Geo Week News

February 5, 2008

Only in New York

Sharp-eyed readers of The New York Times may have noticed an item in the paper’s Metropolitan Diary section on Monday, January 28, submitted by Lemuel Morrison. Morrison, principal of Mercator Land Surveying, LLC, described executing a survey job in New York City.

Dear Diary:

One day not too long ago, at dusk, I was out with my crew setting up for a survey on Bond Street in NoHo. We were using a Leica 3D high-definition laser scanner, a very high-tech piece of equipment, to conduct a survey of the street and one particular building.

When the scanner runs at night, we could be mistakenly thought of as the producers of an impromptu light show, because the continuous beams of light shooting from the laser are distinctly visible and their erratic pattern makes a pretty interesting sight. We commonly attract an audience.

I had just positioned the scanner so that it was set to take the height of the building when I realized that we did not have an inclinometer (a hand-held instrument that measures vertical slope).

The only folks who tend to carry these gadgets are surveyors and your hard-core mountaineer – the kind of individual who climbs Denali after taking a measurement.

I turned to my assistant and told him to make a note to order another inclinometer.

A passing pedestrian overhearing this instruction helpfully asked, “Do you need an inclinometer?” and volunteered one from his knapsack.

Lemuel Morrison

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