Land Surveying Ethics is a discussion forum for issues involving ethics in the practice of Land Surveying.  Every Land Surveyor has faced or will face an ethical problem or concern.  This is where we air it out and compare notes.  What is or is not ethical is sometimes a matter of law, sometimes a matter of opinion, but always a matter of morality.

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Land Surveyor Ethics Forum

Proportioning, Profit, and other PLSS Problems

It is, indeed, my opinion that proportioning a PLSS section of land to restore the original location of the corner post should be the last resort. Unfortunately, and likely, in my opinion, that it be cost-prohibitive (for the surveyor's client) to conduct an exhaustive search, both on the ground and of public records, not to mention verbal testimonies of abutting land owners, surveyors tend to comfortably abuse the methods prescribed by, and in many cases, adopted by particular states and…

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Land Survey = Insurance

If a land survey were to be construed as an insurance policy on one's boundaries, then the one who owns the land may want to consider getting the best insurance policy, rather than the least expensive. Although all surveys are supposed to be equal by minimum standards that regulate the professional land surveyor, many land surveyors subject themselves to latent liabilities by not meeting said minimum standards in a less-than-egregious manner which may tend to go unnoticed or ignored by almost…

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Handling an ethical dilemma

Have you ever encountered an ethical dilemma?  If so, how did you handle it?  Sometimes, when faced with a decision to make a certain sacrifice for the benefit of all but you, that part of the human ego that goes with it tends to return; and return larger than before.

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WSLS Code of Professional & Ethical Conduct

This is the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors code found on their site. I. Purpose/Intent In order to establish and maintain a high standard of integrity, professional conduct and skill in the art and science of Land Surveying, and to better facilitate our obligation to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the State of Wisconsin , we hereby acknowledge and recognize the need to follow and consistently adhere to a set of guidelines beyond those minimal…

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Morality and Ethics

Morality and ethics

Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is that branch of philosophy which addresses questions about morality. The word 'ethics' is commonly used interchangeably with 'morality' and sometimes it is used more narrowly to mean the moral principles of a particular tradition, group, or individual. Likewise, certain types of ethical theories, especially deontological ethics, sometimes distinguish between 'ethics' and 'morals': Although the morality of people and their ethics amounts to the same thing, there is a usage that restricts morality to systems such as that of Kant, based on notions such as duty, obligation, and principles of conduct, reserving ethics for the more Aristotelian approach to practical reasoning, based on the notion of a virtue, and generally avoiding the separation of 'moral' considerations from other practical considerations.

Source: wikipedia.org

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Thoughts

  • Hi, i have a question can hopefully you can answer me, am working on a project and we have a topographic map which was done by a survey consultant company 4 yrs ago, but one of our senior surveyor is saying that these points are not correct and we have to do topo of that area again because the coordinates are not matching with his, i thought is it possible that the prism constant might be different when topo was done 4 yrs ago than what prism we are using, that was my opinion. please tell me if am right or wrong and also please tell me what factors affect the points of topo or any survey. 

  • The question above depends on whose surveyor's job that is ethically in error, and again what relationship exist between the two professional. Good report and conduct to others bring good report back to you. Wishing you above all other be good.
  • David C. Garcelon presents a very interesting set of questions related to ethics.  I have added my responses.

    "Is Land Surveying ethics different than Civil Engineering ethics? ...or Political Ethics?"  The ethical professional, notwithstanding specialization, categorization, departmentalization, compartmentalization, or any other "ization", except realization, will conduct business in an ethical manner, and without prejudice.  As far as the oxymoron of political ethics is concerned, I do not consider politicians to be professionals, only public servants.  

    "Can we separate out Ethics, Morality, Legality, Diplomacy, Professionalism, Decency, etc. from each other?"  We can make an attempt at pulling apart a matrix of interconnected doctrines and human behaviors, dissecting the very nature of the whole, but how difficult that must be.

    "When a potential client asks us to survey their property lines and provide them with a plan..BUT..they do not want the plan recorded, how should we respond?"  In most jurisdictions, failure to record, file, or otherwise make express notice of the results of a land survey constitutes professional misconduct, however, land planning does not constitute land surveying.

    "When we think "the law is a ass" as Bumberry said in Charles Dickens novel, do we tell the client and use it as an excuse to ignore the law?"  "The law can not be ignored, and the ethical professional should not be ignorant of the law.

    "When we find what we think is an error by another surveyor do we tell our client, the board of registration, or the surveyor?"  In my professional opinion, the ethical course of action would be to first contact the surveyor as a professional courtesy, allowing the surveyor to correct or debunk that which may or may not be an error in the first place.  I do not believe that approaching a client without first consulting the originator of the apparent error is ethical behavior.  If another surveyor is, in fact, in error, and consistently and chronically in error, perhaps the board of registration should be petitioned for an investigation, but only as a last resort.

    I look forward to reading other opinions.

    Scott D. Warner, R.L.S.

  • Scott,

    Land Surveying ethics is a great subject to discuss!

    Is Land Surveying ethics different than Civil Engineering ethics? ...or Political Ethics?

    Can we separate out Ethics, Morality, Legality, Diplomacy, Professionalism, Decency, etc. from each other?

    When a potential client asks us to survey their property lines and provide them with a plan..BUT..they do not want the plan recorded, how should we respond?

    When we think "the law is a ass" as Bumberry said in Charles Dickens novel, do we tell the client and use it as an excuse to ignore the law?

    When we find what we think is an error by another surveyor do we tell our client, the board of registration, or the surveyor?

    I hope you generate a lot of discussion with this forum!

    David C. Garcelon

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