Not long ago, survey equipment was largely limited to tape measures, levels, and stakes. Surveyors hit the field in multi-man teams, working in tandem to delineate property lines and identify topographic features. Survey work entailed a slow, albeit effective process of measuring and marking the land for future projects.
Today, survey equipment is virtually unrecognizable when compared to the survey gear of thirty years ago. In the 1980’s, electronic data collectors were the first pieces of high-tech equipment to find their way into the land surveyor’s tool belt. These handy devices, roughly the size and shape of a scientific calculator, allowed surveyors to store and recall valuable data without having to lug around cumbersome notepads and data sheets.
While many experienced surveyors still carry their trusty compass to the job site, GPS devices have become more common staples of survey gear. Using satellites to map large areas has granted surveyors an unprecedented level of precision in obtaining measurements. Because GPS mapping doesn’t require the surveyor to have direct line of sight between multiple survey points, it has also greatly reduced the amount of time it takes a survey team to assess a given area.
Robotic total stations are also changing the way surveyors carry out their work. Remember when we mentioned that surveyors typically work in tandem with one another? Robotic total stations virtually eliminate the need for two man teams, as one surveyor with a robotic total station can complete all the measurements traditionally completed by tandem teams of surveyors.
It’s important to bear in mind that all of these remarkable pieces of technology still operate based on on the same fundamental principles that surveyors have relied on for centuries. These tools sure can be helpful, but they’re far from infallible. If you’re doing a survey deep in the woods where the sky is obscured, your GPS unit isn’t likely to do you much good. In cases such as this, our best bet is often to fall back on the tried and true methods of the total station, be it the one man robotic or two person traditional variety.
At Blaze Design Inc. we employ the latest survey technology, including the Trimble S6 robotic instruments and the Trimble R8 GNSS GPS receiver, whenever possible in order to give our clients in Vermont and New York the fastest, most cost effective results available. As survey technology is changing, so are we. Give us a call today to find out about all the survey services available at Blaze Design Inc.