The expression that "Those who do not remember the past are bound to repeat it" probably comes from the experience of the Israelites in Egypt and their subsequent celebration of the Passover. However, it is applicable to all of the human race, and the surveying profession is certainly not exempt. It is in this spirit that I would like to start a discussion that relates to the history of surveying and surveying instrumentation.It is difficult to know where to start or where it will lead, but I will start with the story of the Egyptians and their surveying of land boundaries along the Nile River. Along the Nile was some of the most fertile and valuable land in all of Egypt, and as a result the owners of it did not to give up "even one inch" of it to their neighbors. They were smart enough to mark their boundaries with monuments, but when the Nile flooded many of these monuments would be washed away, thus creating serious boundary line problems. However, they came up with a very simple solution. They put monuments on the uplands on every property line, which provided them with the ability to measure from the monuments and extend the property lines back to the River. Thus monumentation became one of the most important aspects of surveying property lines.
However, another very important dilemma had to be solved...the changes of the boundaries of the Nile River, or what we now call Riparian Rights.
I hope this will be the beginning of a vigorous discussion of surveying history.
David C. Garcelon