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eNewsletter: March 2012

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President’s Message: Closures and Adjustments – Mark’s Tech Corner: Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset – Your Data – Eric Tanikawa: March Madness

President’s Message:

Closures and Adjustments

Just about every day, we get asked, “Does TPC do closures?” And the short answer is, “Yes.”

Every traverse has a closure because it starts somewhere and stops somewhere. If it closes back on itself, it’s a Closed Loop and generates an area. Traverses know if they close back on themselves, so they can set this closure type automatically. If a traverse doesn’t close back on itself, it’s a Closed Point-to-Point and you supply the correct closing point. Pretty simple – and it should be.

  • Entering a legal description into a traverse produces a closure so you can check the description ‘on its face’.
  • Taping around a foundation produces a closure so you can check your measurements.
  • Entering the boundary of a parcel from a record of survey produces a closure so you can check the calls.
  • Entering a road center-line produces a closure so you can check the alignment math.
  • With the introduction of geodetics, entering GLO notes for a section or aliquot part lets you check geodetic closure.
  • And the list goes on.

The longer answer is, “Yes – you’ll do closures all the time without hardly thinking about it and walk away from any survey job more confident in your work and more aware of the work of others.” And that’s a good thing!

Oh! And yes, EVERY Edition of TPC does Compass, Crandall, Transit and Angular Adjustments! The Premium and Professional Editions also do Least Squares Adjustments.

John Balcom, MS, LS

Mark’s Tech Corner:

Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset – Your Data

When you stop to think about your business as a surveyor and about the most valuable asset you have (other than you and your people), I think you will agree that it is your data. Without your data, you can’t respond if someone challenges one of your surveys. Without your data, you have to redo everything if you get called back to a location where you have previously worked. Without your data, you can’t answer your clients’ questions. Without your data, you don’t have a business.

Traverse PC knows how valuable your data is and we do everything we can to prevent its loss in the case of a computer malfunction. In the normal course of working with a file in TPC, there are usually three different versions of your file available to you at any time!

  1. The TRV file: The TRV file is the main file you create, work in, save, close and open. As long as everything goes right and there are no problems, it is the only file you need. It is completely up-to-date whenever you save your file in TPC.
  2. The TRA file: The TRA file is an “autosave” file that TPC creates automatically behind the scenes at various times. The default settings for the autosave file are every ten minutes and whenever the program does and “I/O” operation. (An I/O operation is when the program has to access an outside device like a printer.) Normally, this file is automatically deleted when you close your file and when you do a normal save. If something goes wrong and TPC has to close unexpectedly, the autosave file is left behind. When you try to open your file again, TPC lets you know that an autosave file exists and gives you the option of recovering it.
  3. The TRB file: The TRB file is a backup copy of the TRV file that is created the first time you save your file during a session. TPC takes the original TRV file and copies it out as the TRB file.

With this understanding of the files TPC creates, you should be able to start to see what they can do for you.

In the event that TPC has to close unexpectedly and you are given the opportunity to recover the autosave file, choose Yes. (With the ten minute setting, on average, the file will be within five minutes of being current.) Once the autosave file has opened, look it over. Make sure your points, traverses and drawings are intact and close to where you were when the error occurred.

If things don’t look right in the autosave file, make sure you don’t save the file because that will overwrite both the TRV file and the TRB file with the autosave file. (You can do a File | Save Survey As to a different file name if you want to preserve the autosave file.) Just close out of it without saving it and open the normal TRV file. You will be back to where you were in the file the last time you did a normal save.

If worse comes to worse and somehow both the autosave file and the TRV file are corrupt, you can choose File | Open Survey and change the file type at the bottom of the window to TPC Backup Files (*.trb) and TPC will display the backup files that are available to you. Open the backup file and you will be back to the file in the condition it was in when you first opened the file during that session.

The Moral of the Story:
There are several things you should take away from this discussion.

The first is something I learned many years ago: Things go wrong so save early and save often. This is your best defense against losing some of your work. (Traverse PC has a Save Reminder set to every 60 minutes by default. You can change this setting to have it remind you to save more often if you wish.)

Second: Never save a file that is bad! When you save a bad file, you are simply erasing any chance of recovering your work!

Third: Traverse PC (and any other program on your computer) can only do so much to help you. It is part of your job to be aware of what is available to you and to be smart about what you do.

Fourth: We can’t protect you from catastrophic losses like fire, flood or hard drive crash. You need another backup method and I would suggest that you need two other backup methods:

  1. Use an onsite backup program to backup all of your data files to an external hard drive at least once a day. I recently was helping someone recover some data and I thought all was lost but then I found that they had Memeo (www.memeo.com) that was automatically backing up their data nearly live! We recovered this backup file and the user lost nearly nothing. I was impressed.
  2. Use an off-site backup to preserve your data in the event of fire or flood. Once again, at least daily would be best. You can do this manually using CD’s or DVD’s or a portable external hard drive or you can use one of the cloud-based backup services like Memeo or Carbonite (www.carbonite.com). You may lose a day’s worth of work if your office burns down but you won’t lose everything.

Please! Think about how you can prevent the loss of your most valuable asset if things go wrong! The time to think about problems is before they occur.

Eric Tanikawa:

March Madness

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

That’s right! Its March Madness time! Not hurricane force winds, flooding, snowing, raining, NFL Peyton Manning, NBA trade deadlines, Tiger woods hurt leg, crazy NASCAR crashes! I’m talking about the BIG DANCE! The top 72 College Men’s Basketball teams in the nation! The sleeper teams, the Cinderella teams, the bubble teams, and 1 lonely Pac-12 team! (Editor’s Note: Hey Eric! What about Women’s basketball?)

Okay, I have to admit it, the Big East, Big 10, ACC, SEC leagues have some pretty good teams. But, which team will make the final 4? How many of you guys filled-out your brackets? Have you “surveyed” all the teams? Maybe chose a team with a “3-pt side-shot” ability? Have you studied the “profile” of all the teams, and done a “cross-section” of the games they played? Have you picked a team that does a “coordinate-triangle offense?” Did you pick a good team whose coach knows all the “angles” of the games? How about a team that can “control” the clock? And maybe, a team that knows how to “data-collect” statistics of the other teams, and “plat-out” a good play!

Well, my crystal ball is going with Kentucky Wildcats to win it all! Good coach, talented players, and a traditional winning record!