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It is human nature to choose a course and then stick with it. Tenacity and staunch conviction are qualities we all admire and traditionally seek in those who are leaders in our society. However, professional land surveying is as much of a science as it is an art. Evaluating evidence and forming opinions are vital aspects in executing a proper survey.

Forming an opinion before the facts are known is the definition of a biased opinion and is the death knell for a professional surveyor's credibility. In order to be a professional land surveyor one must be willing to change one's opinion as the facts become known. I am reminded of a quote of Curtis Browns‘ from his first edition text, Boundary Control & Legal Principles.

To William C. Wattles, an authority and dean of title matters, is my dedication for his oft-repeated sage counsel-to most legal principles the statement "the contrary may be shown" should be added.

This painful but true fact must be kept in mind when performing a survey. As a professional land surveyor you must be able to reverse your position if facts become available that would lead to different conclusions. Professional land surveying is not a political endeavor nor is it an exercise of advocacy or ego. Professional land surveying is the art and science of evaluating evidence as the concerned parties and the law would evaluate it. This is what makes our practice a profession. Much to my chagrin I have seen far too many examples of the former mind set in some surveyor's philosophy and practice.

If you wish to practice as a professional be aware that you must be willing to make exhaustive searches for evidence to the satisfaction that your conclusions can be supported. The risk of coming to a conclusion and giving an opinion is that this will never prevent other evidence and facts from being found and your conclusions rendered irrelevant or untenable. This is simply a function of the science and art that is our profession. The true professional can change their opinion and often do, a politician, advocate or egotist often can't.

Come ahead!

(This article was originally published by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors Journal, July/August 2009).

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  • Land Surveyor

    I agree Fred Sission Jr.. But I think all Land Surveyors should read it too. 

  • GEO Ambassador

    Can't wait to read some of your new stuff!

  • You are true and correct,that is genatics in survey profession,but see some professors say we have to switch to "land management",but we do and we did all this,Professors are not always professionals......
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