A recent surveying competition outside Washington, D.C., between China and the United States not only deepened knowledge of international surveying practices but also laid a foundation for new cross-cultural professional relationships.
The competition, which brought together teams of 18 surveyors Nov. 12-16 from each country to Northern Virginia, was organized by the Beijing Municipal Federation of Trade Unions in China, the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) in the U.S., and the America and China International Foundation.
“The event was a huge success,” said Qiang Fu, market manager for Trimble, which supported the event with its local dealer, Keystone Precision Instrument, by supplying all of the competition’s necessary equipment, along with a first-day hardware and software tutorial for all participants.
“Everybody was quite pleased by all of the surveyors’ performances and certainly the performance of Trimble’s instruments,” Fu said. “The Chinese team said they were also impressed with Trimble’s total station, which they had never used.”
China, with a strong performance by its “Eagle Eye” (morning) surveying team, was the overall winner, while the U.S.’s ‘Rhumb Line’ (afternoon) team won the field competition and had the most horizontally accurate result among all competitors. China’s Eagle Eye team won the written portion, and together with its Wukong/Monkey King (afternoon) team, helped give China the edge to take home the top prize.
Fu said the participants were also quite eager to learn from each other about each surveyor’s particular method related to the competition’s tasks. The Chinese team, he said, “was extremely impressed by how conscientious and engaged the U.S. team was with respect to the field portion of the competition.”
Over four days, the surveying teams competed both in field and written tests. The field exercise, originally planned on the National Mall to culminate in measuring a point at the top of the Washington Monument, was moved due to inclement weather to the National Geodetic Survey’s Corbin Training Center in Woodford, Va. As part of the competition, groups of two surveyors from each country’s team worked together on the field component and used their skills to determine a point known only to the judges. The three field surveying aspects of the competition included leveling, traverse and GNSS.
Judges set a rule before the exam that every team must achieve 2-centimeter accuracy to get the full mark. Each team achieved that goal, with Rhumb Line at 4 millimeters, and the other teams ranging from 8.5-9.5 millimeters in accuracy. Three leveling teams achieved zero tolerance, and one team got 1 millimeter.
Trimble and Keystone Precision Instrument supported the event by providing teams with the Trimble S7 Robotic Total Station, Trimble TSC7 Controller, Trimble R10-2 Integrated GNSS System, Trimble DiNi Level and other instruments.
Fu noted that both teams expressed interest in participating in the event again next year.