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Odd or Funny Surveying Stories

Everyone has at least one Odd or Funny experience in their past. Please feel free to post it here.

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Odd or Funny Stories about Land Surveying

Do you have a surveying story from the field that is slightly odd or funny? share it with us here...

Land Surveyor Forum - Community Discussions

The electric fence and the steel tape

Started by Tim K.. Last reply by Jaybird Aug 12, 2015. 1 Reply

Four Legs Against Three Legs

Started by Scott D. Warner, PLS. Last reply by Arnel M. Domag Jan 15, 2012. 1 Reply

Dingo, Survey Camp, Caravan, Storm, Local Paper Report

Started by Nick de Weger. Last reply by Scott D. Warner, PLS Jan 14, 2012. 1 Reply

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Reply by Scott D. Warner, PLS on June 10, 2011 at 8:18pm

When I was a young surveying technician my manager and I left the office to "take a couple of shots" before the storm rolled in.  I set up the total station while my boss was setting up a tripod on the backsight point.  Of course, he finished setting up before I did and he went off to the foresight point.  

Meanwhile we both see the lightning and hear the thunder approaching, but it was well off in the distance, at least 45 minutes away.  

After I got the instrument ready for a backsight and peered through the lens I noticed that a hawk had landed on top of the backsight tripod facing away from my line of sight.  Yes, that meant that its tail was covering up the prism!  So, I waited patiently for the hawk to find a mouse or something, but it wouldn't move.  I tried to burn through his tail feathers with the EDM but without success.

What is taking so long?, I heard over the 2-way radio.  I said you're not going to believe this, but I can't take my backsight because there is a hawk covering up the prism with its tail and its body is blocking the whole prism assembly.

     Are you kidding me?, I heard from my radio.  No, I cant get oriented because of this hawk!  Ok, said my boss, we will both head toward the hawk and one of us should be able to scare it away.  We proceeded to do exactly that and sure enough, the hawk flew away.

I made it back to the instrument and my boss made it back to the foresight point and history repeated itself.  I said, you're not going to believe this, but the hawk is back and it's doing it again!  I can't take the shot!

This time I stayed put while my boss walked back to the backsight tripod and guarded it until I actually got the shot.  (hindsight is always 20/20, I wish backsights were too at the time).

We made the "couple of shots" just as it began to sprinkle a few drops of rain.  On the way back to the truck it began pouring down on us like pitchforks and hammer handles, including small hail.  We got in the truck and sped off toward the office which was directly away from the storm.  After a few minutes of outrunning the storm, my boss looked over his shoulder where the total station is stored and asked me where it was.  I can still remember the look in his eyes when I said #@!%&* I left it outside the truck when we were getting in!

So we drove directly back into the storm and recovered our instrument and headed back to the office even more drenched than before, but no worse for wear except for my embarassment.  However, upon arrival at the office, we learned that a tornado had moved through the area we had narrowly escaped!

I'm not sure if I was almost killed by a tornado, a hawk with a vengeance, or pure stupidity, but once again, hindsight is always 20/20.

The moral of the story is up to you.............


Reply by Timothy Lemay Blackmon, PSM on December 27, 2010 at 4:24pm

God, there are so many..............


I worked with a crew in SOuth Carolina 1 summer in some environmentally sensitive lands South of Myrtle of the helpers was named "turtle". My first day, I kinda laughed when I asked the other party chief..I said "Turtle? couldn't you find him a better nickname? The PC said..just watch him and you'll know why. It was a running (  :)  ) joke about how slow he wasn't that he was that slow, but he did everything methodically and purposely.... and was ALWAYS in the  rear..........and never said a word unless you spoke to wouldn't even know he was in the truck.


SO we are cutting these narrow as possible to not-disrupt-the-vegetation grid lines. There is every kind of biting, stinging critter I have ever seen down there....even got into some of those Japanese Hornets...3" monsters...aaaccckkk!!!!! So anyway later on in the day the 2nd pc and myself were discussing tactics on top of an old "Indian Mound"  with turtle and another guy cutting line a couple of hundred feet downline. We were turned backwards to them and we both heard and "felt" this clomping coming towards us that sounded like a 3 legged mule with his tail on fire and turned around...Turle, running at full gallop stopped right in front of me, eyeball to eyeball on this 3' wide corridor of thick brush and he just quietly said "here come the bees" and went into a Jesse Owens on steroids gallop further on down the line...... It happened so fast, we just looked up the line where he came from and swear to God, the line was brown and alive! As grandpa used to say "I only had a nannersecond to respond to the situation" which I did by not even moving, just squatting and launching myself blind backwards between two bushes. I had an instant choice to make between a sure thing involving 500 yellowjackets or an outside chance of landing on a cottonmouth I took the chance on the snake.

Well, I didn't even think I was on a mound, so I went flying off it backwards and landed with a flat splat on my back in some of the nastiest, foulest organic greenish purplish brown silt....full of sulphur was in my ears!!!! everywhere!!!....never did find my plumb bob.......I had to go jump in the intercoastal waterway and wash off before I could go back to work......mosquitos still wouldn't bite me for 2 or 3 days after...then we proceeded to tell turtle by threatening bodily harm if he EVER ran towards us like that again.........

Reply by Timothy Lemay Blackmon, PSM on December 27, 2010 at 2:52pm

I started spending all my summers about age 8 (yes 8 years old) working with Dad's survey crews in Central North Carolina, USA. I loved it! I remember vivdly my first day "in the field". We were on an asphalt road somewhere between Smithfield and Clayton, NC and I just carried stuff, but we measured down a road, set a point and started cutting line. I asked what we were doing and Dad said "we are going to build a road". Now I thought this was almost as cool as the new TV show, "Lost in Space", so here we went thru the woods.


ANyway, later in the day, we crossed some railroad tracks a few hundred feet from a small crossing, and the bell went off and the crossing gate lowered and I started freaking out and yelling for them to hurry and pull the chain (remember those?) across because a train was coming. Now the old helper, Felton told me "timmie, you ain't got to worry.....when you lay any chain across them tracks close to a crossing, the gates will come down....."


Well that old man shouldn't NEVER told me that........because I was cheap labor and loved to help the crews, I had carte blanche access to the workshop where the old chains were kept for I nabbed me a section about 6 feet long and tied a good cord to it and me and my best friend Jimmy got on our bikes and rode to the edge of town next Saturday morning. It was real convenient my grandma lived right by the tracks at 1 of the 2 crossings in our little town of 900 people............... we hid in the ditch a few hundred feet from the busiest one and anytime somebody would come by, I'd pull it with the cord until the lights and bell would go off and lower that crossing gate.....I'd mak'em wait FOREVER..until they got mad and started going around...THEN I'd pull it on across and the gate would go up.....was the funniest thing as we naturally did it at LEAST 20 times........then I saw my great uncle (the constable) coming and he stopped and parked his car.....we ran/crawled/clambered thru that muddy ditch like Marines for a couple of hundred yards and took off thru some woods before doubling back for the of the few times I ever got away with anything..........well...this is a surveying inspired story anyway

Reply by RAM BIR on December 3, 2010 at 4:10am
sir,My self Rambir & Intrested to join your group.
Reply by Anguyo Jonathan Gift on November 3, 2010 at 3:13am
what an experience i had when i got stung by over a hundred bees during some small field work in the country. we had gone to survey some plot, we traversed well to the plot, picked three corners of the plot without any problem, reaching the fourth corner, it was like i had been convicted of murder and was serving my sentence ....... DEATH
Reply by Timothy N. Ross on October 27, 2010 at 7:42am
I was doing a farm survey, the adjoiner walked up and asked what those nails with numbers were. We tried to explain that we used those for our traverse points, he said he had his property surveyed recently and saw those nails, he thought somebody was sticking those in deer scrapes with numbers, he handed about 20 of them to me, in case I needed them. I contacted the surveyor to tell him the bad news about his traverse points, he had not set the corners yet!
Reply by GES on October 16, 2010 at 7:28am
Me and 2 others were putting in concrete control stations on bleak Walney Island on a darkening British winters evening. The youngest was stood over a station while me and another went about 250m away to build the last one. By the time we finished it darkness had fallen and there was no moon.
As we walked back towards the young lad we saw a glowing light which lasted about 30 seconds. It turned out that he had taken off a glove and set fire to it. He said it was to aid us finding him. I think he got scared!
The next day we traversed the control. I named that one BG1 ("Burning Glove 1").
About a week later I had my Survey drawings and was walking the site with a Client rep. who quizzed why all the control was named PEC1, PEC2 etc. except for BG1. I explained and he roared with laughter.
Reply by Randall R.Schaff PLS on September 10, 2010 at 4:30am
Ahhh...Farm surveys...I remember playing the electric fence-steel tape game back in the old days. The new guy always cought hell !!!!
Reply by Donald E Best on September 6, 2010 at 11:52am
One of my surveying crew was telling about another survey crew setting iron pins around over a farm and how friendly and helpful the farmer had been and had said to the farmer "to save our points--we will be back in a few weeks". So when they came back, the farmer greeted them as they drove in and said he had "saved all their points-----they are all stacked aganst the barn for them", HA!
Reply by Donald E Best on September 6, 2010 at 11:31am
Surveyors have been using the two-way radios for years and playing tricks on each other with them. This one was pulled on me. I was up in the Matazal Mountains in Arizona laying out a 11 mile highway segment and the pee pain hit, so told my associate I was headed for some boulders to hide behind
and dropped the radio in my left front pants pocket. I was busy
trying to unzip my fly when this voice came out of my pants "don't touch me".

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Land Surveyor Forum - Community Discussions

Four Legs Against Three Legs

Started by Scott D. Warner, PLS. Last reply by Arnel M. Domag Jan 15, 2012. 1 Reply

Dingo, Survey Camp, Caravan, Storm, Local Paper Report

Started by Nick de Weger. Last reply by Scott D. Warner, PLS Jan 14, 2012. 1 Reply

Survey Camp, Vegetable Garden, Home Brew, Drag Line

Started by Nick de Weger. Last reply by Scott D. Warner, PLS Jan 13, 2012. 2 Replies

The electric fence and the steel tape

Started by Tim K.. Last reply by Jaybird Aug 12, 2015. 1 Reply

The True Life Adventures of Penn Cheyning

Started by Deward Karl Bowles. Last reply by Deward Karl Bowles Jan 19, 2011. 2 Replies

Be careful what you ask for.......

Started by Charles W Browning Jr. Last reply by Jaybird Sep 6, 2010. 1 Reply

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