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posted by martyb on Sunday May 02, @04:11AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the adverse-possession-is-a-thing dept.

Drone operators challenge surveyors' turf in mapping dispute:

When Michael Jones started a side hustle shooting drone photos and videos for realtors, his clients wanted more: Images with property lines on them, to better understand where their fences should be.

It seemed like a good use of emerging technology that met an obvious consumer demand, and Jones was careful to add a disclaimer: His maps weren't meant to replace the proper surveys that are often needed for such things as mortgages, title insurance and land use applications.

But after two years of steady business, Jones was slapped by the state of North Carolina in 2018 with an order that grounded his drone. The Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors said he faced criminal prosecution for surveying without a license.

[...] "I myself don't feel like I'm offering any surveying, and more or less, I'm telling people this is not accurate mapping, this is only for visual, and all of my clients understood that."

[...] The challenge goes both ways: Surveyors would need Federal Aviation Administration approval to professionally fly drones, and drone operators would need to pass state licensing exams to produce legal surveys. Neither side wants to take on the training and expenses.

[...] Jones, 44, of Goldsboro, said he couldn't afford a lawyer, so he abandoned drone mapping, resulting in over $10,000 in lost business. This January, a libertarian law firm offered to represent him.

Sam Gedge, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, plans to argue that Jones has the right to freedom of speech by taking photos and videos and producing artwork for clients. He's seen similar disputes in Mississippi, Oregon and California.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @04:42AM (37 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @04:42AM (#1145304) Journal
    This is just the tip of the iceberg in the US. Licensing of professions creates a lot of big problems such as barrier to entry for new businesses as in this case, obstacles to keeping in the same career as one moves between states, or obstacles to adopting new technology also as in this case.
    • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 02, @04:55AM (8 children)

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @04:55AM (#1145307) Journal

      Licensing is a double edged sword -- yes it makes it hard to hop states or switch jobs -- but it also establishes minimum standards which can be an important consideration in professions where screwing up can be very consequential.

      As for the case here -- I hope drone dude wins. It sounds like he was meticulous in describing what the photos with lines drawn on them were good for (pretty pictures to generally show the property) and what they weren't good for (e.g., suing over a fence line).

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by legont on Sunday May 02, @12:16PM (7 children)

        by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @12:16PM (#1145354)

        The main point of licensing is not standards but creation of high barriers to enter the business. Without them market forces would destroy the business during regular cycles. Quality of service is just an excuse. Yes, it is unfair for new participants, but it makes the system stable and therefore long term investment possible. True free market is too unefficient.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @12:37PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @12:37PM (#1145358) Journal

          True free market is too unefficient.

          It's too inefficient for the established businesses in the de facto cartel, but not for the customers. Let us remember that the world isn't just a few protected business owners.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by aristarchus on Sunday May 02, @11:18PM (1 child)

            by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday May 02, @11:18PM (#1145512) Journal

            Yeah, it's just like the khallow's Backhoe Rental Emporium, where I went to rent a backhoe. Turns out our dear and gluttinous khallow has only a theoretical understanding of heavy equipment, and Vienna Circle economics. Bucket fell right off, pins near worn through. Hydraulic system leaked like a sieve and lacked sufficient power. Engine would stall for no reason, seems basic maintenance had been forgone. One star, would not rent again. The man has no certification, or license, or understanding of what the heck he is doing. Very efficient at taking my money, however, and refusing to refund any of it!

            --
            A pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday May 03, @01:13AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @01:13AM (#1145539) Journal

              Very efficient at taking my money, however, and refusing to refund any of it!

              Sounds like you didn't lose enough money - an issue we can fix real fast. Why don't you try another backhoe. This one will work this time, I swear. Free learning opportunity with each backhoe! Free!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:27PM (#1145391)

          "True free market is too unefficient."

          unpossible.

        • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Sunday May 02, @04:46PM

          by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Sunday May 02, @04:46PM (#1145417)

          Market forces would set prices such that people who stayed in the business would get a more or less average return on capital.

          A more or less average return on capital is enough to keep people in the stock market and real estate. It should be enough to keep people in surveying.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MostCynical on Sunday May 02, @07:52PM

          by MostCynical (2589) on Sunday May 02, @07:52PM (#1145464)

          I'm a doctor - says so on the sign I put on my door.

          medical college and 12 years of training was too expensive. I read some books and put up the sign.

          Caveat emptor, but I'm a doctor - it says so on my sign

          --
          Books are a poor substitute for female companionship, but they are easier to find. P Rothfuss “The Wise Man's Fear"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, @11:39PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, @11:39PM (#1147661)

          "The main point of licensing is not standards but creation of high barriers to enter the business."

          I agree that this is the main point. To the extent that this is the point this is a reason to abolish licensing.

          "Quality of service is just an excuse."

          So you agree that people are tricked into thinking that quality of service is the reason.

          "it makes the system stable and therefore long term investment possible"

          Long term investment is just as possible without licensing. Job stability is not a reason for licensing, it's a reason to abolish it. Like you said, quality of service is just an excuse. People will invest in a profitable business to improve it and make it better for consumers without licensing.

          The purpose of licensing should only ever be to ensure a degree of service quality especially with respect to safety. I think much of the licensing needs to be done away with.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @06:16AM (22 children)

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @06:16AM (#1145325)

      When you're presenting people with things like property line information, there should be a barrier to entry. A high barrier. Where that barrier is placed, well that's something an expert on the subject matter should know, after studying the problem and being educated about the subject. He should spend thousands of hours getting familiar with sources of trustworthy data, understand where manual investigation needs to take place, and then determine where that barrier should be. Then he would provide that very important reliable information to the people who pass the laws and regulations on the subject.

      That sounds like a big task though - to figure out how high that barrier to entry should be, doing all that work, making sure you have correct information. Let's me do this instead: when a law maker wants information on how to pass regulation, I'm gonna write a Perl script. It'll curl some google results and wiki, and copy and paste text from the top results into a word document. Then regulation should be passed on the information in that document. I'll include a disclaimer at the bottom of the document, saying the information in the document may not be reliable.

      >obstacles to keeping in the same career as one moves between states
      as there should be. a guy qualified to review buildings for code compliance in cold Alaska does not have the same skill set to check out buildings in a warm earth quake zone.

      >obstacles to adopting new technology also as in this case
      licensed professionals are using plenty of new technology. that technology is not a Perl script some rando used to overlay made up best guess property lines on top of a drone photo.

      • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 02, @07:21AM (14 children)

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @07:21AM (#1145334) Journal

        When you're presenting people with things like property line information, there should be a barrier to entry. A high barrier.

        In the past, a person might own a Cesna and a camera and offer to take pictures of properties. I know I've been in businesses that had a blown up picture of the site or plant with boundary lines drawn on the wall as office art. Getting it accurate to extreme detail was not important -- these are just a sort of brag. I don't know, were those people taking aerial photography also surveyors, or were they just people looking to pick up some gas money and didn't really care where they were flying? Maybe they even made a business out of it.

        Or how about flying over a Walmart with a thermal imager (this was one the dude's actual jobs)? All store manager wants to know is where the heat is escaping and they certainly know which building is theirs and where it is. Why should that realistically require a surveyor's license?

        Another of his jobs was taking weekly pictures of a large construction project, one so big he had to take many photos and then stitch them together. The owners of the project have already had the place surveyed, they just want a time lapse. Why the requirement to be a licensed surveyor to take aerial photos of construction progress?

        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @07:39AM (13 children)

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @07:39AM (#1145336)

          In the past, camel was the brand recommended by 1/5 doctors.

          Tell me, did your friend take those photos, print them out, then draw property lines pulled out of his ass on them with a marker, and sell them to realtors?

          >were they just people looking to pick up some gas money and didn't really care where they were flying? Maybe they even made a business out of it.

          so, you don't know anything here, do you. from summary: "Images with property lines ... shooting drone photos ... for realtors ... after two years of steady business"

          this was a registered regular business selling inaccurate property line data to realtors. it's now thankfully been shut down. what this was not was a guy flying over someone's house taking a photo for gas money.

          this asshole tried to pull an uber and got his ass handed to him. nice strawman though.

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 02, @08:28AM (10 children)

            by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @08:28AM (#1145339) Journal

            What difference does it make if the lines are not surveyor accurate unless you're going to court or financing or such? I can get rough property lines on Zillow or Google maps. Should that be outlawed when everyone understands these are just general guides? What is your logic for why people should pay for precision to 5 decimal places or whatever, when a line withing 20' is good enough for illustrative purposes? And you didn't address any of the other use cases they shut him down for. For example, stitching photos of a construction site. Why exactly is a surveyor more qualified to import a stack of photos into the software that does the work, than anyone with enough consciousness to operate a mouse? How is anyone helped by having a surveyor tell a thermal imaging camera's shutter to click instead of some random dude? The camera does all the work -- the only real value is being able to get the camera in a position to take a photo. What exactly do you suggest the public is being protected from in any of these situations?

            • (Score: 2, Insightful) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @08:37AM (8 children)

              by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @08:37AM (#1145340)

              zillow and google maps do not sell property line data to realtors. he did not sell with a '20 foor precision' disclaimer. he sold data out of his ass. you keep making these strawman arguments, so i'm not going to bother reading your reply. go make up some more fake scenarios and get angry about the deep state supposidely prohibiting them. sounds like you and your escaoenof reality keep each other good company all on their own.

              • (Score: 2, Informative) by John Bresnahan on Sunday May 02, @10:17AM (6 children)

                by John Bresnahan (5989) on Sunday May 02, @10:17AM (#1145344)

                Zillow maps (in particular) DO include property lines.

                • (Score: 1, Troll) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @06:02PM (5 children)

                  by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @06:02PM (#1145440)

                  yes, they certainly do. an no one but the voices in your head was arguing they don't.

                  • (Score: 2, Informative) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 02, @10:08PM (4 children)

                    by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @10:08PM (#1145497) Journal

                    Well, not "no one" -- one person in particular was.

                    When you're presenting people with things like property line information, there should be a barrier to entry.

                    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by fakefuck39 on Monday May 03, @03:41AM (3 children)

                      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday May 03, @03:41AM (#1145578)

                      "When you're presenting people with things like property line information, there should be a barrier to entry."

                      to you this apparently means I was arguing that :
                      Zillow maps (in particular) DO NOT include property lines.

                      seriously, are you mentally disabled, or just like to "reply" to things without bothering to read about them? I await your argument that I'm wrong about cars looking better in blue vs red.

                      he was selling property line data, without notifying his buyers it was not real data. once caught, he offered to put a disclaimer in there. he then defended himself in court by claiming he was selling artwork.

                      you are some kind of retard. the dyslexic clown kind. thanks for posting here to keep me entertained.

                      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @04:46AM (2 children)

                        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @04:46AM (#1145583)

                        He was not selling property line data. He was selling images with property lines drawn on them.

                        Zillow does not provide property line data, though they must obviously have the property line data to create their overlay. They instead provide you with....images with property lines drawn on them.

                        Hence, both the guy in the article and Zillow are doing the same thing. Images with property lines drawn on them. Holy crap.

                        Multiple people have pointed this out to you in this thread. You're obviously way too fucking dense to understand any of it. Maybe now that I explained it you like you're 5 years old maybe it will take. But I kind of doubt it.

                        By the way, you must lead a pretty sad life if your way of entertaining yourself is trolling Soylentnews and being a criemertard over on that green site.

                        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by fakefuck39 on Monday May 03, @05:58AM (1 child)

                          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday May 03, @05:58AM (#1145588)

                          > He was not selling property line data. He was selling images with property lines drawn on them

                          i stopped reading right there. You are not mentally retarded. You are a retard who is mentally retarded. With property lines drawn on them.

                          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @12:11PM

                            by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @12:11PM (#1145637)

                            Ah I see. You got nothing to counter that except the same tired insults. You're nothing but a stupid sack of shit.

              • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 02, @05:01PM

                by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @05:01PM (#1145420) Journal

                Well, I looked about as well as I could for the specific disclaimer, even read through the complaint (which says he did not say it was surveyor quality, but did not include the specific disclaimer). I hope for his sake it was very explicit, but neither you nor I know it's precise contents.

                That still doesn't answer the question about using thermal imaging to look at the top of a building. Why does that take a surveyor? Or to stitch together construction progress photos on a large site so the owner or contractor can keep tabs on construction progress (or simply get something cool to post on their company youtube page as time lapse). Why does that take a surveyor.

                Or here's another example rooted in the other story about the laser-weed-killing robot -- a drone that uses LIDAR to evaluate crops: LIDAR image of sorghum field [youtube.com]. Should a farmer have to hire a surveyor to take pictures of crops because a surveyor is somehow uniquely capable of running a drone?

            • (Score: 2) by McGruber on Sunday May 02, @10:23PM

              by McGruber (3038) on Sunday May 02, @10:23PM (#1145499)

              I can get rough property lines on Zillow or Google maps. Should that be outlawed when everyone understands these are just general guides?

              Those "rough property lines" are most likely a GIS layer maintained by your local tax assessor. The GIS layer is survey data compiled by licensed surveyors. It has to be accurate because the tax assessor is using it to levy property taxes.

          • (Score: 5, Informative) by shortscreen on Sunday May 02, @10:57AM (1 child)

            by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @10:57AM (#1145347) Journal

            Tell me, did your friend take those photos, print them out, then draw property lines pulled out of his ass on them with a marker, and sell them to realtors?

            Michael Jones wasn't doing that. According to page 6 of the complaint, he drew the lines where the realtors asked him to, based on the realtor's information. If anyone was making an unsupported assertion as to where the property lines were, it was the realtors.

            • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @06:52PM

              by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @06:52PM (#1145452)

              I see, so like Jones's property line information, you are pulling "facts" out of your ass.

              Let's see what his defense in court is:
              "the right to freedom of speech by taking photos and videos and producing artwork for clients"
              Ah, so he was selling "artwork" to his clients. Got it.

              Let's see the accusation:
              “mapping, surveying and photogrammetry, stating accuracy, providing location and dimension data and producing orthomosaic maps, quantities and topographic information.”

              So if he was doing what you made up he was doing, well he's not doing that, and his defense would simply be "I'm not doing that" instead of "It's artwork."

              Let's see what the summary says:
              "clients wanted more: Images with property lines on them"
              ok, so you're saying he did not sell a product that his clients wanted, and did not sell those images with property lines. Sorry if I believe the official accusation in court instead of you, with "facts" you made up. Strange how his defense is not that he didn't do it, but that he's instead selling "artwork."

              "he even offered to add a disclaimer that his maps are not land surveys – but the state board rejected the suggestion"
              so he's completely fucked - he didn't even have a disclaimer that it was data pulled out of his ass - he just offered to add it once he was caught.

              But yes, he wasn't just selling the data to realtors, and some of the data for property lines that he sold may have come from realtors - I have no idea. But his customers did include realtors, builders, individuals and commercial companies. To whom he was selling property line data, pulled from uncertified sources, without a disclaimer it wasn't real data.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @11:16AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @11:16AM (#1145351)

        Found the guy who's income depends on his expensive license.

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” -- Upton Sinclair

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:44PM (#1145436)

        This guy was just drawing the approximate location of property lines on photos for real estate listings to give potential buyers some idea of what they were purchasing. He wasn't claiming to be a surveyor. What he was doing shouldn't require an expensive license. No one is going to use a photo from a real estate listing to resolve a property dispute. You'd be a fool to use photos from a drone to figure out where exactly a building could be placed. You'd need a survey from an actual, licensed surveyor for those things. What he was doing is no different from what websites like Zillow do today where they overlay property lines over satellite imagery. I can tell you that Zillow's overlay isn't that accurate, but if you want a rough idea how big a lot is and approximately where the property lines are it can be good enough. I'm not seeing Zillow getting shut down over what they are doing. This really just seems like large, established businesses throwing their weight around to screw the little guy more than anything else.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @08:08PM (4 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @08:08PM (#1145466) Journal

        When you're presenting people with things like property line information, there should be a barrier to entry. A high barrier. Where that barrier is placed, well that's something an expert on the subject matter should know, after studying the problem and being educated about the subject. He should spend thousands of hours getting familiar with sources of trustworthy data, understand where manual investigation needs to take place, and then determine where that barrier should be. Then he would provide that very important reliable information to the people who pass the laws and regulations on the subject.

        Why? You haven't actually mentioned anything that significant and states like North Carolina have been half-assing this stuff for longer than the US has existed. I think rather that there should be a high barrier to entry for these licensing schemes. And this is part of the reason why. I bet this guy can get surveyor-quality maps (or even better!) in a few minutes that would take a licensed surveyor days.

        • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @08:54PM (3 children)

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @08:54PM (#1145483)

          you can bet whatever you want to make yourself feel like you're right. here in the real world, a rando with a drone was selling fake property line information and rightfully got his ass handed to him. and.. wait for it, he did Not have a disclaimer saying it's not accurate certified data. he only offered to add a disclaimer after he got caught. in fact, his defense in court was that he was selling artwork.

          my reasoning is scammers selling fake shit should be prosecuted. your reasoning is, you were dropped on your head as a baby.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday May 03, @01:10AM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @01:10AM (#1145538) Journal

            a rando with a drone was selling fake property line information

            And your evidence for that assertion is that he's not licensed? Do you have any actual evidence to go with that?

            • (Score: 1, Troll) by fakefuck39 on Monday May 03, @02:54AM (1 child)

              by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday May 03, @02:54AM (#1145571)

              The evidence would be that he was accused of doing it, was found guilty in court, and is now trying to say, in court, that he was actually creating artwork. literally google his name and click on any article. including the one linked in the original story.

              • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Monday May 03, @12:20PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @12:20PM (#1145639) Journal

                The evidence would be that he was accused of doing it, was found guilty in court

                Sorry, you're already wrong. He was not found guilty in court.

                A final notice Jones got from the board in 2019 ordered him to stop engaging in “mapping, surveying and photogrammetry, stating accuracy, providing location and dimension data and producing orthomosaic maps, quantities and topographic information.”

                Frankly, this board should not have this kind of power. As long as Jones can provide what he advertises, it should not be the business of North Carolina or a private board empowered by North Carolina what qualifications Jones has.

    • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Sunday May 02, @11:11AM (1 child)

      by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @11:11AM (#1145348) Journal

      The guy claims to have lost $10K worth of business. I have to wonder if obtaining a license for surveying is really that much of an ordeal that it isn't worth bothering with for $10K.

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @01:52PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @01:52PM (#1145379) Journal

        I have to wonder if obtaining a license for surveying is really that much of an ordeal that it isn't worth bothering with for $10K.

        It's not just the lost income, it's the opportunity cost of the effort to obtain that license. fakefuck39, for example, was demanding a "high barrier", thousands of hours of work. The effective way would be to hire some surveyors not to go through the effort of getting a license. But you can't employ a full-time surveyor on a few thousand dollars of business a year.

    • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday May 02, @12:18PM (1 child)

      by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @12:18PM (#1145355)

      Licensing of professions creates a lot of big problems such as barrier to entry for new businesses

      This is not a problem but a survival critical feature of the system.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Sunday May 02, @04:44PM

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Sunday May 02, @04:44PM (#1145416)

      Another impact with significant numbers behind it is that the licensing laws prevent people convicted of crimes from going straight in a decent job. Licenses require clean records, relevant or not. I don't want an accountant who's cheated on his taxes, but it makes no difference to me whether the guy cutting my hair did. But in many places people with records can't get a license to do hair.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jelizondo on Sunday May 02, @04:49AM (21 children)

    by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @04:49AM (#1145305) Journal

    Everyone loves free markets and competition, until some new tech takes a bite out of your business!

    Lawyers are disliked but some legal advice before getting into a new business line could prevent one from making a stupid mistake, like offering services (from TFA) that “draw property lines on a map” which would be interpreted by anyone as “surveying” because defining the property lines is precisely what surveying does.

    So call your service “aerial photography illustrating approximate property dimensions“, add a disclaimer to the effect that the photograph does not constitute a survey and is for illustration purposes and you’re off the hook!

    You’re welcome.[1]

    [1] This is not legal advise and should be used only for entertainment purposes. See?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 02, @05:20AM (4 children)

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @05:20AM (#1145313) Journal

      From TFS:

      ... Jones was careful to add a disclaimer: His maps weren't meant to replace the proper surveys that are often needed for such things as mortgages, title insurance and land use applications. ... "I myself don't feel like I'm offering any surveying, and more or less, I'm telling people this is not accurate mapping, this is only for visual, and all of my clients understood that."

      It sounds like he did what you suggest, but the "more or less" language is disturbing.

      There is more detail from his attorney's office; https://ij.org/case/north-carolina-drones [ij.org] You have to click the "Explore Case in Depth" link, which then plops you in the middle of a larger page, and up at near the top is copy of the complaint: https://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Complaint-NC-Drones-File-Stamped.pdf [ij.org]

      What I'd like to see is the actual disclaimer he used in marketing and contracts. I scanned through the complaint and I don't see the actual disclaimer language, so it is hard to know exactly how important that "more or less" will be.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jelizondo on Sunday May 02, @06:26AM (2 children)

        by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @06:26AM (#1145326) Journal

        Thank you for the links, it does appear that regulations are way too restrictive: simply taking a photograph with GPS information is coded as "surveying" which clearly is over-reach by the government.

        I thought about Google Earth, which allows you take "measurements" between any points as "surveying", and was gratified to see the lawyers picked on that example. So either they have to go after Google for "surveying" or the regulations have to be changed.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday May 02, @11:13AM

        by RS3 (6367) on Sunday May 02, @11:13AM (#1145350)

        How about this angle for defense: did Jones in any way assert that the maps were surveys, definitive, certified, engineering data, etc.?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:29AM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:29AM (#1145316)

      So call your service “aerial photography illustrating approximate property dimensions“, add a disclaimer to the effect that the photograph does not constitute a survey and is for illustration purposes and you’re off the hook!

      From TFA, it sounds like he did all of the above, except maybe the wording change to be "illustrate approximate property dimensions" (although TFA's not clear whether he called his lines "property lines" or not).

      And he still got attacked.

      Reality is he was stepping on the toes of a system that makes lots of money for little effort (much of the 'work' is now done with expensive, high accuracy, GPS receivers, so the effort is often "read coordinates off of our GPS-3000's display"). But much like AT&T during the 70's and 80's charging 75 cents per minute long distance that cost them a quarter cent a minute to provide, the old-guard survey companies are still charging rates commensurate with a survey actually involving careful measuring of angles and distances with tapes and sights, for a process now that involves "walk to spot, adjust position of GPS-3000 unit until coordinates match expected value, put stake in ground at this spot" (i.e., much less cost skill and work involved) they want to maintain that high price point for the small effort involved today. Why? Because the profit is huge.

      He was stepping on gravy-train profit margins, and the gravy train is trying to bite back and protect their profits.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:56AM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:56AM (#1145323)

        Do you think laying lines came cheap to AT&T back in the day? There are fixed costs that need to be recouped and capacity that needs to be managed.

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday May 02, @06:42AM (3 children)

          by sjames (2882) on Sunday May 02, @06:42AM (#1145328) Journal

          Considering that MCI and then Sprint were able to offer long distance for a fraction of the price and AT&T was able to (eventually) match, I'd say most of the pre-competition price had little to do with paying for the lines.

          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday May 02, @12:48PM (2 children)

            by HiThere (866) on Sunday May 02, @12:48PM (#1145363) Journal

            FWIW, and IIRC, Sprint started off with the railroads, using their transmission lines, and when it split off as a communications company, it originally only used radio links between towers. So the comment about "lines" doesn't apply to how they got started.

            --
            Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday May 02, @07:22AM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @07:22AM (#1145335) Homepage Journal

          What sjames already said.

          I will give AT&T one thing: reliability. They, and Bell, made the phones WORK. They did better than 5 nines. And, they even kept those old pay phones working in locations where they were frequently vandalized. IMO, that mostly justified the prices we paid back then.

          --
          "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @01:59PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @01:59PM (#1145383) Journal

          Do you think laying lines came cheap to AT&T back in the day?

          Yes. Next question?

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:53PM (#1145397)

          AT&T had recouped that capital expendeture 100x over by the 1970's and 1980's (most of those lines having been laid in in the 50's and 60's).

          And once AT&T shifted from actually leasing you a piece of copper from NY to LA to using digital multiplexing, expanding capacity changed from "dig trench, lay in additional wires" to "change modulator/demodulator on both ends" (a whole lot cheaper than "dig additional 3k mile trench, add additional copper wires".

          They were simply massively overcharging, because they had been the lucky "first" one (and had a monopoly at that) and so they got the public accustomed to the sky high prices, such that when their actual cost to carry fell to all but zero, they saw no need to pass that saving on to their customers. No one else (at the time) was offering cheaper service (they had that monopoly, remember) and no one in the general public ever knew of any time when phone calls did not cost 75 cents a minute, so the customers just accepted it as fact.

          The sad reality was they (AT&T) were enjoying the incredibly cheap data transmission costs that digital networking provides on their service side, while charging "leased line" rates to the customers, none of which knew any better nor had any way to learn they were being fleeced.

    • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday May 02, @12:23PM (6 children)

      by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @12:23PM (#1145356)

      Yep, exactly. Let's take another example.
      Taxi cabs were limited to roughly 10000 in NYC until Uber managed to game the system. The result is that NYC public transportation is damaged beyond any hope.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @12:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @12:45PM (#1145361)

        If taxis were so great, people would have continued to use them, instead of jumping to ride-share services.

        Taxi medalians are primarily a way for government bureaucrats to reward their cronies. Actually carrying passengers from point to point was secondary.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday May 02, @12:52PM

        by HiThere (866) on Sunday May 02, @12:52PM (#1145366) Journal

        That's probably an excellent example. ISTM that 10,000 cabs for NYC is clearly too small a number, but 100,000 is clearly too large a number. (Streets are limited.)

        Tearing up the rule book was a lousy move, but the rule book needed to be changed, and there were forces in place to keep things as they were. Neither extreme was a good choice.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @01:26PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @01:26PM (#1145371)

        My goal is for people to efficiently and in a cost effective manner get to the destination of their choosing with maximum scheduling flexibility as they see fit, not to preserve a bureaucratic institution. Public transportation is a means, not an end.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @01:43PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @01:43PM (#1145374)

          So it sounds like you want to go to a system where the streets aren't clogged by an unregulated oversupply of vehicles, making things much less efficient, and that there should be some sort of managed cap on the number of operators then.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @02:02PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @02:02PM (#1145384) Journal

        Taxi cabs were limited to roughly 10000 in NYC until Uber managed to game the system. The result is that NYC public transportation is damaged beyond any hope.

        I'm fine with that outcome, even though it's not actually true. Public transportation is actually less damaged with Uber competition.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Sunday May 02, @09:52PM

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Sunday May 02, @09:52PM (#1145494)

    Data Point: Many counties offer this service (maps & photos with estimated boundaries overlaid on them) online and for free. The magic search keywords are "[name of county] county gis" e.g. http://gis.rutherfordcountytn.gov/ [rutherfordcountytn.gov]

    Opinion: I hope this gentleman takes them to court and pushes the issue as far as required to get it knocked down. Like Mats Järlström's case [reason.com] this feels like it should be speech protected by the first amendment.

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