The County Engineers Association of California (CEAC) named Humboldt County’s Ron Garton the County Surveyor of the Year at its annual meeting this month. Garton, who has served as the Humboldt County Surveyor since 2015, has been active on the CEAC policy committee for the last 4 years and is currently the vice chair, and he has coordinated with and worked alongside the licensing board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. One of Garton’s recent accomplishments has been to transform the local surveyor index from an antiquated system to an online database.
The award is presented to a CEAC member who has made an outstanding contribution to the county surveying profession and to CEAC activity. Garton is the second surveyor from Humboldt County who has received the award since the award was created in 2009. Former Surveyor Dave Ryan also won the award in 2012.
“I was surprised and honored to receive the 2019 Surveyor of the Year Award. I was not aware of the nomination and was completely shocked and quite humbled,” Garton said. “Much of the credit goes to the incredible work by our talented staff here at Public Works. It is humbling to receive this recognition, and I am committed to advancing this important work on behalf of those who have entrusted me to lead this fine organization.”
Garton’s project to update the surveyor database was done without a budget. The new online system (available at hummaps.com) allows the public to search for maps utilizing different queries and see them instantly on their computer or hand-held device.
Another significant achievement resulting from Garton’s ingenuity was the development and implementation of procedures to perform map checking electronically. This effort allows for maps to be returned to surveyors without the need to come to the office in order to pick up a check print. This effort was done without the need to acquire new software or hardware, and again with no budget.
Garton was instrumental in developing Humboldt County’s first mapping standards for surveys. This was no easy feat to implement, given the tight-knit local surveying community that is often averse to change. But after some initial grumblings, they began to see the merit and benefits of the having standards. Garton is an avid supporter and promoter of survey monument preservation.
He instituted a Humboldt County monument preservation policy that requires Engineering, Road Maintenance, and Encroachment Permit staff to step up and help protect survey monuments.
What does a Surveyor do anyway?
Land surveyors use specialized equipment to measure and mark property boundaries, calculating the dimensions, elevations, shapes, and contours of sites for public, government, and private development. Land surveyors can work in a number of fields ranging from construction and engineering to mapmaking and government.
Many projects depend on a land surveyor’s measurements, so they must conduct surveys and perform mathematical calculations with a high level of accuracy. A land surveyor should also be an effective researcher, since this role can involve examining historical property records and maps to determine the legal boundaries of a specific piece of land.
CEAC was formed in 1914 and is comprised of county engineers, public works directors, county road commissioners, and professional personnel throughout California’s 58 counties. Its purpose is “To advance county engineering and management by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information aimed at improving service to the public.”
Furthermore, the objective of CEAC is “To accomplish the advancement of engineering methods and ethical practice through networking efforts of all 58 counties in the state.” Through discussion, interchange, and dissemination of engineering and administrative data/ideas, the organization shall strive to affect “maximum efficiency and modernization in engineering and administrative units of local government.”
Throughout CEAC’s history, it has maintained a close relationship with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to lend support in policy development and advocacy efforts, thus benefiting counties and their ability to serve their citizens.'
Learn more about the CEAC Surveyor of the Year Program