A Day in the Life of a Surveyor: Snow and Electronics Don’t Mix

Snow, Rain & Electronics = Problems!

Usually bad weather means that it is time for office work. But this is not always the case. One winter day while working on a White Mountain National Forest project, the owner of the company I worked for and I were completing our last day when bad weather came in. Snow and freezing rain started mid-morning and was heavy at times. We had to finish our traverse (control line) to an existing monument. Once the monument was located we would be able to determine the boundary line. If we didn’t finish, we would have to carry all the gear out and back in the next day.

We decided that we had time to finish and continued along despite the weather. Later in the day it was just heavy snow and we finally were approaching the monument………the end was near! We were both very cold, wet and anxious to leave the woods. Now the instrument started to not work. It would keep shutting off and the display screen would go haywire. We thought the batteries were just really cold. We tried to warm the batteries, but that didn’t work. Other attempts to solve the problem failed. It was starting to get dark and we knew that it was time to leave. So we started our trek and carried all the gear out.

Once back at our hotel room, we brought in all the gear to dry off. We noticed the instrument display had condensation on the inside (not a good sign). Being hours from the office didn’t give us many options so we decided to try and dry out the instrument. Our hotel room had an oven, so we opened the door and set the instrument on it. Them we turned the oven on low. We left it there for several hours until it was time to sleep. We turned off the oven, closed the door and placed the instrument on the table. The next morning, we woke up expecting to pack up and head home. We made one last attempt at turning on the instrument, and it WORKED! Back out to the woods we went!

2 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Surveyor: Snow and Electronics Don’t Mix”

  1. Ray, being a land surveyor is alot like being a mailman sometimes…

    “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”.

    Ah, but the memories. You’ll always remember the time you and the crew baked theodolite batteries in an oven!

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