A Stickler for Symbology

I’d like to start of by saying that Charles Blucher was an amazing surveyor and cartographer, but even the best of us can make a decision that will draw criticism from peers. You see, I didn’t grow up in the surveying world, in fact I didn’t even start out there. I ended up where I am today because Uncle Sam gave me a pair of boots and a rifle and sent someone to teach me how to read a map and survey the land in front of me. That training is why I have a criticism of a habit Mr. Blucher had. Here’s an example of it; see the problem?

Maybe not if you’ve never used maps for land navigation. The problem is the tick marks he used to mark the shoreline. According the FM 3-25.26 Map Reading and Land Navigation published by the US Army, tick marks are to represent changes in elevation along a contour line, and they always point toward the downward slope. Now I’m no expert on the ocean, but I’m pretty sure the land does not slope down and away from the water. That’s just not how beach morphology works. I know there are lots of reasons why the ticks are acceptable here, but Charles Blucher actually served in the Army, so he should have a similar mentality. Who knows, maybe it’s just my Marine bias that makes me critical of his work! Regardless, the man was a phenomenal surveyor, and a legend in my book.