Field Notes vs. Electronic Data
There has been an increasing trend in our office towards writing more and more data in the field books. The latest change is to write angle sets and their means. The point of data collectors is to save time and effort. Isn't electronic data a legal record? We need to spend more time getting the job done and less time documenting temperature, barometric pressure, backsight checks, third-point checks, and angle sets. Twenty four years ago my then company owners told us all they needed in the field books was setup info., date and crew. I thought that was pretty progressive.
I’d be lost without a field book.
Nowadays, we record setups, control, and monuments. Also a good sketch.
At my office we are currently using field book 1027.
A field note with a diagram of what you see and pictures are a necessary part of surveying today as always been the need.
There is no excuse for laziness in recording information for future reference and use.
The facts that you have found need to be recorded to maintain your testimony of what you found and allow others to be able to retrace your footsteps.
Nostalgia is a powerful elixir.
All my point descriptions are coded so that I'm drawing field sketch as I go. I draw curves, circles, have preset symbols for trees, hydrants, light poles, water valves etc, and specific linetypes, for overhead electic, buried electric, fences, sewer etc. I use the note feature in my Carlson DC to describe any unusual circumstance and I take photos, both of which reference the specific point of interest. Having a photo of the boundary monuments I locate, the depth above or below grade, the size and general condition is good enough for me. My point descriptions are long, but this is only a problem to CAD users who haven't taken the time to learn how to manipulate point text sizes (no one at my office falls in this category). Upon completion of a job, I create a pdf of my points and linework through C3D (you can zoom in and read every point description and number) and we have an offsite backup of my RW5, DXFs, TXTs, and CRDs etc.. Everything is time stamped, and you can see where I changed corrections for temperature, humidity, and elevation on nearly every setup.
I can certainly envision a situation in which an older surveyor's beautiful handwritten notes would have a positive influence on a judge or jury. I've also heard of a situation where an attorney painted a surveyor as an old buffoon for not keeping up with the times. I just care about keeping a good record of what I did. This can easily and efficiently be done electronically with quite stunning results if one takes the time to fully implement field to finish.