Here and There at Tufts
The Surveying Courses
Among the special advantages that Tufts offers for teaching the subject of surveying, should be noted first the extent and topography of its grounds. There are in all about one hundred and fifteen acres owned by the College, and one-third of this area is still open,- not built upon by the irresistible " suburbanite " who is fast encroaching upon all sides,- and affords the advantages of an almost rural location, though situated in fact, within the Metropolitan district.
Surveying classes reach the field in five minutes after leaving the Engineering buildings.
The view opposite shows some of our surveying equipment and a part of the Sophomore class gathered on the Boulevard Field. This area is open as to its surface, in part hilly, with some stone walls and high fences, thus affording favorable conditions for various forms of surveying, including practice with the Plane Table, Stadia, and other topographical surveying. There is good opportunity as well for triangulation, and the determination of true meridan and time by solar and stellar observations, which practice is, carried on by the Juniors in Precise Surveying.
Preliminary practice in Railroad Surveying now taken by the Seniors, is likewise carried on here on the College grounds; but practice under more extended surveys under the real conditions of hill and vale, thicket and clearing, swamp and field, is found two or three miles distant in the large undeveloped tracts in Stoneham; Woburn, Lexington and the Middlesex Fells Reservation, which should afford surveying opportunities for another half-century.
The scheme of instruction pursued in the Surveying classes has been largely that of the field method, which raises to the first importance a drill in the accomplishment of such tasks as a young engineer would be called upon to undertake. At times, it is a drill in holding one end of a tape, or driving a stake securely, but oftener it is a drill in technical principles as required for the proper execution of a problem in the field or in the office.
Furthermore, the aim is not only to acquire reasonable facility in the use of instruments, but further to give that which is also of great importance, namely, experience in skillfully and tactfully dealing with one's fellow workmen.
During the past year, on account of the increased numbers of Engineering students, all of whom take surveying the first half of Sophomore year, it has been necessary to revise the former methods of teaching this subject. The change that has been adopted aims to continue the system of small squads as a teaching unit -a plan of manifest advantages-- and to accomplish this, each student now acts in turn as the overseer of a squad. The instructor deals with the student, as representing the squad, lays out the work for him and holds him responsible for methods, results, care of instruments and so on - all of which he reports upon in writing at the end of the period. Thus an attempt is being made (and we think generally appreciated by the students) to create a business-like and comprehensive course in surveying that shall be both profitable and interesting.
F. B. S.