rev. 14 June 2001 - this document maintained at
History of Surveyors OnLine prior to 1999

for history of the Internet, see

Collaborative Discussions in the development of this timeline are online at QuickTopic.

Prof. David Wahlstrom had the first survey oriented BBS answering modem calls, but nobody remembers when it started ;-}

1987 - Maynard had a BBS online with FidoNet, connected mostly with PPC,CHHU,HPHH HP handheld users groups

1987 - Paul Durgin came online with FidoNet BBS Leased_Squares and started an EchoMail conference. There were only two of us sharing that.

1989 - Richard Langley launches CANSPACE, still active today. Archives here

1991 Marc Cheeves ran the Professional Surveyor BBS, which became a focal meeting point for modeming surveyors.

1992 George Fergusson gave up on installing Opus for FidoNet, and launched SurveyNet BBS as a QWK email network.

1993 Mosaic, the first graphical interface to the WWW, becomes available.

1994 Jerry Wahl registers possibly the first surveying oriented domain name,, and interfaces Cadastral BBS with internet email.

George Fergusson and SurveyNet:
"A key element of George's period was true stewardship and promotion. He provided enough seed to conferences to keep activity going, introducing topics of discussion etc. We can all appreciate the amount of energy and time that he put into the concept and execution. It was never replaced by anything since to that degree of committment." [J.W. with widespread affirmation]

1995 there were about 17 systems in the SurveyNet network when George pulled the plug, including
Bill Thoen's GISnet BBS in CO,
Jerry Wahl's Cadastral Survey BBS in VA,
Marc Cheves running Professional Surveyor BBS in MD,
Randy Orvis's Total Station BBS in NH,
Maynard Riley's Terrapin Station BBS in IL,
John Fisher in ME, and Jeff Austin in WI.
Loren Gibson and Kelly Bellis and Knud Hermansen were active dialins.

1995 saw folks populating the Internet:
my site at moved in 2001 to
Stan Thompson's [domain name registered Feb 1996]
Mark Deal's [domain name registered Apr 1996]
Jerry Wahl's

1995 spearheaded by Michael MacInnis, the newsgroup sci.engr.surveying was created by 486 affirmative votes, of which only half were from the US.

1996 Land Surveyors Online, run by John Gallagher, started as a commercial venture, hosting: Professional Surveyor Magazine, under Marc Cheeves then as now, Editor; and ACSM, under Robert Simanski.

1996 - Dave Wahlstrom started a surveying oriented Majordomo mailing list.

1997 - early summer, there were 22 US State and Canadian Province surveyors Association sites online, of which only 4 were using their own domain name.

1997 May - Professional Surveyor Online moves to its own server

1998 June - Maynard starts Science: Earth Sciences: Geomatics at the new GnuHoo directory; later Open Directory; now DMOZ; rejoicing in a personal victory to place Land Surveying thereunder rather than as a subset of Engineering, which is where Yahoo! insisted upon putting it.

1998 Oct. - Randy Long starts a Land Surveying Webring

1998 Kelly Bellis brings back SurveyNet on the WWW using UBB

1 Jan 1999 - LSO goes off line

This document intends to include events only prior to 1999.