Right-of-Way Mapping – “The Older I Get, the Less I Know…”

“The older I get, the less I know and by that I mean the less I am sure of.”
“The older I get, the less I know and the more I want to know.”

What does does this mean with respect to right-of-way (ROW) Mapping? It means that as we grow in experience and education, we often realize things are not quite as simple as we thought when we started our profession. ROW research, especially in Alaska, is complex. That is the point of the title. The older we get, the more surveys you perform, the more cases you review and the more layers of the onion get peeled back to reveal new issues and information. Sometimes this information confirms your existing beliefs. Sometime it conflicts with what you had previously known. There is no point in your career at which you will know everything! You will just know more of what you know and what you don’t know.

This case study applies some of the ROW authorities to determine the location, width and nature of interest in certain highway ROW and show that no matter how far down you dig, there is always more to be uncovered. Read the full case study here

This topic was developed by Karen F. Tilton, PLS, SR/WA, CFedS and John F. Bennett, PLS, SR/WA, both Senior Land Surveyors in R&M’s Fairbanks office, as a part of a short course for the 49th annual Alaska Surveying & Mapping Conference on February 19, 2015. Karen discussed research issues relating to the Palmer-Richardson Highway and John focused on the historic ROW for the Nome-Council Road.

PowerPoint Slides
ROW Mapping Case Studies 1 – Tilton
ROW Mapping Case Studies 2 – Bennett

Karen is R&M’s Group Manager of ROW Services. She is an expert on land status and ROW issues with an emphasis on land titles, property rights and the history of public ROW in Alaska. Karen is a graduate of the University of Alaska, and is a licensed Professional Land Surveyor, a Certified Federal Surveyor and a Senior Member of the International Right of Way Association. Her specialty is research and documentation of the planning, construction and physical location of historic routes – an essential skill for mapping the ROWs associated with such routes. Karen is responsible for preparation of mapping products and supporting documentation for a wide range of public transportation and infrastructure projects.

John is a Senior Land Surveyor in R&M’s Right-of-Way Services Group, working out of our Fairbanks office. Prior to joining R&M, he served as the Chief of ROW for the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Northern Region, supervising titles, plans, utilities, appraisals, negotiations, relocations, property management, pre-audit and surveying activities for the aviation, highway and public facility programs. John is a recognized leader in the research and analysis of historic ROW and has testified as an expert witness in title defense cases. He is also a certified instructor with the International Right of Way Association and has co-presented seminars relating to access law and highway ROW in Alaska.