Technology and the Modern Day Surveyors

Surveyors have been a significant part of the Country’s history and continue to be an important part of the construction industry today. From George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln to Daniel Boone, William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, these individuals were some of America’s most famous Surveyors that played an essential role in:

  • The westward expansion
  • Resolving settler’s claims to land
  • Exploring the land gained through the Louisiana Purchase

Schemmer_Lewis and Clark Expedition_Surveyors

Today's Surveyors and Technology

The surveying industry has changed significantly since our early forefathers used a Gunter’s chain and compass. Today’s surveying profession relies on technology more than ever.

“In my experience, technology has been slow to be implemented into the surveyor’s tool bag. It continues to change quickly and at this time in the profession, if you don’t keep up you will miss out on opportunities and get left behind,” said Dan Marti, PLS, Schemmer’s Survey Manager.

“The Total Station was the first technology game changer in the industry, the biggest was the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and the newest is the use of scanners and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).”

Technology has made most aspects of the job easier. One way it has helped is surveyors can cover larger distances with relative ease and it takes less time to accomplish projects. Most work performed by surveyors leading up to the late 1940’s was difficult to accomplish due to terrain, weather and computations necessary to complete the boundary analysis. It was time consuming and often required a field crew of several people.

Technology and the Modern Day Surveyors | Schemmer Land Surveyors

Data Collection and Analysis

The concepts for many tasks follow the same protocol for completing a multitude of survey duties, but the way that data is collected and analyzed can be much more complex than in the past.

“The data brought in from the field and processed can range widely from very simple, such as a sketch in a field book with dimensions, to very detailed, with the use of scanning and drone information.”

With the use of technologies such as LiDAR, a series of scanners emit millions of laser points, and tracks the flight path of the laser points as they return to the scanner. The results of the scan are formed into a data point cloud in real time, which are then used to create extremely detailed 3D models or survey documents. This also in turn creates volumes of data that are much larger than many companies are accustomed to working with, which in turn could lead to storage dilemmas. Cloud-based data storage can help manage the data as opposed to making investments in internal storage infrastructure.

Specialized Training and Equipment

Most surveying duties today rely on specialized training and equipment to perform each specific task. Surveying has evolved from “one-size fits all” and requires each portion of surveying to have personnel effectively trained for the job at hand and the right equipment to get the work done.

Marti’s advice for fellow surveyors, both new and experienced, “If you’re new to the game, I recommend you learn the history of surveying and follow in the footsteps of the surveyor before you. For those that have been in the industry for a while, you’re never too old to learn.”

Schemmer's Surveyors

At Schemmer, our survey department is working smarter, not harder. Our expert surveyors impart decades of knowledge in collaborative mentoring sessions, teaching why, not just how. They emphasize multiple check shots through the day, combining both experience and technology to ensure project success. Their expertise allows our team to cover every aspect of surveying, ranging from residential lot surveys to major land development and from preliminary topographic surveys to major construction staking projects.

Survey Services Include:

  • Boundary Surveys
  • Topographic Surveys
  • ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys
  • Utility Surveys
  • Property Legal Descriptions
  • Subdivision Plats
  • GIS/GPS Data Gathering & Mapping Services
  • Horizontal & Vertical Control
  • Geodetic Surveys
  • Photogrammetric Control
  • Right-of-Way Survey & Design
  • Hydraulic Surveys for Bridge Scour
  • Drone Technology

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