LA County Surveyor’s Work Often Unnoticed, but Essential

When I was in boot camp and our drill instructor was teaching us how to make a bed the “right way”, he summed it up into one simple phrase: “You start with a heap, you end with a heap”. In other words, one wrinkle on the bottom sheet will turn out much worse at the top. This lesson can be applied to almost anything in life, but it’s especially true for LA County Surveyors who go out there and do the calculations on which everything after is based.

I recently met with CAPE members and surveyors Sam Quezada and Paul Anderson out in the field. Their task was to do a survey in preparation for a street that was scheduled to be re-paved and re-curbed. While there are already survey markers placed in the street and on the curbs, once the road work is done, all these markers will either be covered or removed. For this job, Sam and Paul are placing markers in other areas that can be used as reference points to re-establish the road’s center line and critical markers once the road repairs are complete. This work isn’t just done to be in compliance with State law; it’s done for many reasons that are of value to the public.

For example, if there is a property line dispute between neighbors, the County’s official survey is used by private surveyors to determine the correct property lines and resolve that dispute. Having accurate surveys also help homeowners in times of emergency. If a water line breaks in front of your house, the surveyor’s data is used to know where to dig and be able to fix the pipe so water service can be restored. Without an accurate survey, work crews could dig in the wrong area, or worse, cause damage to other underground utilities.

Although most people will never get a chance to see the work LA County surveyors do behind the scenes, their work is essential in making sure their road doesn’t end up “in a heap”.

CAPE member Sam Quezada surveys a residential street in preparation for repaving.


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