Dimensions 2018, Trimble’s biennial user conference, brought together the best and brightest land surveyors and geospatial professionals to share experiences and learn about new technologies. In this recap of the 2018 conference for The American Surveyor, professional surveyor Jason Foose shared his conference observations under an overarching theme that new technology is allowing land surveyors to be integrated and key members of project teams across all stages and workflows.

With the increasing popularity of the design/build and design/build/maintain project delivery approach, Trimble’s products allow land surveyors to do their jobs with more accuracy and efficiency than ever before. The design/build approach, which means the entire design and build team works together under one contract, typically results in a unified workflow from the project’s concept through completion and oftentimes, maintenance period.

Then and now

Two decades ago, land surveyors worried technology would replace them in the field, Foose writes. Nowadays, those same surveyors realize that’s not the case. Instead, technology dovetails with surveyor skills and experience, resulting in time and cost efficiencies and increased accuracy that proves the land surveyor to be a vital part of the preconstruction, construction and maintenance phases of transportation and construction projects.

Specifically, the land surveyor is often regarded as the terrain manager for the duration of the project, including the maintenance portion, the article says. The maintenance period can extend to 30 years post-construction, for example, as many private developers are embracing the design/build/maintain project approach.

According to Foose, design/build/maintain, particularly “maintain,” translates to data acquisition, construction staking, asset management, monitoring and measurement work for the surveyor. It also represents long-term career opportunities for geospatial professionals.

Technology Tools

Foose details that Trimble products, such as the TSC7 controller with Trimble Access field software, increase project connectivity through “the guidance of underground utilities, vertical construction, site work and highway construction.” Foose describes Trimble Business Center as “the hub of the workflow and provides collaborators with a synonymous workshop.” Within that hub, data captured by the surveyor is integrated with visualizations created through UAV or mobile mapping systems such as the Trimble MX9, so project stakeholders can inform and educate public decision makers who may have questions or reservations about the project.

New technologies, Foose notes, are designed to aid and enhance surveyor job performance, certainly not replace surveyors or diminish their value. And judging by attendee reaction at Dimensions 2018, surveyors are embracing new technologies that allow them to identify and resolve issues before they become issues.

Foose also accurately summarized the effect of project delivery using Trimble’s advanced technology when he wrote, “Remember the carpenter’s phrase ‘measure twice, cut once?’ Well, the design build process is ‘measure always, and build it right.’”

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About the Author

Trimble Geospatial

Trimble Geospatial provides Land Surveying, GIS, Scanning, Mobile Mapping, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry and Forensics professionals with industry leading hardware and software solutions.