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Course Details

Wednesday morning sessions

Jason Bailey: Standards of Practice

Objective: Review the established standards for the practice of surveying in the State of Alabama, as established by Alabama Code Section 34-11-1.

Description: An in depth lecture and attendee participation and discussion of the current Standards of Practice for Surveying in the State of Alabama effective January 1, 2017. The discussion will analyze the definition of Surveying (Rule No. 1.02), Surveying Standards for field and office (Rule No. 1.03), Vertical Control and Topographic Surveys (Rule No. 1.04) and the Miscellaneous Section (Rule 1.05). The discussion will also cover the different types of surveys and the accuracy requirements for field and office work, monumentation of corners, and the preparation of legal descriptions. Attendee participation is encouraged and real world examples will be presented and discussed.

Dr. Bill Hazelton: Astronomical Observations for Azimuth

Field astronomy allows surveyors to determine the azimuth of lines on the ground using observations of the sun and certain stars, especially Polaris. In this workshop, we will cover the fundamentals of spherical trigonometry and how to develop and solve spherical triangles for azimuth determination. We will consider sources of sun and star ephemeris data (from an almanac), and how to obtain and read these data. Working with time, including accurate measurement and conversions between civil and sidereal times, will be covered. Methods of observation and reduction of sets of observations will be presented, together with software to facilitate the reduction of these observations.

In the late afternoon (after 6 pm) an opportunity to try sun observations will be provided, and in the evening (after 9 pm) observations of Polaris will be available, weather permitting.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Familiarity with basic spherical trigonometry.
  • Understand how to obtain accurate time information and how to move between civil time and sidereal time
  • for star observations.
  • Understand the basic theory underlying the solution of azimuth observations.
  • Understand how to obtain and interpret almanac data for sun and star observations.
  • Understand how to observe Polaris for azimuth, and reduce the observations using both Polaris tables and
  • regular star tables.
  • Understand how to observe any elongating star for azimuth determination and reduce those observations.
  • Understand how to undertake sun observations safely and effectively, and how to reduce those observations.

Expected Audience Expertise or Experience Level:

Intermediate Level. Familiarity with trigonometry and instrument observation techniques are expected. Attendees will be in a better position if they have a survey-grade calculator (e.g., HP-35) or a laptop computer running Excel. Excel spreadsheets to facilitate reductions will be available.

Wednesday afternoon session

Jeff Lucas:  Better Business Practices and the Law

What do better business practices have to do with the law? Plenty! Put another way, better business practices must be in harmony with the law that affects our practice as professional service providers (land surveyors, engineers, architects, etc.). The law that most affects us as professional service providers is property law, contracts, negligence, torts, the common law, administrative law, and statutory law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for the average citizen and even more so for professional service providers. This seminar will focus on 10 Better Business Practices that you can implement immediately to bring your practice in harmony with the law. These practical steps will benefit your company whether you are a multi-state corporation with hundreds of employees, a solo practitioner, or an individual licensee wanting to improve his or her own personal practice. Power Point presentation.

OBJECTIVES: To enhance professional competency and improve practitioner’s knowledge of the law as it relates to the practice of land surveying.

Thursday morning session

Jeff Lucas:  The Standardized Contract for Land Surveying Services (3 hours) Ethics (1 hour)

Surveyors often tell me that either they cannot make any money performing boundary surveying or they don’t have enough money to do the job right. The reality is that both of these issues are easily solved with a written contract. Surveyors need standardized contracts for performing boundary surveying services that described what will be done for the client (and not), provide an estimate for services, a contingency clause for unforeseen circumstances, that address guarantees and warranties, a termination clause and defined contract remedies. Basic project budgeting and contract law for professional services will be examined. A Standardized Contract for Land Surveying Services will be developed. Power Point presentation.

OBJECTIVES: To enhance professional competency and improve practitioner’s knowledge of the law as it relates to the practice of land surveying.

Thursday lunch session

Carlton Smith: Online Marketing Strategies for Surveyors

Flagstone Search Marketing Founder Carlton Smith has been focused on digital media for more than 15 years. Flagstone’s content has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Engadget,, SEMRush,, and Chicago Tribune.

Course content:
Local search strategies to be shown for the most relevant search engine terms; Google My Business 101; How to Create Search Relevancy with Directory Websites; Google Sites: An Alternative to the Wix/Squarespace/WordPress Conundrum; Free & Paid Tools to Help Your Online Presence; Social Media & Organic Content Strategies to Raise Awareness

Application to surveying:
Local search marketing and social media strategies to help Surveyors connect with their target audience so that they may ultimately create a thriving business.

Thursday afternoon sessions

Robert Martin: Point Clouds- What are they and how do I use them

Introduction- Robert Martin, PS.

Robert Martins surveying career started in 1986 with Mickle, Wagner Engineering and Surveying in Fort Smith AR. In 1992 Robert was involved in the construction of Fremont Street in Las Vegas NV. In 1995 he started his own business focusing on construction layout in the Fort Smith and NW AR area. Robert then in 2000 sold his business and went to work with coworkers from Mickle Wagner that had started an Engineering firm and wanted him to create a surveying department for them. Leaving the engineering firm in 2006 Robert changed his career path and moved into Survey Sales with NEI. He has been with NEI since 2006 and has had the pleasure of helping surveyors in the SE US move into Trimble Surveying Equipment. In 2018 he started a surveying channel on YouTube called Surveying with Robert where he shares his knowledge of surveying and the use of surveying equipment with his fellow surveyors.

Point Clouds, where do they come from?
Point Clouds, also called Lidar data or scanning data come from advanced technology. We can collect this data today from ground based terrestrial devices being scanners or robots. Most of us are really fascinated today by the advancement of aerial drones and how that can be used to collect LIDAR or photogrammetry based point cloud data for our surveys.

Point Clouds, how do you create deliverables?
Point Clouds can be a massive amount of data that can be overwhelming.  What we need to understand is that we don’t need to create a 3D model with Point Cloud data. Using software to process your data and extracting line work to create your deliverable is a great way to increase productivity. As we move forward with this technology the demand will become as mainstream as GPS is today. It is my personal belief that understanding this technology is critical to surveying and engineering firms as they move into the future.

Point Cloud examples.
Using Trimble Business Center we will explore examples of point cloud data from different sensors such as scanners and drones so we can see how to create deliverables that we can be moved to Civil3D for our final drawing to our client.

Point Cloud Questions?
I am sure many of you will have questions about sensors and deliverables so we will leave some time for a productive discussion.

Dr. Bill Hazelton: Photogrammetry/Remote sensing

The focus of this workshop is the application of remote sensing and photogrammetric data in regular practice. This includes both satellite data, aircraft data, and drone data. The workshop will cover basic theory, including basic analytical photogrammetry, sensor concepts (frame cameras, scanners, non-imaging sensors), utility of sensor combinations, and the basic of image processing. Guidelines for using photogrammetry and remote sensing will be covered, as well as requirements to set up suitable systems for data collection and processing. Links to open-source software and a free textbook will be provided.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the theoretical foundations for remote sensing and image analysis.
  • Understand systems for acquisition of remotely-sensed imagery and data.
  • Understand calibration processes for a range of sensors.
  • Understand the basic photogrammetric processes for extracting 3-D data from stereo imagery.

Expected Audience Expertise or Experience Level:

Intermediate Level. Familiarity with some basic physics relating to light and other radiation will be helpful.

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