Book Marks: Lasting Impressions: A Glimpse Into the Legacy of Surveying by Rhonda L. Rushing

A 108Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

Title: Lasting Impressions: A Glimpse Into the Legacy of Surveying
Author: Rhonda L. Rushing
Editor: Angus W. Stocking, LS
Specs: Hardback, $37.95
Publisher: Berntsen International, Inc.

Lasting Impressions is an uncommon book, uncommonly illustrated with tales uncommonly told. It is the project and the dream of Rhonda Rushing, president of Berntsen International, the well-known manufacturer of surveying reference marks. The marks are generally called monuments in the technical literature and are commonly and collectively referred to by surveyors as monumentation. This book, which is full of documentation on reference marks, is a sort of reference mark itself. It is a good companion book to C. Albert White’s authoritative book Initial Points.

Lasting Impressions is a history of surveying from the perspective of the artifacts set or left behind by surveyors. Along with a photograph and a description of every marker, many have latitude and longitude, which will please the folks interested in geocaching. As a surveyor, I wish the publisher had included maps from the public domain such as portions of USGS topo sheets, NOS nautical charts, or even some old NGS geodetic control diagrams. When one sees a control diagram on a map with its radiating arms connecting markers on high points in a given region, it is easier to grasp the function of the control point in surveying and mapping.

Of course the United States was not settled East to West. When the pioneers reached the West Coast they found well-established cities, farms and ranches. And what city was first to be built on a street pattern with rectangles and ninety degree corners? The history of land settlement in America is full of grids; even Connecticut towns tried it, and later gave it up. What major city was first? Who knows, after all, the place wasn’t "major" when it was founded.

Although Lasting Impressions isn’t intended to be a history of surveying, it contains the essence of boundary surveying for me. It is an anthology of landmarks, the people who set them, and the others who later recovered them. The book contains an article on caving from The American Surveyor (Nov. 2006), articles from state society newsletters, bits and pieces from government publications, and notes and letters from hikers and survey buffs, all of it mixed in with some new writing from all over the country. The last pieces are contributions from soldiers in Iraq, one of which was originally published in The American Surveyor (Nov. 2005). Excellent choices all and in just the right spots.

The fine collection of photographs makes this an art book, or coffee table books. It is fabulously illustrated and no part of the profession was omitted. Page after page of exquisite photographs of carved and chiseled rock, cast-iron monuments and plenty of brass disks each with its own history or significance are shown as part of the landscape, part of what defines a given place. And it is no great stretch of the imagination to also see the people that work with these markers as part of the same landscape, too. Lasting Impressions is a book for surveyors and non-surveyors alike. When I first got my copy, I took it into the office to see what other surveyors would think. They loved it. I knew from the start that the book would be a hit.

Pat is the City Surveyor for New Britain, Connecticut.

A 108Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

About the Author

Patrick Toscano, LS

Pat Toscano is the City Surveyor for the City of New Britain, Connecticut. He has taught surveying classes since 1988, and is an adjunct faculty member at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, and at Capital Community College in Hartford. Contact Author Article List Below