Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Should Arizona geology students learn section-township-range?

The Geology Instructional Council for the Maricopa Community Colleges is taking a poll to assess the need for teaching students the Land Office Grid system of location using township/range/section. The question arose during their examination of the core competencies for the foundation courses in geology. They ask, “with the prevalence of GPS systems so widespread, does industry want or need colleges to continue to train students in the land grid system?”

It seems to me this is the same question raised when calculators became widespread. Should students still have to know how to do math?

The answer seems obvious. Would any of us hire someone in a geology or geotech position who could not read a map to find a STR location? Much of our ‘legacy’ data is in the form of the land grid. Those locations still need to be interpreted the old fashion way. And, without the basic skills, you can never tell when the instruments you’re using, such as GPS devices are giving you bad data.

Dr. Gary Calderone at MCC is inviting comments at

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    I do ownership searches using public records. Public records are not filed by GPS coordinates but by legal description as developed subdivisions and by metes & bounds using STR.