Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

A licensed land surveyor trusts his GPS system like  his gun in a battlefield. Though it sometimes do not provide all the info that you may need, it is nonetheless very helpful in producing an accurate boundary survey.

Many have heard of “Big Brother” being able to track our movements. One of my favorite TV shows is “Person of Interest” where a secret machine keeps track of all conversations and people’s “criminal intent” in order to help the heroes stop the crimes before they happen.

While I’m SURE that there are tracking capabilities in most cell phones and different government agencies CAN track our locations, we might be a ways away them being able to determine criminal intent.  But there IS a recent application in England that I found very interesting.

licensed land surveyorNestle (yes, the chocolate company) is placing GPS Trackers in six KIT KAT bars in their aptly named “We’ll Find You” marketing campaign in the UK. When the person opens the package it notifies KIT KAT and the prize delivery team will find them within 24 hours and present them with a check for £10,000 (about $16,000.) See the article here.

Just about all new type cell phones, all smart phones, iPads and other tablets, lots of cars (more than you think), public transportation vehicles, golf carts, and watches have GPS devices in them now days. Another place they are, and rightly so, are in ankle monitors used by law enforcement. But, what you might not realize is that the electronic devices mentioned above can work just like the ankle monitor. Now, while it is true that you can disable the GPS tracking device in your cell phone or tablet, that doesn’t give all of us complete comfort in walking around with these devices on us.

Now, I’m not trying to be a conspiracy wonk here, but it is POSSIBLE that this could be taken advantage of by well-meaning agencies. And, as we know, law enforcement can make mistakes in identifying the correct suspect.  Of course, as a licensed land surveyor myself, I WANT emergency services to be able to find me if and when I need their service, so this is a double edged sword. Most of us probably have nothing to worry about in this regard, but if you worry about this sort of thing, it could keep you up at night.

licensed land surveyorEven as a licensed land surveyor, having used GPS technology in land surveying for almost 20 years, I still trust them more than I should.

One example is when I was in an unfamiliar town my GPS navigation device told me to take a “road” to the right. I slowed down and attempted to turn but it was a power line.  Not wanting to believe that Gizell was wrong (yes I named her), I went to the next street and turned and tried to find the “road” further back. I ended up driving down the sandy power line, which turned into a bike lane until I was finally stopped by a gate. As I backed down the bike lane looking for a turn-around spot I thought, “maybe this wasn’t a road and maybe my GPS device is fallible.” Of course, I soon justified Gizell by recalling that a human had to “digitize” the roads in and she just did what they programmed her to do.

If you need to turn off your GPS tracking device in order to sleep tonight, call your device’s customer service line and stay away from KIT KAT bars. If you would like to find out how GPS surveying technology can help you in surveying your property boundary, call a Licensed Land Surveyor at Montgomery Land Surveying at (334) 625-9540.

Using GPS in Land Surveying

Land surveying is a profession that greatly utilize the GPS system.

ladn surveyingToday, man-made constellations are in orbit. Their purpose is to provide instant, exact and global positioning information. This global positioning system of GPS is revolutionizing the modern construction sites, automating and guiding land surveying equipment, providing instantaneous circles and volume gap, simplifying total and controlled surveys. Nearly everyone involved in the land surveying and construction industry has heard something about satellite positioning technology or maybe you or someone you know is already using it. Whether an operator or a casual observer, there are still many questions about how this exciting system really works.

These positioning satellites don't stay in one place like the stars; they orbit the earth about twice a day. Constantly transmitting uniquely identified radio signals that can be perceived by specialized units on earth. These signals are used to precisely measure the distance to the receiving instrument from each satellite visibly overhead.

Just as stars have exact locations in the sky, the locations of the GPS satellites are also defined, becoming orbiting reference points. Using a process based on triangulation, a GPS receiver processes the signals from multiple satellites to compute an accurate position on Earth, which is why it is widely use in land surveying.

For mobile applications that require high accuracy, such as three dimensional machine control, there are two requirements that must be met. First, the signals from a minimum of five satellites must be received at all times. And second, those five satellites must be distributed across the sky. This is called Dilution of Precision or DOP. The simple rule of thumb is this, the more satellites received the better your system will perform.

land surveyingAll land surveying receivers incorporate standard GPS tracking technology; unfortunately the GPS satellite constellation alone cannot continuously make the minimum requirement of accurate mobile positioning. For any given location, there are times in a day when there are less than five available satellites or very poor DOP.

Now, consider a land surveying job site with trees, buildings, or other obstructions when satellite receptions are easily be further reduced. All land surveying GPS receivers suffer this same problem because they all use the same satellites to operate.

Even the planned signal modernization to the GPS satellites won't solve this problem. An obstruction that blocks one signal blocks all signals from that satellite. A land surveying equipment provider has solved this problem. The solution isn't adding more signals from the same satellites; it's adding more satellites.

Today, there is a second positioning satellite constellation in operation, the Glonass System. This positioning system is operated and maintained by the Russian government; much like the GPS is operated and maintained by the United States government; combining these two satellite constellations give land surveyors access to 38 different satellites; 14 more than a GPS-only system.

The additional satellites mean stronger and more accurate positions and better performance in obstructed land surveying areas. These additional satellites mean maximum up time in all land surveying locations, in all conditions.

For an up to date and accurate land surveying service, contact Montgomery Land Surveying at (334) 625-9540 or better yet, you may fill out our contact form request and a licensed land surveyor will contact you. 

Land Surveyors: Leaving Their Marks

Men and women who combine their sense of adventure, their love of technology, and also their talents in making things happen with their desire to leave a lasting impression are the people who joined the ever expanding realm of land surveying.

land surveyorsLand surveying is likely one of the world's most vital occupations. It's the only job qualified to form new property boundaries. Moreover, land surveyors also play a significant part in the construction of incredible architectural accomplishmentsfrom the historical achievements that are ages old to the impressive buildings today. As a matter of fact, three of the gents on Mount Rushmore are land surveyors themselves.

Geographic Information System or GIS experts and staff rely upon surveyors for mapping details. The task of your land surveyor has shaped the world as we know it; and it all starts off with small survey markers. It might be merely a small orange survey marker, but this mark is one of the millions that the surveyor uses to take detailed measurements that would become maps which will someday become amazing buildings, new roads, master planned communities, or entire cities – and in each step along the way is a surveyor.

Land surveyors specialize in many positions:

Photogrammetric surveying

In the Office, photogrammetric surveyors deal with cutting-edge software and state of the art machine.

Boundary Surveying

These are land surveyors who do in depth reference research studying maps and boundaries spanning centuries.

Construction Surveying

Within the area, construction surveyors are the power behind any growth; these people team up with engineers to ensure that the structures are constructed within its area and coincide with the type of land where it's built on.

Hydrographic surveying

Hydrographic surveyors take their work to the lake or sea, determining depths, borders, and a lot more. Geodesy involves surveying where you can acquire specific dimensions for satellite.

Land Surveyors may also find themselves inside the court room. They also perform a vital role in providing expert testimonies with regards to boundaries or even in assisting crime scene cases which involves land.

Qualifications of land surveyors

With merely a high school diploma, anyone can begin as a surveyor, an on the job training that would last for just six weeks, field training, and union apprenticeship. However, a lot of land surveyors are degree holders. Local community universities may offer programs or a two year comprehensive program in land surveying. Incomes tend to be greater than average career fields that need a 4 year college diploma or if these people acquire a degree or higher, they could begin management or one of the many specializations.

The Essence of Land Surveying

According to research, land surveying has existed ever since the beginning of recorded history. They believe that it has long been used in making the great pyramids; in which historians believe to be very accurate in the calculation of its land area. It was also used in ancient Egypt in re-establishing lost land boundary markers whenever Nile River overflowed its banks. Finally, historians believe that prominent people back then created this practice in order to have refined sharing of the lands they own.

land surveyingAlso, there are verses in the Bible that support the practice of land surveying

  •  Proverbs 22:28 Do not move the ancient boundary, which your fathers have set. 
  •  Deuteronomy 19:14 "You shall not move your neighbor's boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God gives you to possess.
  • Deuteronomy 27:17 'Cursed is he who moves his neighbor's boundary mark.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.' 

Now what does land surveying really mean?

Land surveying basically means measuring and mapping lands. It is the science of accurately calculating the land’s area; determining the points of distance between a land and another. The actual purpose of this is to establish land maps and set boundaries for ownership. It is commonly used in the execution of nearly every form of construction.  The system of land surveying has proved itself to be a very important factor in the development of human environment as the earth’s surface continues to change according to the lifestyle of people.

land surveyingJust imagine a world where people freely claim an area of land for their benefit without even thinking of the others. Imagine people crossing over another person’s land because there are no borders that would express the ownership of anyone. Imagine people building any construction they want in any land they prefer. Or just simply imagine your neighbors removing your fences. If this happens, it would lead to chaos. That is why land surveying has been made to follow.

The importance of land surveying is identical to its purpose. It is responsible in the establishment of the maps of every city, region, country, continent or the earth itself. Through this system, there would be definite borders blocking any people from owning what another person owns. With this procedure, the distribution of the vast space of land would be fair enough. Everything would be organized and regulated.  This would mean that the buildings, railroads and even our houses would be made without having any complications.

As you can see in books, magazines, websites and other things that contain information about our world’s structure, we can see that there are boundaries which separate one place from another. This diminishes the complications in the ownership of lands among people. Since humans tend to get selfish, it is best to have everything in order, up to the issue of allocating land areas for everyone. This is the real essence of land surveying.

Call Montgomery Land Surveying today at (334) 625-9540  or fill out a contact form request for more information concerning your land surveying needs.