An ode to surveyors
As we wrap up National Surveyor’s week, G-Source would like to show its gratitude to the men who work day in and day out to ensure the world is a well-planned and happy place. This is an ode to the wonderful art and science of surveying and looks at how it has evolved over the years from a niche technique to a worldly accepted and widely used application.
Surveying techniques have existed for several centuries before the sophisticated tools and techniques we see and use today came into existence. When the Nile River overflowed its banks in ancient Egypt and washed out farm boundaries, boundaries were‘re-established’ through the application of simple geometry. The flawlessness and north-south orientation of the Great Pyramid of Giza, built c. 2700 BC, affirm the Egyptians' command of surveying.
One of the earliest surveying tools – Groma, was used by the Egyptians and Romans. A Groma allowed them to mark out right angles and straight lines for use in developing fields, towns, and roads. Although good at marking out two-dimensional angles, the elevation component - the distance in the height of two points was still a major hurdle till 15th century.
In the early part of the 20th century, Heinrich Wild produced theodolites that became popular with surveyors. His Wild T2, T3, and A1 instruments were made for many years, and he would go on to develop the DK1, DKM1, DM2, DKM2, and DKM3 for Kern Aarau company. With continuing refinements instruments steadily evolved into the modern theodolite used by surveyors today. By the end of the 20th century, total stations and GPS base stations that connect to satellites greatly advanced the accuracy and speed of the collection of survey data. The GPS base station connects to a satellite which establishes its point on the GPS grid and records it. A Total Station is set up in a fixed position, and automatically records the field surveyor’s movement from point to point. Additionally, software advancements have changed the way surveys are drawn, from handwritten maps and plots, and software programs that layer in various levels of information to form one final product.
The advent of the 21st century and the rampant increase in technological advancements meant usage of 3D laser scanning and use of LIDAR for unseen and unheard of accuracy in surveying. These technologies allow for every physical point within visible distance to be recorded, both on the surface of the land and vertically, such as utilities, roads, trees, etc. Additionally, mobile mapping allows for survey data to be recorded while in transit, for use in mapping landfill surveys and transportation surveys. The use of drones and drone surveying based on photogrammetry to perform surveys is also being widely used. This allows surveyors to record vast expanses and terrain that is not easy to traverse and have not been surveyed in the past due to the physical challenge of reaching there.
G-Source believes that more than all the technological improvements, it is the ability of surveyors and draftsmen to incorporate these advancements in their challenging at sometimes extremely harsh working environments that has made surveying what it is today. With key decisions relating to taxation, border disputes, smart city developments and many other infrastructure projects related issues depending heavily on accurate surveying, surveyors are very much the unsung heroes of the human evolution story and G-Source would like to take this opportunity to appreciate both the craft and the craftsmen.
G-Source provides the following key differentiators with our land survey services