• 01 Nov 2017 9:01 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    We received some very sad news late on Friday. Gary Stouffer, one of RETTEW’s long-time family members passed away on Friday. 

    Gary, our regional vice president in Mechanicsburg, retired from RETTEW in May of 2016. His long, successful career with the company began in February of 1987 when he was hired as the head of the survey department in our then new office in Lemoyne PA. During the term of his employment, Gary was promoted several times. 

    A registered land surveyor by trade, Gary formed long-standing, positive relationships with clients and employees. Recognized and respected as a hard-working, honest, fair, and tough leader, he was a valued mentor and coach to many throughout RETTEW. Gary was integral in elevating RETTEW’s survey service area and strengthening the company’s reputation in the central PA region. He was one of RETTEW’s original shareholders, and a long-standing member of the board of directors and leadership team.  

    Gary was a proud Veteran who served in Vietnam. I believe a recommendation letter from his Naval Commanding officer described him very well, “The completion of the Go Noi Bridge and the upgrading of National Route QL-1 were aided by your devotion to duty, willingness to work, and professional pride. You could be depended upon to meet any situation, both routine and emergency, with the same willingness to work and high degree of professional competence and thoroughness. You made a significant contribution to the team effort, which is so vital to the effective functioning of a survey crew.” 

    Many of us recently saw Gary at Kim Howell’s retirement party, where he was his usual outgoing, fun, energetic self. We will miss him. 

    Gary is survived by his wife Ada, his sons Chris and Jason and several grandchildren. Gary was preceded in death by his son, Gary Jr. Arrangements for Gary’s service are on Sunday November 5th at the Assembly of God Life Center in Newport.  There will be a viewing from 1:00-3:00 p.m. followed immediately by a memorial service, then by light refreshments at 4:00 p.m. Gary’s family is open to and welcomes anyone who would like to share their own eulogy. 

    Service Address

    Assembly of God Life Center

    27 W Shortcut Rd.

    Newport, Pennsylvania 17074 

    In lieu of flowers please sponsor a wreath from Wreaths Across America in Gary Stouffer, Sr. and Gary Stouffer, Jr.’s names. 

    If you would like to send a card to Gary’s wife, Ada, please contact Human Resources for her address.

    Please keep Ada and all of Gary’s family in your thoughts and prayers.


    Robert B. Bush, PLS

  • 20 Sep 2017 7:59 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    Leonard Dean Karfelt, 78, of Greensburg, died Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, at his home. He was born April 26, 1939, in Bullskin Township, Fayette County. He was a veteran of the Army. Prior to his retirement, he was the owner of Karfelt Surveys in Youngwood.

    He was a Life Member of the Laurel Highlands Chapter, and a PSLS member since 1981.

    There will be a Celebration of Leonard's life on October 1, 2017. Click here for details.

  • 18 Sep 2017 11:34 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    Top 5 Things a Good LiDAR Service Provider Won’t Tell You by Michael Frecks, TerraMetrix

    You are a client looking at mobile LiDAR for the first time. You are under budget and time constraints and like all projects safety is a major issue. All are handled efficiently with mobile LiDAR under an experienced service provider. But, there is a plethora of information out there about what LiDAR can provide. What do you believe?

          First, a good LiDAR service provider will not tell you LiDAR is a complete picture. LiDAR is line of sight. There can be occlusions and good project planning can reduce the number of gaps in your data. “Boots on the ground traditional surveying cannot safely give you the wealth of information you acquire with LiDAR”, according to Terrametrix President Michael R.  Frecks, “it does allow additional pickup more safely out of the red zone since mission planning allows for 100% LiDAR coverage in the red zone.”

          Second, that you do not need control. Without control points QA/QC is merely checking any potential LiDAR error to itself. Granted there are instances where the LiDAR data is only being used to check relative distances and the final position is of no consequence but that is the exception and not the rule. Survey best practices is to have proven methods in place to check the final position error of a given data set. As examples, good survey practice means you close a horizontal traverse to check the closure error. An open-end traverse leaves questions as to the accuracy of the work and can lead to sleepless nights. Same issue on vertical levels. Best practice is to close the level run back on itself or on a known point to ensure the accuracy of the resulting elevations. The same best practices go for mobile LiDAR. Checks to control points provide a QA/QC check between the LiDAR and control points established with traditional survey methods. The resulting RMS error report verifies the final position of the LiDAR data (as long as the control points were established using solid best practices). One way of thinking about control is to always have redundancy in the QA/QC and is a very important factor when it comes to trusting the data.

         Third, that you need special software to handle or view the data. “It took a long time for the software to catch up with the hardware abilities,” says Frecks. “Today, there are many free viewers that handle LiDAR data well not to mention internet cloud technology to organize and provide easy access to your infrastructure data. Back in 2000, when we first started using LiDAR, there were only a couple of software options and they were labor intensive. They took quite some time to master. Now there are many options within well-known design software which can jump start the gap between field acquisition and design in the office.”

          Fourth, that you can get survey grade data with a GIS grade mobile scan system. “The reverse is true, you can’t smarten up GIS grade data to survey grade accuracy, so if you need survey grade accuracy acquire the LiDAR data with a survey-grade accuracy system to begin with,” said Frecks. The evangelical approach to presenting mobile mapping is done for clients, telling them that this is the next generation of technology. This approach is usually pitched to decision makers such as business owners and high-level project managers. The data is often presented in an oversimplified, visually appealing way, to demonstrate the general idea and profitability, without the complex technical details clients will not find relevant. However, this form of presentation often pays too little attention to the data. A client should always be educated as to the expected accuracy result so they can understand if the data will meet their needs.

          Finally, that mobile LiDAR is a new technology. “I guess that depends on how long you have been in the business,” says Frecks, a veteran professional land surveyor and LiDAR pioneer since 2000. “Mobile LiDAR is a proven technology that has gained a lot of traction in the engineering profession. However, when it gets into the hands of inexperienced users or a less accurate (cheaper) system is used for a survey grade accuracy project requirement is when the technology struggles with issues. I have come across a few projects that were the perfect fit for mobile LiDAR only to learn the client had a bad experience with a former project and will not entertain using mobile LiDAR”. Terrestrial Mobile LiDAR Scanning (TMLS) is a proven powerful tool for civil transportation.

    Michael R. Frecks, L.S.
    Terrametrix, LLC President

    4852 South 133rd Street, Suite 105
    Omaha, Nebraska 68137

  • 12 Sep 2017 9:53 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    The Bureau of Workers' Compensation Health & Safety Division will be offering the following free CLASSROOM safety training in September, 2017: 

    National Safety Council Defensive Driving (DDC-4)

    District 4-0
    55 Keystone Industrial Park

    Dunmore, PA 18512

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    9:00am - 1:00pm

    Please register by 12:00 p.m. Friday, September 15th.



    To register for this event just click on the links above and that will take you directly to the event homepage and a registration form. 

    If we do not reach a minimum of 25 participants session will be cancelled.


    Space is limited, register now!


    To register for any of our safety trainings please visit our Training Calendar.

  • 11 Aug 2017 9:17 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    From the Registration Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists:

    We changed licensing systems.  Please follow the below instructions to renew your license online.


    1. If you already have a User ID and Password from the previous renewal, go to and Login.

    2. If you do not have a User ID and Password from the previous renewal, or if you forgot your information, you will need to create a User ID and Password at  Click the appropriate link under ‘MyLicense User ID and Password Registration” and follow the on-screen instructions to reset your account.  After you have reset your User ID and Password, proceed to our new online system at and Login.  Please allow 15 minutes for the data to sync to the PALS website.

    3.  Using your MyLicense User ID and Password, Login to PALS at  Verify and complete the registration information and click “Save Changes” to proceed to your User Dashboard.

    4.  To renew your license, look for the banner entitles PROFESSIONAL LICENSE DETAILS.  Click the APPLY/REQUEST icon associated with the license you wish to renew and then “Renew” to access the renewal form.

    *Do not use Google, Google Chrome as your supporting browser.  Use Internet Explorer.

  • 10 Aug 2017 11:52 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

  • 09 Aug 2017 3:15 PM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    Late last week, news broke that the US Army had issued a memo asking units to discontinue the use of DJI drones while the military investigated potential cyber vulnerabilities. There wasn’t much detail on what the exact concerns were or where they stemmed from, but it turns out that another federal agency recently looked into the issue. Read more here

  • 21 Jul 2017 7:25 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    PSLS Delaware Valley Chapter

    Fall 2017 State Specific Review Course

    The Pennsylvania State-Specific Principles and Practices of Land Surveying exam includes approximately 30% of its content on Stormwater Management. In order to help competent candidates through this tough requirement, The Delaware Valley Chapter of the PSLS will offer seven (7) classes of approximately two (2) hours every Tuesday starting September 5th 2017 through October 17th 2017. Course materials include a link to the test syllabus, handouts, and sample problems.

    The classes will include Storm Water run-off theory, resource material and practice problems. We assume you are registered for the State Exam and are preparing to take the test in fall of 2017 or spring of 2018. The next State Test Dates are October 27-28 2017 (to be verified).

    Tentative schedule:

    September 5, 12 & 19: Storm water Runoff/Hydrology using the Rational Method as featured in the State E &S Manual. 

    September 26 & October 3 & 10: Storm water Runoff/Hydrology using TR-55

    October 17: Vertical & Horizontal Curves Unfinished business and class review

    Instructors: Charles Karat, PLS, & G. Windsor Tracy, PLS


    $200.00 (PSLS MEMBERS) $250. 00 (PSLS-NON MEMBERS)


    Location: Offices of Stantec | 400 Davis Drive, Suite 400 | Plymouth Meeting PA 19462

    Coordinator: Charles Karat.  Contact info: with PSLS review class in the subject line

  • 07 Jul 2017 8:12 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    After months of anticipation, Trimble Catalyst — a high-accuracy, on-demand positioning-as-a-service for Android devices — is hitting the market today worldwide, so I wanted to make sure you received the news directly. Here’s a link to the press release that went out today:

    What is Catalyst? Trimble Catalyst transforms consumer devices into centimeter-accurate mobile geo-data collection systems, and it is available for purchase for the first time today through Trimble’s global distribution network.

    Why is this important? Catalyst kicks off a new era of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology by making professional-grade positioning easily accessible to a broader base of users. Catalyst is revolutionary because of its flexibility. By reducing reliance on hardware for high-accuracy positioning, customers can use it on demand rather than spend money on hardware that often sits unused. Here’s a one-minute demo:

  • 21 Jun 2017 8:06 AM | Office Manager (Administrator)

    Mine surveying equipment will be featured at the Penn State Fayette Campus. The new exhibit details the importance of mine surveying in southwestern PA.  Click here for the story.

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