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 Surveyor 2.0 – What Land Surveyors Can Do Today

The profession of land surveying has constantly evolved. Basic principles of trigonometry are still at the foundation of land measurements, but the roles of a land surveyor, the tools that are employed and the governance surrounding land divisions have been a continuous story of change. Today’s successful land surveyor has found a way to survive the changes to his business that have come with the automation of machines. He’s not building muscles by pounding hundreds of stakes in the ground, but instead marking property lines and locating various infrastructures. Three-dimensional digital drawings are driving the machines that used to rely on operators being guided by wooden stakes that were placed there by a land surveyor. This recent evolution within land surveying requires the surveyor to embrace the changes that have come with our digital world.

Land Surveyor 2.0 must possess skills beyond land definition, planning and measurements. Weaving data from various sources into a cloud based resource is the new trend.

land surveyor
The idea of Surveyor 2.0 is not mine. I heard it at a recent conference where the concept was presented by Mr. CheeHai Teo, the director of FIG (Fédération Intenationale des Géomètres). FIG is the oldest continuously operating organization devoted to the affairs of land surveyors worldwide. His ideas caught my curiosity and I could easily relate his comments to the current state of affairs with surveyors I know myself. Mr. Teo stated that Land Surveyor 2.0 must Measure, Model and Manage.

land surveyor
What does this mean today on the modern construction site? For a land surveyor, it’s not about staking points and alignments anymore. The machines can cut the lines and trim the elevations to match the digital models without a lot of wood in the ground. It has become more about establishing control and setting property lines. According to Tim Smith of Professional Land Surveying Inc. in Southern California, the modern land surveyor has lost an intimacy with the land on many construction projects. He may see a project in the very early stages and then not again until it’s almost completely built. Now his decisions must be based on data and not experience. The data are not just his measurements, field notes and property descriptions; data cannot always be analyzed with maps and spreadsheets alone. Visualization of the data while applying a variety of filters is one method of bringing the data to life. This allows the data to be manipulated in new and useful ways.

The sources and the tools for analyzing data have been evolving alongside Land Surveyor 2.0. A familiar example of this is Google Earth. Virtually any place on the planet can be viewed from an aerial perspective and many places are even accompanied with ground based photographs that can be sewn together. Several surveyors I know today are using Google Earth to get an idea about the terrain surrounding their project site before they visit it in person. But Google Earth is not limited to imagery. There are various overlays that can be applied. Street names, public transportation corridors, bodies of waters, civil boundaries and other layers can be viewed on top of the satellite images.

For Land Surveyor 2.0, these additional data layers include all of the data and meta-data from his previous surveys, active and passive monument information surrounding his project areas, inventory of available tools, licensing requirements, employees availability, customer schedules, finances, change orders, etc. As you can see, some of these layers are related to geography while others are related to resources or administration. Land Surveyor 2.0 must manage and integrate these layers into an efficient machine that allows him to access all of the data he needs to make informed choices in real-time. What does this look like and how does a company get there? The road is not easy, but it’s not impossible either. Many surveying firms have found that the Esri suite of software products can help them achieve these goals.

In a perfect world, Land Surveyor 2.0 has all of his historical work digitized and organized. He is able to locate the field notes for any particular survey within seconds or minutes without the necessity of digging though old log books and paper maps. He can filter his search to look by date, location, customer name, type of survey, etc. He can graphically display his projects on a live interactive map. The projects can be displayed through various filters so that trends over time or topic can be revealed. For instance, Land Surveyor 2.0 is able to state what percentage of his business is devoted to construction surveys. He can dig down and identify key customers and regions within these construction surveys. The financial aspect of the construction surveys is another layer so that determinations based on profitability can be intelligently made. Land Surveyor 2.0 does not waste a lot of time reconnoitering job sites because he can easily and quickly recover all of his field notes and control points from previous surveys surrounding the current area of interest. He accesses public data from the cloud for proximal surveys done by others and integrates all of this information into a virtual project.

Land Surveyor 2.0 is connected to the world in real-time. He is spatially enabled. His decisions are based on information that is up to date.

Digital drawings are shared on the web so that change orders and other adjustments can be updated constantly. land Surveyor 2.0 is now charged with providing analysis and advice to his customers based on this live and ever changing world. While historical experience is advantageous in the decision making process, land Surveyor 2.0 must have access and be able to analyze many sources of data and then weave them into a digital realization so that the machines can go out and move dirt into the right places.

Land Surveyor 2.0 is a GIS professional….. This statement will probably cause angst among many licensed land surveyors. It shouldn’t. The task of maintaining and controlling these survey layers is very similar to what many GIS managers do with other data layers is very similar to what many GIS managers do with other data layers. Land Surveyor 2.0 is licensed to ensure the highest levels of precision and accuracy within the survey layers of data. Land Surveyor 2.0 has become a specialized GIS analyst that is authorized by his government to make decisions about land divisions and boundaries. The GIS and Surveying industries have been trying to “Bridge the Gap” for many years and land Surveyor 2.0 is closer to this bridge than ever before. Surveying firms that have adopted this model are doing so because this is what it takes to stay in business in their markets. They need the competitive edge that accompanies access to data. Their GIS, their way of managing their business is helping them make more money.

credits to: Mr. Joe Sass of Machine Control Online

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.

Welcome to Montgomery Land Surveying

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Welcome to Montgomery Land Surveying’s website

This site is intended to provide you with information on Land Surveying in the Montgomery, AL, and Montgomery County area of Alabama. If you’re looking for a Montgomery Land Surveyor, you’ve come to the right site. If you’d rather talk to someone about your land surveying needs, please call  (334) 625-9540 today. For more information, please continue to read.

montgomery land surveyingLand Surveyors are professionals who measure and make precise measurements to determine the size and boundaries of a piece of real estate.  While this is a simplistic definition, boundary surveying is one of the most common types of surveying related to home and land owners. If you fall into the following categories, please click on the appropriate link for more information on that subject:

Montgomery Land Surveying services:

  1. I need to know where my property corners or property lines are. (Boundary Survey)
  2. I have a loan closing or re-finance coming up on my home in a subdivision. (Lot Survey)
  3. I need a map of my property with contour lines to show elevation differences for my architect or engineer. (Topo Survey)
  4. I’ve just been told I’m in a flood zone or I ‘ve been told I need an elevation certificate in order to obtain flood insurance or prove I don’t need it. (Flood Survey)
  5. I’m purchasing a lot/house in a recorded subdivision. (Lot Survey – See Boundary Survey)
  6. I’m purchasing a larger tract of land, acreage, that hasn’t been subdivided in the past. (Boundary Survey)

If your needs don’t fall into one of the above, don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of it. CALL Montgomery Land Surveying TODAY at (334) 625-9540 OR better yet, fill out a Contact Form request to discuss your survey needs.