Surveyors and their symbols are getting a lot of attention in the press today. Rebecca Monsour, Sarah Palin's media aide, said that the geo-locational images shown on the electoral map Palin posted on her Facebook page last March are not rifle sights, but are actually surveyor's symbols. This is in response to the recent shooting of 18 people, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Tuscon, Arizona, with some blaming the Palin electoral map as a possible incitement for this horrific crime.
I picked up on this industry-related turn of events on Twitter. Several tweets I read were about the images in question supposedly being surveyor's symbols and then more tweets reluctantly tongue-in-cheek willing to acquiesce to them being surveyor's symbols but not to "reload" being a surveying term. Wow, surveyors and their symbols are now topical in the news!
What I find amusing about this is the sudden depth of knowledge about surveyor's symbols being bandied about in the news media and on the interwebs. Political slant also appears to sway ones interpretation of the similarity, or not, of surveyor's symbols to rifle sights.
A few thoughts.
First, symbols used by surveyors to represent the appearance of looking through a scope of a land surveyor's instrument would likely be very similar to symbols developed to represent the appearance of looking through a telescope rifle sight. Both are telescopes and both have crosshairs, after all. It's also not uncommon for surveyors to represent what is being sighted with symbols of targets and bullseyes.
Second, it did come to mind that there is, however, a firearm / surveyor connection: How many times have you referred to your transit or total station as the "gun" or called your surveyed locations "shooting" a point or taking "shots".
Here are a few links to "Surveyors Symbols" in the news: