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Surveying is more than planting flags and marking boundaries. Alta NSPS surveying is much more than this. Surveyors divide and catalog property on a grid, by first marking the baseline and principle meridian, then by dividing all property into 6 mile squares names after their township and range, each of which is subdivided into 36 square mile sections, numbered 1-36 respectively, and these are further divided into quarter-sections. These quarter-sections are often divided once more into what are called quarter-quarter sections, covering 40 acres each.

Surveying highlights the benefits of planning and simplification generally, and in particular, gives cause to discuss expert intuition and the planning fallacy. In thinking fast and slow, the author provides evidence suggesting that algorithms are superior to expert intuition in a majority of cases and that we tend to plan future endeavors and forecast outcomes to approximate the best case. Surveying disbands with expert intuition by algorithmically dividing property without reference to an expert but to a system. Surveying disbands with planning fallacy by the numbering system used to divide the 1 mile sections “as the oxen plows”; such is not the best case but was the most efficient means of demarcating the property given that they were originally paid $2.50 per mile.

Post Author: Dionysus Casey

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February 2021