Friday, April 17, 2009

What in the hell do Surveyors do?

I was driving down the road the other day and there were one of THOSE guys right in the middle of the road. You know who I’m talking about: The guys with all the safety fashion on and the tripod and something that looks like a camera. Surveyors!

I don’t get them at all. What are they really doing?

It seems like a dumb place to be taking a survey.

“Excuse me ma’am, I saw you from a mile back through my handy tripod gadget thingy here and I’d like to ask you a question for this survey.”

“You stopped me for THAT?”

“Question one: Do you feel that this road is a safe place to take surveys?”

“I’m out of here…”

Ok, so it’s tough to ask “How do you feel about construction delays on roads?” while standing in the middle of the road looking through some sort of camera thingy while irritated drivers are cursing and texting all at the same time.

I don’t think they’re actually doing surveys. But they’re doing something with those thingy-mah-jibs they look through. So I looked it up on Wikipedia. They said it means “the process of determining positions on the Earth’s surface.”

Wow, that helps a lot. There’s got to be more to it than that. Any fool can say “Yep, this is definitely a different position than that last one I was at. Check please…”

These guys have been around since the dawn of time it would appear.

Even in colonial times we had surveyors. Perhaps it’s all been an elaborate ruse that nobody understands and allows them an easy paycheck. While others were fighting the British and pounding on metal or digging in the ground, the surveyor was living the life of luxury and importance while doing absolutely nothing.

Still, I don’t care how much safety gear and neon cones you have around you, I wouldn’t want to be standing out in the freeway or road pretending to look important just to get a paycheck. I can get that with a management job and surf the net all day…

This job is risky. And it would appear it’s been that way for a long time.

I just have no idea why…
(quick update...is anyone else having trouble with their avatar and commenting? Either blogger is messing with me or the gnomes are. I'm only able to comment without signing in to blogger for some reason. I'll be launching an investigation...meanwhile no Howdy Doody head...sorry! Damn blogger...or gnomes.... VE out)

57 comments:

moooooog35 said...

Back before I had this sweet, sweet gig (not sure what I do), I was, indeed, a surveyor.

You're right. They don't do all that much.

And that little telescope, thingy?

Sucker can zoom into a chick's bedroom/bathroom window from 1/2 mile away.

Try THAT with your stupid binoculars.

Perhaps I've said too much.

VE said...

moooooog35 - Ha! You have said too much. Now I know why you never leave the house! Nice....

The Incredible Woody said...

What the hell is an avatar?

VE said...

incredible woody - It's the little picture you get when you sign in using blogger and you see it with your comments. Mine is me at the beach with a Howdy Doody crayon box over my head (photoshopped in of course...I never take crayons to the beach...)

Anonymous said...

how did you get a COLOR picture of that colonial surveyor?

Anne said...

wonder why your comment thingy thought I was anonymous today?

lime said...

ya know, i never thought of it that way. makes it look like a pretty primo job, well except for that bit about dodging maniac drivers.

VE said...

anon - I have three possibilities. You choose:
1. I went back in time with my tme machine (because without it its hard to do) and took the pic with my fancy dancy digital camera
2. I sent the historic photo to Ted Turner and he colorized it for me
3. It's a reenactment of a historical event and I stole it off the internet like I usually do

anne - Was that you? ha! See above...

lime - Kind of makes you wonder why they don't just make those onramp and offramp street beggars into surveyors. They're there on the street all day already...

Candie Bracci said...

LOL,yeah me too I can't get it!
A mystery,lol.
I have some problems with Blogger too,if that can help.

P.S:good question raised by Anon,lol!:D

Quirkyloon said...

Survey says.....VE funny!

And I cannot tell you how many times those "surveyors" have probably watched me picking my nose!

So there!

Ha!

VE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VE said...

candie - I have responded to anon accordingly! ;) And I know those surveyors have a secret society...oh yes, VE knows all about such things...their not fooling him

quirkyloon - Of course you realize nobody knows what I do for a living. Speaking of which, that was a big bat in the cave this morning, girl! ;)

Jeff said...

Maybe your crayons finally melted. That would explain a lot you know.

DouglasDyer said...

With all the leering into bedrooms, I'm guessing that surveyor probably died from an erection. That's why those commercials tell you to go to the hospital if it lasts more than four hours.

cathouse teri said...

I think everyone should have sex with the blinds open.

A super good movie about surveyors is called, "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain."

Elizabeth said...

I can kinda understand what surveyors are doing most places, but sometimes we'd see them in Nome! I mean we only had two paved roads, the rest were dirt. And no one is building anything. What were they doing there??

ReformingGeek said...

I thought those were the fireman asking for donations. Sheesh!

Nessa said...

Survetors have a silly job like weathermen - women - persons - peoples - dag nab it.

Gladys said...

Now see all I can think of is Richard whathisname saying "Survey Says"....

I have been on the other end of the survey stick. I had to hold the pole while the "surveyor" spotted me. Kind of a Spotted Stick scenario.

VE said...

jeff - Shudder to think...but it might explain it...

douglasdyer - Ha! That's why they're not in the road all day long...

teri - I'd vote for that! Hey, and I've never seen that movie...mostly because it violated my 10-words-in-a-movie-title rule...

elizabeth - What they always do...looking in the windows...

reforminggeek - A shame that firefighters have to beg...

nessa - weatherpeople will be the focus of a future post, trust me on that one because I agree!

gladys - Sounds like a silly survey game. Sheesh, they even make up their own games. Are they aliens?

gab said...

Surveyors can live without them and really dont need them. They are just a pain in the ass.
As for Avatars and commenting yeah I now get this thing that pops up asking me if I want to continue with or with out something or other(I never really read it) and I usually hit yes and the comment box comes up but no pictures. sheese!

VE said...

gab - We need to be able to make fun of them though. They're at least good for that...oh, and there goes my avatar again...DANG!

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Where does one get a Howdy Doody crayon box exactly? I always treated surveyors as just another lampost so they wouldn't creep me out.

Baino said...

They're always pootling around my street, next time I'll stop and ask exactly who they're perving at! (Better not be through my bathroom window! GAH that's a sight for sore eyes!)

VE said...

perpetual chocoholic - One has to purchase a Howdy Doody crayon set on ebay. One would probably be a crayon collector to do so. One of us has over 3000 different crayon boxes on display in a collection.

baino - Well be sure to ask them in a sneaky way...I'll bet they're highly suspicious of anyone catching on to their do-nothing jobs and perv ways...

Serena said...

I see those guys out impeding traffic all the time. It's a wonder they don't get mowed down. I wonder if a horse and/or carriage took out Colonial Surveyor guy?

Thinkinfyou said...

Maybe they all are just spies!

VE said...

serena - I'll bet that's what happened to the tombstone guy

thinkinfyou - How do I know you're not a spy? ;)

Jaime said...

i always wondered what those guys were looking at through their little cameras.

Janna said...

I've never really understood this either.
Maybe when they look into the view-thingy they see RoadRunner cartoons.
Or old episodes of Gilligan's Island.

Mike said...

I should try to be funny.

Ugh

That tripod thingy measures angles.

Sorry.

Dalton J. Fox said...

I'm betting those dudes have it harder than we realize. There's some pretty shitty drivers out there that could at any moment veer of their intended path and run right over one of those guys. There's also some pretty evil people out there that might do the same thing except on purpose.

Megan said...

I don't know, but aren't they 'the envy of all they survey?'

Curse you for putting that song in my head all day, btw...

Alex L said...

My old mans a surveyor... if I knew thats all it was, I might have taken it up as well.

Kurt said...

What's an avatar?

VE said...

jaime - Probably your house...

janna - That's where they play the Road Runner cartoons now? No wonder I don't see them on TV anymore...

mike - Who wants to measure an angle? Ankles maybe, but not angles...

dalton - Are you trying to say that you've been chasing them around with your car again? ;)

megan - Fortunately there is always an obnoxious song to have that happen with

alex - Ha...he told you to go play on the freeway and you told him to go work on the freeway!

kurt - It's a three sylable word... Actually it's the little photo that comes up from your profile that you see on people's comments.

yellojkt said...

Yeah, but Mason and Dixon were the rock stars of their day. Their rocks are still on the PA-MD border.

VE said...

yellojkt - Yes you are right, but you know how I feel about arbitrary lines on a map...

Mrs. R said...

I was going to say that the top right picture was the most accurate and then moog confirmed it in the first comment. Nice. That'll put some nice images in my head the next time I drive by one of those guys.

freetheunicorns said...

I think they're long distance voyeurs. Which is a nice way of saying they're pervs.

Dalton J. Fox said...

I'll just put it this way, if they get in my way, I don't slow down.

Maureen said...

Holy crap, that is Howdy Doody on your head?

Huh....

;)

Bunk Strutts said...

Surveyors do amazing things. They can see, locate and mark and make invisible objects, and they do it without most people noticing. The fact that they have to do it in the daytime makes it even more amazing, in that very few surveyors are ever spotted in the wild. They are awesome.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both surveyors, although they've denied it recently. Go figger.

dani c said...

Ya, I never quite understood what they did ?

Chris Wood said...

Now then, VE. Without surveyors we'd all drive off the edge of the world.

Probably.

Quickroute said...

I always figured those guys were pretending to work now this just enforces that - great picture of the day btw!

The Self-Deprechaun said...

It's kind of a cool job, you get a mini-telescope, a hazard orange vest and you stay agile while cars whiz pass you trying to clip you.

Ronda Laveen said...

Breaking News from Survey Coture.

There is a new Jason Woo line featuring Safety Fashion coming to the runway this fall. It is rumored that the line will be a fave at the White House. Michelle, the girls, and new puppy Bo have adopted the style for fall. The tripod and telescope have been crafted as purses for accessorizing. The cones have become hats.

The president has chosen a different designer presenting more of a Cuban theme.

Matt-Man said...

And here all along I thought surveyors walked around malls with clipboards in hand and asked complete strangers inane, irrlelevant questions about their lives and opinions. Thanks for the enlightenment. Cheers!!

leelee said...

4 out of 5 people liked this blog post.

HUGS!

Mrsupole said...

Yes, I have been having trouble leaving comments, or even visiting blogsites. My internet explorer keeps shutting down too.

And yes one does wonder what the heck those guys are doing in the middle of the road, maybe they are trying to figure out how deep the potholes are.

God bless.

VE said...

mrs r - Always here to help!

freetheunicorns - You've given away the password now!

dalton - Bonus points if you get them with the door at the last minute. Extra bonus points if you have the kids do it with the back door...

maureen - Howdy is as howdy does!

bunk - Come to think of it, I like to locate and mark my territory too!

dani - Nobody does...how did they fool us all this time?

chris - I've seen a lot of drivers; that might be a good thing...

quickroute - I see were thinking in synch again. Avoid all thoughts, scramble, rethink. Whew...you just avoided disaster!

self-deprechaun - Oh, sort of a zen thing!

ronda - Given what I've seen of the fashion industry...I believe every word of that!

matt-man - I'm here to enlighten. The batteries will cost you extra though...

leelee - Damn...I'll bet that 5th one was a gnome...

mrsupole - The root of your computer woes is obviously all the porn sites...

Anonymous said...

Surveying isn't all fun and games, folks. I mean, we have to smoke pot in the woods! With spiders and snakes! And that's not all, we also have to take naps in a pickup truck. I'd like to see you try to sleep an hour a day with only a window to rest your head against. Then there's the morning meet ups at the corner gas station where we gather to discuss how poorly the office people treat us. And man, those hour to an hour and a half lunches can just drag on and on. You are correct though in that we are all perverts. Don't forget to close your blinds, because we might just have to jump your fence to "look for a property corner".

This little op-ed piece was quite funny. It's exactly how us surveyors think non-surveyors think. But next time you see us in our orange or yellow vests, stop by and say hello. We don't bite. Hell, we might even take your picture if you ask politely.

VE said...

anon - Yes, don't worry...it was all in fun. People see surveyors and most of us have no idea what you do. I do think it quite unnerving to be hanging out on a busy road though. I'll have to take you up on the invite though.

Greg Goodwin said...

Wow, if you people actually understood what a surveyor goes through you wouldn't want any part of it. I guarantee that 3/4 of you all couldn't do it. Between packing 20-50lbs. on your back through the woods for miles, cutting brush all day with machetes/brush axes, knowing geometry and trig to calculate your "points" which could be anything from a property corner to a center line of a pipeline. We do all of this by starting with control, using GPS coordinates we gather and having them corrected by opus solutions, using bench marks set by NGS of which have corrected coordinates or if you are doing a boundry survey then deed research is a must with surrounding properties. The deed will tell you a bearing and a distance of which a prop corner may or may not be there. Once control is established then you have a place to start your survey. Yes there are easy days (not a lot) and yes we can get in the way but it all depends on what we are doing. The surveyors that were in the road could be setting limits for the road to be widened or an exit ramp to be put in ect.. Just some information really quick it's not a camera, it's a high precision instrument and is known as a total station. The total station measures distance, height, and gives you an angle based off of a 0 setting when you start your survey. Everything is measured in engineer scale. They guy holding the rod has to be steady for the reading to be right. How it works: The instrument sends a beam to the rod which has a prism on top which reflects back the the instrument giving it the distance based on how long it took the beam to return to the instrument, also an elevation based off of the rod height and the instrument height. Hopefully this can shed some light on what we do. If you have any questions or comments regarding this please contact me gregoodwin986@gmail.com.

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