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Evergreen Valley College. Civil Engineering Technology Program (Surveying) “Traditional Surveying Classes”. Introduction. Gwen Gee, PLS Adjunct Professor at EVC ENGR 60 and 61 (Plane Surveying) CET 141 (Boundary Control & Legal Principles) County Surveyor for Santa Clara County, California

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Evergreen Valley College

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Evergreen valley college
Evergreen Valley College

Civil Engineering Technology Program (Surveying)

“Traditional Surveying Classes”


  • Gwen Gee, PLS

    • Adjunct Professor at EVC

      • ENGR 60 and 61 (Plane Surveying)

      • CET 141 (Boundary Control & Legal Principles)

    • County Surveyor for Santa Clara County, California

    • Graduate of California State University, Fresno

      • Surveying & Photogrammetry –

        School of Engineering (Geomatics Engineering)

Traditional surveying classes
Traditional Surveying Classes

  • Purpose

    • It’s the “Why” in “Why we do it that way”

      • (Procedures)

    • It’s the “Understanding” in “Understanding what pressing that button does”

      • (Theories)

Technology fall out
Technology “Fall Out”

  • “Surveyors” have become “button pushers”

    • Instruments more advanced

      • Robotics, on-board computer etc.

    • Software is easier to use

      • “Just press a button…”

      • “It does it for you…”

  • Lack the knowledge of what happens when pressing buttons

  • Don’t really know what “pressing the button” really does

  • Going back to the basics…..

The traditional classes
The Traditional Classes

  • Core Subjects

    • Plane Surveying (Engr 60, 61)

    • Land Boundaries (CET 141)

  • Specialized Areas

    • Photogrammetry

    • Construction

    • Astronomy

    • GPS

    • Mapping

    • GIS

Core subjects
Core Subjects

  • Plane Surveying

    • Typically covered in two semesters

    • Lecture

      • Traversing, leveling, horizontal and vertical curves, control surveys, etc.

    • Lab

      • Hands-on experience using surveying instruments

      • Computation

      • Take field notes, record data, set up the field process, reduce data

      • Field measurements

      • Work in groups, communicate with lab members

        Good math and communication skills!

Core subjects cont
Core Subjects (cont.)

  • Land Boundaries

    • Boundary Control

      • Property surveys, process used to determine land boundaries

      • Exposed to legal descriptions of properties and their conflicts

      • Hierarchy of boundary control principles

    • Legal Principles

      • Laws that define land boundaries

      • Laws that govern the practice of surveying (State & Federal laws)

        Good reading comprehension!

Specialized areas
Specialized Areas

  • Photogrammetry

    • Aerial photographs

    • Topographic maps

    • Infrared, remote sensing

    • Digital and computerized trends

    • LIDAR – laser scanning

      Uses computer skills, physics, and math to understand how it works!

  • Construction Surveys

    • Interpreting construction plans

    • Perform calculations for

      • Layout (staking)

      • Checks (control)

        Involves complex calculations and good math skills!

Specialized areas cont
Specialized Areas (cont.)

  • GPS – Global Positioning System

    • Satellites

    • Survey grade GPS equipment

    • Easy to use

    • Becoming affordable

      Understanding theories requires higher math and science ! (statistics, physics)

  • Astronomy

    • Using the stars constellation for positioning

      • Latitude, longitude, azimuth

    • Doesn’t need batteries like GPS

    • Can use survey instruments that don’t require electronics

      Uses higher math for spherical trigonometric computation!

Specialized areas cont1
Specialized Areas (cont.)

  • Mapping

    • Topographic maps (used for designing)

    • Boundary maps, plats, i.e. Subdivision Maps and Parcel Maps (used in land development)

    • Construction plans

    • Survey control mapping

    • As-Built drawings

      Uses CAD skills and math related to survey computations!

  • GIS – Geographical Information System

    • Graphical database

    • Base layer involves theories of control surveys and map projections

    • Has multiple uses and users

      Involves complex computer skills and organizational skills!

Traditional survey classes benefits
Traditional Survey Classes Benefits

  • An understanding of how it all works

    (so when “pressing” a button….)

    • Leads to being able to make it work better

    • Allows you to know when you get a wrong answer

    • Allows you to know why you get these answers

    • Enables you to explain your results with authority

Traditional surveying classes1
Traditional Surveying Classes

  • Provides a solid foundation of surveying knowledge

    • Enables students to branch off into related subjects

    • Avoid having to unlearn incorrect procedures

    • Able to analyze and solve problems

    • Interactive learning environment

How do many surveyors learn now
How do many surveyors learn now?

  • Self taught from

    • books

    • OTJ = On The Job

    • co-workers (“that’s the way it’s always been done” syndrome)

  • Union apprenticeship (construction)

  • Company procedures (manuals)

  • Surveying Classes

Thank you for your time
Thank you for your time.

  • Email: gwen.gee@pln.sccgov.org

  • Enjoy San Jose!

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