Most people are familiar with the steel pins or “monuments” land surveyors put in the ground to mark corners of property lines. But, in the world of computerized mapping, these monuments can hold an even more important purpose — specific longitude and latitude coordinates on the earth’s surface.
But, who decides which pins to use as a basis for GIS maps? Who maintains a register of where to find these monuments? And, who guarantees that they remain at their precise locations? The answers to these and other questions can be found in a collaborate effort undertaken by: NKAPC; the Fiscal Courts of Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties; the Northern Kentucky Water District; Sanitation District No. 1; and local members of the Kentucky Association of Professional Surveyors. The Fiscal Courts, the two utilities, and NKAPC pursued a contract in 2002 and 2003 to create a “geodetic control network” across the three counties. This highly accurate network consists of 175 pairs of survey monuments (a total of 349) located on an approximate two-mile grid. Placing these 349 monuments across the landscape was not, however, an end to the process. Periodic reconnaissance and maintenance of the monuments is a must since GIS professionals and surveyors depend on the accuracy the network provides. Members of the local chapter of the Kentucky Association of Professional Surveyors stepped up last year and volunteered to take on this reconnaissance and maintenance. The group took on these responsibilities during winter months when their workloads are typically light.
Trisha Brush, Deputy Director for GIS Administration said, “Surveyors use this information daily and don’t mind making sure the monuments are still in tact,” while explaining that NKAPC has saved nearly $6,000 in manpower since local surveyors took on these responsibilities. “That money can now go towards other projects that will help the community.” Brush says the surveyors’ work is invaluable. NKAPC plans to pursue this effort with the surveyors’ group at least every two years if not annually. “This is great because there is a place for both surveyors and GIS professionals to work together for the good for of Northern Kentucky,” said Brush. “When you collaborate, you can get so much more accomplished.”