 2005 Georgia Law governing the use of expert witnesses saying the opinion “is not practically testable and has not been tested.”

The judge also speaks to the “expert for hire” issue. A full-time expert witness seems to always carry this stigma. A professional practitioner who also serves as an expert in a few cases, and who draws only a portion of his fees from expert testimony seems to be more acceptable to judges and juries. What percentage I guess is based on the opinion of the judge. But, you can bet, that the Daubert hearings will increase because of this and other cases of late.