Workshop Program: Practical State Plane Coordinates For Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers


Morning Session

The morning session is 3.5 hours. It teaches you the basic principles of geodesy and explains how an Earth surface coordinate reference system works.

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session is 3.5 hours. It teaches you how the state plane coordinate system operates, and how a state plane coordinate system uses the goedetic elements introduced in the morning session. It then reviews practical suggestions for working with state plane coordinates on a real project.



What You Will Learn

  1. What is an ellipsoid, geoid, horizontal datum, vertical datum and map projection? How do they work together in an Earth surface coordinate reference system?

  2. What are the different type of heights/elevations, and how do they relate to gravity?

  3. What are the benefits of using state plane coordinates? When are state plane coordinates a poor choice?

  4. How are horizontal datums and vertical datums "realized" on the ground?

  5. Why is a GNSS RTK/RTN site calibration the root of all evil?


Teacher Bio

Landon has practiced as a licensed land surveyor in Central California and Western Nevada for 15 years. He specializes in surveys to support the design of large public works projects like freeways, highways, trains, pipelines, canals, and levees. He has helped build infrastructure in the California Bay Area, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Carson Valley in Nevada.

Landon encourages land surveyors to learn about the basic principles of geodesy and to understand the relationships between geodesy and their GNSS surveying equipment.


Landon Blake Business Portrait

Workshop Outline

  1. Basic Principles of Geodesy for State Plane Coordinates
  2. The Parts of An Earth Surface Coordinate Reference System
  3. State Plane Coordinates For The Lazy
  4. Bringing All The Parts Together (How State Plane Coordinates Work)
  5. Practical State Plane Coordinates

Workshop Questions

The workshop will answer these questions:

  • When should I use state plane coordinates?
  • How do I select a combined scale factors?
  • What quality assurance/quality control mechanisms do I need in place when using State Plane Coordinates?
  • What exactly is my equipment and software doing when I work with State Plane Coordinates?
  • What type of distance does a total station actually measure?
  • What type of distance does my GNSS receiver actually measure?
  • What is my data collector doing to my distances?
  • What is my CAD software doing to my distances and coordinates?
  • When do I need to selection multiple scale factors for my project?
  • When are state plane coordinates a poor choice?
  • What are the legal requirements for the use of state plane coordinates?
  • Why are site calibrations with GNSS RTK/RTN surveys the root of all evil?
  • How do you properly mix GNSS and conventional total station measurements in a project?
  • What problems arise when you use state plane coordinates in the PLSS?

Host This Workshop

Would you like to host this workshop at your organization or in your community? Redefined Horizons teaches workshops across the Western United States. If you are interested in hosting this talk, please contact Landon Blake by e-mail.

We can offer the course at a discount for members of your organization or support a local scholarship of your choice if you host the workshop.

Price for the Morning Session

The morning session of this workshop is free. However, audience members attending the morning session are asked to make a donation to the Terry Hayden Memorial Scholarship. The minimum suggested donation amount is $49. Please register for the workshop first, and then make your donation on the Terry Hayden Memorial Scholarship using our form. You must register online to attend the morning session. This allows us to e-mail you information for the workshop and to ensure we have enough bandwidth for everyone to stream the program.

Price for the Afternoon Session

The cost to attend the afternoon session of the workshop is $149. This price includes an attendance certificate. It also gives you the option to have us help track your professional development hours. Register for the workshop using our simple form, and you will be e-mailed a link to pay for the workshop fee. If you would like to be mailed an invoice instead of paying the workshop fee online with a credit card, send Landon an e-mail. We can prepare and mail you an invoice. (The invoice must be paid 1 week before the date of the workshop.)

Professional Development Hours

You should be able to count 3.5 hours of professional development for the morning session of the workshop and 3.5 hours for the afternoon session of the workshop. This is a total of 7 hours for both sessions. (Please check with your licensing board or certifying authority on the eligibility of this workshop for your specific continuing education requirements.) If you attend both sessions and pay for the afternoon session, we will send you an attendance certificate for both the morning and afternoon session.

Date, Time and Location

This workshop isn't currently scheduled.

Take This Training As An Online Course

This training is offered as an online course for individuals and groups. Certification of course completion is available. If you would like to take this training as an online course, or would like us to offer an online course to your team, please reach out to Landon Blake by e-mail.

Customize This Training For Your Organization

Redefined Horizons can customize this training to meet the specific needs of your organization. We can add or remove topics, craft examples from your practice, and design systems to measure team member learning. If you are interested in customizing this training for your organization, please reach out to Landon Blake by e-mail.

Related Workshops

Landon teaches several other workshops on business for land surveyors and civil engineers. These workshops include:

Learn about these and other workshops on the Redefined Horizons Talks and Workshops web page.

Subscribe to Our Business Newsletter

Landon Blake, the owner of Redefined Horizons, publishes a regular newsletter named "On Point" with articles on business strategy, management of human talent, and business operations. The newsletter has content designed specifically for land surveyors, civil engineers, and GIS professionals. We publish the free newsletter under a Creative Commons license. Visit our Subscribe page if you would like to sign-up to receive a copy of the newsletter.