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Non LS doing accident scene surveys

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Frank Willis
(@frank-willis)
500+ posts Member

Our laws in Louisiana seem just a bit vague to me. Can a person not licensed as a professional land surveyor legally do detailed topographic survey work of an accident scene showing hydroplaning conditions?

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Topic starter Posted : September 15, 2010 5:41 pm
Daniel S. McCabe
(@daniel-s-mccabe)
1,000+ posts Member

I see the police, State and local, doing it all the time.
Legally? I don't know, but it does not seem to be bothering any judges.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 5:45 pm
BigE
 BigE
(@bige)
1,000+ posts Member

I have wondered about this as well.
Turn in some State Patrol officer to the BOR and see what happens.
Just like tinted windows. We can only have so much level of tint but their windows can be totally blacked out. How does that work?
Apparently what's good for the goose, ain't so good for the gander.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 5:57 pm

butch
(@butch)
200+ posts Member

> Our laws in Louisiana seem just a bit vague to me. Can a person not licensed as a professional land surveyor legally do detailed topographic survey work of an accident scene showing hydroplaning conditions?

you can train any monkey to run a prism pole & total station. I believe this falls under exempted services; the data gathered is by a govt entity, is not for public consumption, and is not billed.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 6:13 pm
Cee Gee
(@cee-gee)
200+ posts Member

In Maine and at least some other states the only surveying you legally need a license for is boundary work.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 6:20 pm
butch
(@butch)
200+ posts Member

seriously, how many 'detailed topos' are done routinely by unlicensed field crews? The cop survey crews really don't ruffle my feathers any...

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Posted : September 15, 2010 6:29 pm

6th PM
(@6th-pm)
500+ posts Member

> seriously, how many 'detailed topos' are done routinely by unlicensed field crews? The cop survey crews really don't ruffle my feathers any...

A PLS does NOT an exclusivity to mapping.

The establishment of boundaries and property limits, YES

But not mapping

MAPPING of crime scenes
topographic MAPPING, etc

Same thing goes for CONSTRUCTION layout
One does not have to be PLS

- See geomatics -
I mean Sheomatics

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Posted : September 15, 2010 6:56 pm
Frank Baker
(@frank-baker)
200+ posts Member

It's our "duty" to show that our services are imperative to the proper collection and presentation of accident scene data. I see examples all the time of non survey professionals collecting data for accident scenes. If we don't get "our foot in the door", they will continue to submit data for which they don't have a "feel". Somehow we have got to show how important it is to, not only collect the data, but to have a complete understanding of the significance of all of the data that is collected.

Heck, engineers are thinking that data is data....that's bullchit. As surveyors, we know how important data is....and damit, it's time that we make the rest of those....people understand.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:07 pm
A Harris
(@a-harris)
5,000+ posts Member

Years ago I did several accident surveys a year for the insurance companies.

I haven't been ask to do one since our state troopers bought their first TS.

Of all the accidents I surveyed, I never had to show where a property boundary was as they fell within the R/Ws.

To me I see it more of a conflict of interest that they collect their own data and decide the outcome than an intrusion on what I do as a surveyor.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:17 pm

Frank Baker
(@frank-baker)
200+ posts Member

I can agree with that. I think we miss an opportunity if we don't at least try to sell our services as "expert data gatherers/presenters. We knnooowwww data. We can dot all the i's and cross the...well you know what I mean. Damit, we've got to quit seeing gloom and start seeing opportunity. I would be willing to bet that those police departments with their "hot, new" measuring equipment, aren't totally sold on their ability to use it. The clock is ticking.....:-|

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:24 pm
cptdent
(@cptdent)
1,000+ posts Member

Most state boards do not regulate this kind of "data collection' or mapping. They govern over those surveys involving the transfer of land generally.
This kind of data collection is done every day, as someone else pointed out, in the construction field. Throw in all those archeology sites. Plus other forensic surveys.
And this shoe fits both feet. Surveyors do not like people doing this and cartographers see no reason to be a registered professional under the state boards.
I have been a cartographic drafter since 1968 and have yet to run into many surveyors who fully understand topographic mapping. When they start spewing about "Major" and "Minor" contours, I tune them out. 😉

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:28 pm
Mike Falk
(@mike-falk)
200+ posts Member

"...we don't at least try to sell our services as "expert data gatherers/presenters. We knnooowwww data...."

It is one thing to know "your" process, i.e., "surveying" or "gathering". It is quite another thing to know how your process integrates into your client's process, in this case forensic reconstruction or "presenting".

Knowing the process integration part is the beginning of adding value.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:42 pm

Frank Baker
(@frank-baker)
200+ posts Member

Dent - A pretty powerful statement there, that surveyors don't understand topographic mapping. I came up in the "cadre" that believed that "if you didn't walk the land, you couldn't draw an accurate representation of said land. I agree, with all of the innovations...aerial, Google 3D and others, it's easier for the office guys to put it together, but there is still nothing like being there.

You work for a large company with a lot of surveyors....you just tune them out? You need to hire some of these Beerleg guys!

That all said, nobody knows data like a seasoned surveyor!

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:43 pm
Steve Gardner
(@steve-gardner)
1,000+ posts Member

My understanding in California is that it's legal for the police/sheriff/highway patrol to collect their own data with survey equipment. If (heaven forbid) I was ever a defendant in a case involving that data, I would urge my attorney to challenge the conclusions based on the data collected by non-licensed personnel. Actually, I don't see how it is that different from an officer making a sketch of the scene as part of his/her report. It requires a little more technical skill but with a minimal amount of training, the results should be far more accurate.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:49 pm
Mike Falk
(@mike-falk)
200+ posts Member

Steve

This is a similar argument Surveyors said about GPS and machine control. I guess that argument didn't work so well.

I gues "we, as a profession, were shown that it isn't as hard as "we" thought.

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Posted : September 15, 2010 7:56 pm

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