Survey Training for MALSCE Using A Practical Guide to Carlson Survey

March 27th, 2013

Carlson_Survey_2013_CoverOn March 8th I led a full-day training seminar on Carlson Survey for MALSCE, the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers.   It was held in Southborough, MA, at a satellite campus of Clark University.  The response we got confirmed we were on the right track, getting 19 people signed up to attend.  Unfortunately, a late-season blizzard began the day before, and continued through the night, (and most of the day of the training as well), making attendance challenging, but impressively, we still had 16 people brave the storm and show up.

To my knowledge, this was the first full-day training conducted anywhere specifically based on the new Practical Guide to Carlson Survey 2013 courseware/textbook by Rick Ellis.  My plan was to go through a sampling of the 55 exercises in the book, covering parts of all 6 chapters, but due to a slightly late start from the snow, as well as the size of the group, we only managed to get through the first 4 chapters.  There was a somewhat extended but important discussion early on about the various versions of Carlson Survey available, which drawing file versions they would support, the pricing, and pros and cons between them.  Then, early into the overview chapter on what functionality is, (and isn’t), in the program, and where it is located, the topic of LandXML led to another somewhat extended discussion, also critically important, however, about the interoperability between Carlson Survey and Autodesk’s Civil 3D program.  The various options available to facilitate that challenge were discussed, which seemed greatly appreciated by the group.

We then set up the use of Projects for storing external data, started a new drawing and Project, and with the detailed demo sets installed from the included CD, we were off and running with real data, drawings and Projects.  We went through the implementation of Points and point data, and then spent the remainder of the day delving into Surfaces.  The ability of the courseware to either create a Project at the beginning and follow it all the way through the book, or to jump into any lesson and load the necessary files to complete it, lent itself perfectly to the approach I needed to use.

When we began to realize that we weren’t going to make it through all the chapters, a decision was made to reconvene for a second day to complete the material, covering the last two chapters on Field to Finish and Ten Other Essential Tools.  The attendees agreed to each contribute a small amount to cover the cost of the room rental and lunch for the second day.  We are scheduled to do that next week.

My overall feeling is that the new Practical Guide, this first-ever, college-level,  “formal” training courseware written for Carlson software, held up really well under the test.  Nicely done, Rick!   I am certain that the concept of basing a training seminar on it has excellent potential, though I now realize it is realistically a 2-day endeavor.  Live and learn, but also, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I look forward to presenting the second day of this seminar, and I especially can’t wait to give a second go at this as a 2-day seminar from the outset.

For more information about this book, visit

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