A number of localities around the country have just elected new county surveyors...
At one time the position of county surveyor had significant importance, although more and more I see discussion of changing roles and duties of county surveyors, or even abolishing the position altogether, as they did here in Pennsylvania decades ago.
One thing that comes to mind with this is that over time, complacency tends to grow, and sometimes things are taken for granted, even by those who fill those positions. My understanding of the Pennsylvania situation was that it was in many instances considered not much more than an un- (or under-) funded honorary position with no day-to-day responsibility.
Now, decades later, many in the Surveying and GIS community are beginning to lament the lack of stewardship of old records- in some instances they have been well-kept, even microfilmed or scanned, but in many other instances, they have been lost, stolen, destroyed- and along with them vital information about such things as municipal boundaries. In many instances, the old surveyors' records contained a wealth of other information of potential use to researchers, on people, places, geology and other observations made. Quite a few of the old field books, plats, maps and atlases would today be considered works of art.
In Pennsylvania, the general consensus in the GIS community is that political boundaries follow the hierarchy of the next-larger subdivision, often based on courts and appropriate higher authorities that may exist to resolve them- State boundary issues at the federal level, county boundary issues at the state level, but that leaves municipal boundaries either at the state or county level. I'm not certain the state is prepared to deal with it, and most counties aren't either.
Do we bring back the county surveyor of yore? I'm not sure. But surely we DO need a steward.
cartography, geo, Geography, Geospatial, gis, history, map, mapping, maps, pennsylvania, stewardship, surveying