In Memorial

Ira AlexanderPhoto

Ira Alexander, popular ACSM and ASCE member, well known survey authority and premier geodesist in the western states died January 28th, 2002 at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles.He was 80 years old.

He was teacher and mentor to a legion of professionals now in high/responsible positions throughout the country.

Ira was born in Staten Island, New York but moved to California as a child and attended L.A. High School, UCLA and Cal Berkeley where he graduated in 1940.His early engineering/survey work was on the Alcan Hiway when it was pushed through the Yukon and Alaska wilderness in record time at the beginning of W.W.II. He later served in the infantry during the Italian Campaign and after the war was sent by the Army to Christ College at Oxford for special graduate work.

Following his discharge and jobs timber cruising/surveying he began work with the Office of the L.A. County Engineer and Surveyor where he rose through the ranks to be chief of survey operations and eventually Assistant Chief Deputy of the Department from which he retired after some 30 plus years.

Along the way he became a consummate expert in surveying, boundary analysis, cadastral mapping, geodesy, precise control, description writing and deed interpretation with many publications.These were not only in geophysical and survey/mapping research, but also ran the gambit from earthquake and traffic engineering to tide and submerge lands. During his County time and after his retirement from the County he did expert witnessing and consulting both as an individual and working for several prestigious engineering firms.

He also taught classes and/or lectured at UCLA, USC, Oregon State, University of Arizona, and Fresno State in the many disciplines described above.He also traveled extensively with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) checking on, and certifying the surveying and engineering curricula, technical libraries, faculty, etc. for ABETís approval at colleges throughout the country.However, he is perhaps best known for his Review Course for the Professional Land-Surveying Examination through which so many of his students were able to get their professional license.

Ira along with his son, also compiled the Projection Tables for the California Coordinate System NAD 83 as a Special Publication of the California Land Surveyors Association.

He was also active in, and contributed to, many technical/professional organizations.He was a Fellow in the ASCE and a member of its Committee on Geodetic Surveying and its Task Committee on the Preparation of a Manual of Control Surveys.He was Program Chairman for the Surveying and Mapping Division at the National Water Resources meeting in Los Angeles and Vice Chairman of the Surveying and Mapping Technical Group, Los Angeles Section.

He was also National President of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and was chairman of its Control Surveys Division.He also served many years as a National Director and was made honorary member by the Southern California Section.

He was also a member of the American Geophysical Union, Canadian Institute of Surveying, California Council of Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, and City County Engineers Association.

His many friends and associates, especially those heís helped over the years with his generous advice and encouragement, will surely miss him. He is survived by his wife Myrna, his daughter and son, Elaine and Lee, grandson Ricky, and brothers Robert and Eugene.

There was no memorial service.Itís the way he wanted it.His family asks that those who wish, donate to cancer research in his name.

Among other honors, he was THE geodesy expert in the western states, retired Asst. L.A. Co. Engineer and ex president of the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping.He was still active consulting, court witnessing and teaching (UCLA and Fresno State) as well serving on ABET, certifying the curricula of colleges of engineering at various universities.


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