Blunders – Find of the Week

Even the best can make mistakes sometimes, but what is important is identifying and correcting any mistakes that have been made. In surveying, we have a special word for avoidable mistakes. A blunder is a mistake, big or small, that is often due to human error. However, with comprehensive procedures and diligent checks, blunders can be found and corrected. Examples of blunders include, but are not limited to: -Incorrectly reading an instrument -Copying down a number incorrectly -Tabulation errors -Instruments incorrectly calibrated

The field book page below is an interesting example of two blunders occurring at once. The first blunder occurred when a point… Read more »


Status of {Map Scanning} Project Presented to Coastal Bend GIS Users Group

On Thursday, September 15th, Dr. Smith, on behalf of the Spatial {Query} Lab, presented the {Map Scanning} Project to the Coastal Bend GIS Users Group. The presentation covered the history, process, current status, and future plans for the project. View the PowerPoint presentation. Big thanks to the Coastal Bend GIS Users Group for the opportunity. If you are in the Coastal Bend and work in the geospatial field, please consider joining the group!


Tarasco Language – Find of the Week

Today’s “Find of the Week” features a short list of words in the Tarasco Language. The Tarasco language (also known as Tarascan or Purépecha) is an American Indian language with origins in Mexico. This list was found at the front of the field book and contains three words. Each with a phonetic pronunciation and the meaning of the word. Although we looked through the whole of the field book, we were unable to find any further mention of the Tarasco language or why the surveyor made notes of these words. The field book is dated from late 1916 to early 1920 and… Read more »


Upcoming Features of BandoCat

We have been hard at work preparing to kick off three new initiatives in the {Map Scanning} project: Georectification of scanned maps Transcription of map indices Spatial search of scanned documents In order to get these initiatives off the ground, we needed to develop some new capabilities of BandoCat (BandoCat is our internally-developed map cataloging software). So, we have developed a new georectification tool, a new transcription tool, and a new spatial search tool. All three of these tools work within BandoCat and will soon be deployed to the S{Q}L staff so they can enrich the scanned documents with geospatial… Read more »


“Also Wet” – Find of the Week

Take a moment to imagine yourself in various everyday scenarios like watching a movie, eating a cookie, going to work, or even mowing the lawn… Now re-imagine each scenario and add in the feeling of being cold and wet. Even the most wonderful scenarios you may have envisioned could be ruined by poor weather.

On December 12, 1946, a plainly miserable surveyor wrote

“Colder Then hell, Also wet”

at the top of his field book page. The normally neat handwriting looks rushed and really gives a sense of how uncomfortable the author must have been. According to the National Weather Service, the… Read more »


Field Book Sketches – Find of the Week

Although field books are typically filled with technical sketches of the property being surveyed, surveyors would occasionally draw other things in their field books. Sketches of the landscapes or buildings can often be found in the Blucher Collection field books. This particular page shows a few sketches between additional notes and calculations. The sketch on the left side of the page depicts pajamas air drying on top of surveying stakes. The sketch on the right side of the page is titled “Mud Flats Farm” and is dated October 25, 1918.   As was mentioned in our very Read more »


Mirrored Image – Find of the Week

Before computers and printers were widely available, the process of making multiple copies of one document was often much more time consuming than it is today. This mirror image map is just one step in a process that allowed for multiple copies of the original map to be made. This map, made in 1938, is from the Green Collection and shows a portion of a subdivision in Port Aransas, Texas. The artistic detail at the top of this map also a unique find.  


One map made of three sheets of paper – Find of the Week

Often when people hear the word “map” they imagine a large rectangular piece of paper with the United States of America drawn in bright colors. Or perhaps, a person might think of using an internet browser to look up directions from one place to another. In most cases, however, people usually think of maps of fitting within a square or rectangle. Our third “Find of the Week” demonstrates how a map does not always fit inside of a rectangular piece of paper. This map, titled “Map of Portland Texas in San Patricio County”, is from the Green Maps Collection and… Read more »


Scorching Hot Temperatures – Find of the Week

This week we are featuring a couple of pages from our Field Book collection. These pages are from the summer of 1937 and report the shocking temperature of 120° in the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. The temperature for each day can be seen at the upper right corner of the page. Keeping track of the weather and temperature during a survey was very important because the length of the steel tape used for measurements could vary with temperature changes. The page dated June 11, 1937, even has two temperatures recorded for different times of the day.