Surveyors tackle Baldwin St cause

A Dunedin surveyor is bringing out the big guns in his fight to restore the supremacy of Baldwin St as the world's steepest.

Toby Stoff has been vocal in his view that Welsh street Ffordd Pen Llech being measured on the inside went against good surveying practice.

Road gradients should be measured at the centre line, and he believed Baldwin St should not have been stripped of its world's steepest street title after more than 30 years, he said.

''It was just an obvious error. If you're in my game, it's just so screamingly obvious what they did was incorrect.''

Now, the Clark Fortune McDonald Dunedin branch manager has put his surveying gear where his mouth is.

He and colleague Dylan Hills were flat out on Baldwin St yesterday, getting the ball rolling on a process of making the exacting measurements he and others in the surveying game hope will eventually result in Baldwin St regaining its crown.

Dunedin surveyors Dylan Hills (left) and Toby Stoff start creating a super-accurate model of Baldwin St as part of their battle against Guinness World Records to reclaim the street's crown as the world's steepest. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin surveyors Dylan Hills (left) and Toby Stoff start creating a super-accurate model of Baldwin St as part of their battle against Guinness World Records to reclaim the street's crown as the world's steepest. Photo: Peter McIntosh

Yesterday's efforts involved putting down pins on the street that would tie into a recognised official framework, in this case Land Information New Zealand's geodetic database and the New Zealand Vertical Datum 2016, the country's official vertical reference.

The next step is for his mate Ray Copeland, of Global Survey, to send one of his staffers down to scan the street with a Leica laser scanner.

''The guys at Global Survey are keen as mustard.''

The result would be a super-accurate model of the street, the methodology of which could be repeated over in the Welsh hamlet of Harlech to settle the matter once and for all.

''They're going to scan it with millions of points and we're hoping he can pull a few strings and get his mate in Wales to do the same thing, so we're going to have two really hot models that we can compare.''

They had received the first written confirmation their methodology was correct, and hoped to obtain further letters of support from regulatory authorities.

Mr Stoff said his boss, along with some old classmates from the Dunedin School of Surveying, were even becoming keen for a trip to Wales to oversee the surveying work.

''I think there's quite a few guys that are keen for a wee trip over to Wales actually, it could be a good laugh. Unless we get leeks and s... thrown at us.''

However, he was reserving judgement on whether Guinness would change its tune if his measurements showed Baldwin St was the rightful owner of the crown.

''It depends entirely on Guinness World Records ... what I want to say is 'guys, you've got a whole lot of surveyors here who think your methodology needs updating, because I think there's a loophole'.

''I don't think it'd be really good PR from Guinness to ignore the professionals.

''The survey school, our old boys' network, everyone is right into it. Engineers, surveyors, consultants, you name it, everyone's getting on board.''

Comments

Toby, you're a hero and we are real proud of you.

Hear hear!