Fall Conference

Fall Conference 2021

Friday, September 17, 2021
The Roundhouse at Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow, Vermont


7:15 - 8:00 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast
8:00 - 9:50 a.m.
Geodesy 101
10:00 - 11:50 a.m.
Surveying Railroad Rights of Way: A Historical Perspective
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Lunch and VSLS Business Meeting
1:00 - 2:50 p.m.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Private and Public Roads
4:00 p.m.
Final Announcements


Geodesy 101 (2 hours)

Presenter: Nicholas Ford, Alfred State College
What the heck is a geoid? What about an ellipsoid? Projections, how do they work? As GNSS continues to be a staple in the modern surveyor's diet, it becomes helpful, if not necessary, for users to understand what is going on "under the hood" of the coordinates they are determining. This course is designed to explain these concepts and how they relate to GNSS measurements. This course is designed to be both a refresher for individuals who have been acquainted with these ideas, and as an introduction to geodesy for individuals who feel totally lost when discussions of geoids and ellipsoids are present.

Surveying Railroad Rights of Way: A Historical Perspective (2 hours)

Presenters: Willliam Fred Anderson and Jim Murphy
Two career "railroad guys" will discuss their work on the Central Vermont Railway and share historic railroad maps and VAL maps of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Canada — a birds-eye view from the 1860s through the 1920s. Attendees will have an opportunity to peruse a large display of historic railroad maps and to learn from professionals who have made the history of the railroad their passion.

OPUS/OPUS Share (2 hours)

Presenter: Dan Martin, NOAA
The National Geodetic Survey’s (NGS’s) Online Positioning User Service (OPUS) provides free, easy access to the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS), by allowing users to upload their GPS data to the NGS to be processed by NGS computers. To use OPUS successfully, it is critical that users understand both the requirements for data input as well as the processing output. This course will describe the steps involved in processing data with OPUS and will explain the output so that users can better interpret and have confidence in the results. We will also go through the steps to “Share” your OPUS solution and will discuss the benefits of doing so.

Private and Public Roads (1 hour)

Presenter: Paul Gillies, Esq., Tarrant Gillies Richardson Shems LLP
The law of property has been a rock since time immemorial. The fixed principles of easements have rarely been the subject of reform. That is, until recently, when legislation and caselaw have introduced new ideas about rights of access over roads. Suddenly ancient claims of access by private ways are limited, making access to landlocked land more difficult. Unmapped highways that are clearly observable on the ground did not suffer statutory discontinuance in 2015. These are big changes, deserving attention.


Nicholas Ford, L.S., Alfred State College

Nicholas Ford is a licensed surveyor in New York State, as well as a full-time instructor at Alfred State College, where he teaches a variety of courses including courses specific to GNSS and geodesy.

William "Fred" Anderson, L.S.

Fred Anderson is a retired land surveyor and right of way consultant working in the field of railroad rights of way. Fred worked in the engineering department for the Central Vermont Railway for several decades before retiring in 1994. He also owned a land survey company from the 1960s to 1991. Fred was a military department monitor, where he was involved in the maintenance of 27 armories; he was also involved in construction of Berlin and Westminster armories. He served in the National Guard Army Reserves, including a two-year deployment, before retiring in 1984. Fred's family includes his "wonderful wife Betty, four wonderful daughters and four great sons-in-law, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren."

Jim Murphy, Retired from Central Vermont Railway, Current Railway Historian

A lifelong resident of St. Albans, Vt., Jim Murphy worked for many years with the Central Vermont Railway, beginning his career there as a telegraph operator. He also worked as a professional photographer for Mary Fletcher Hospital and WCAX-TV. In the 1970s, Jim became interested in the history of railroads in the New England states and began collecting (almost hoarding!) anything related to railroads. He also did a lot of photo work for people writing history books in New England. Jim is connected with many museums here in Vermont and even Canada.

Dan Martin, Northeast Regional Geodetic Advisor at National Geodetic Survey

As the Northeast Regional Advisor, Dan instructs local surveyors, state and municipal agencies, and the geospatial community at large, on how to use and preserve the National Spatial Reference System, and provides liaison between the National Geodetic Survey and the States of ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, and NJ, as well as other federal agencies.He has authored many papers and articles on geodetic surveying, and he has given well over 100 presentations and workshops throughout the Northeast and United States at large.

Paul Gillies, Esq., Tarrant Gillies Richardson Shems, LLP

Paul has been a partner in the Law firm of Tarrant Gillies Richardson Shems, LLP, since 1993, after serving 12 years as Deputy Secretary of State for Vermont. His practice involves most of the usual civil areas of law, including municipal, zoning and land use, property, appellate, and trial work. He has a special fascination for old roads, boundary lines, rights-of-way and other easements, and that special land where history collides with law.

Registration opens on August 1, 2021.

The conditions look great for our first in-person event since 2019! We'll be very happy to see you all at Okemo Mountain Resort on Sept. 17.

Hotel Registration

Attendees receive 20% off the best available room rate at the time of registration, in the Jackson Gore Inn.

Call: 855-332-1601
Call from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Mention: Vermont Society of Land Surveyors 2021 or SOKVSL21.

Please note: There is no deposit required for the overnight room, but the cost will be charged to your credit card 2 days prior to your arrival. There are no cancellations or refunds within 2 days of your stay.

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