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Field Notes vs. Electronic Data  

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Field Dog
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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.

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Totalsurv
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Posted by: @field-dog

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.

I agree. This is all recorded in the raw data file. I don't see the point of writing all this down when it is all recorded in the raw data file. I would however write down setup names and instrument/target heights and any relevant notes/sketches not contained in raw file.

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David3038
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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.

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A Harris
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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.

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Totalsurv
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Posted by: @a-harris

There is no excuse for laziness in recording information for future reference and use.

I think the point is that what he is being asked to write down is already recorded in the data collector file.

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A Harris
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Why are so many people openly defying and/or questioning what their employer asked them to do?
Most people here go beyond what any employee I've ever had work for me would do, yet I am a solo operator because none of them would comply with minimal requirements and usually outright said that they would not go back and make extra locations necessary to complete surveys and to sideshot in a newly set monument for it to appear in the raw data and to draw decent sketches of what they were surveying.
I bring this up because I have had to work for some really backassward bosses in my life that were usually asking for the rare and extremely outrageous things to comply with just to make a 4 hour day last 10 hours.
They did not pay you for starting on the job early, for lunch or for staying late to wash their truck.
Now that is some legal grounds for complaints.
Most people that want extra note keeping to be done is asking for you to improve on your note keeping abilities and to practice your writing skills.

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Totalsurv
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Posted by: @a-harris

Why are so many people openly defying and/or questioning what their employer asked them to do?

I am an employer

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A Harris
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@totalsurv

I don't write angle sets into my notes either and I am my own boss.

My sketch of the property is made on the right and left sides of the pages in the notebook and will show a diagram of what I am locating and point numbers by the hubs and monuments.

I had a temporary instrument hand from a pipeline crew that would record all the angles and distances he observed written line after line without any description or sketches or point numbers to reference them too and said that he was complying to state law and that my digital data would land me in trouble with the BOR one day. He was taught that by his pipeline employer and I simply told him that his boss was not understanding the rule of law and if it made him more confident of his work and helped him get thru the day, then I am not going to ask you to do anything differently as long as he kept collecting raw data for me. So, I have pages and pages of angles and distances he observed that are half of proper note keeping that does not reflect what is a side shot or what is a traverse shot, they all just run on and on with no descriptor in place to show connection or transference.

Only Field Dog's boss knows why he is making that requirement. However obscure the reason, it is what is being asked and what he has to do. Perhaps he simply wants his instrument men to have a better understanding of the meaning of the repetitive angles being turned.

When your boss asks, it is expected to be complied with.

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Murphy
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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.

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Field Dog
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@murphy

I was just trying to find something in my state statutes (2018 CHAPTER 472 - LAND SURVEYING AND MAPPING) concerning storage of field data. I remember in 1993 I read field notes must be kept bound. That used to mean field book to me until I worked for a company that drew mortgage surveys on graph paper. These were stored in 3-ring binders. Just found it.

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2018/0472.027

472.027 Standards of practice.

(e) Retention of work products in hard copy or electronic or digital formats.
 
What are the standards of practice concerning this in your state?
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Murphy
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There is a vague rule saying we need to keep records of our surveys. I've been looking for it this morning but I can't seem to find it. I may have to contact the board. I doubt that they have the authority to force us to keep records for more than seven years. NC has recently updated laws dealing with the statute of limitations for filing negligence claims against surveyors. I believe an action must be made prior to the end of three years from the date of completion of the survey.

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Jim Frame
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A lot of my field notes look like this these days:

t

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Skeeter1996
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If you're still using that 30 second transit and a 100 foot steel tape hang onto that hand written field book. My data collector takes pictures and you can make notes about points. My book case has about 20 field books in it that haven't been opened in twenty years.

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