Sunday, 26 August 2012

The funnier side of Surveying

Life is too short to take everything seriously, and there is endless fun to be had on site without affecting the result.  I've managed to have an apple fight with a Survey Manager from one reputable company, and ended up sitting in a parked car in the Birmingham red light district at around midnight (for work purposes!).  Best not name names as they are still trying to be respectable!  Where to begin, I've tried to put them into groups and keep them brief - some of you might even recognise them -

Messing About on The River

1) Carrying out a number of cross sections on the river Stour through Canterbury.  The final section of the day I put on the chest high waders for the final time, slowly entered the water to avoid any accidents and find the bottom with my feet.  OK all set to work so I step forward and find out I wasn't quite at the bottom - now the waders seem a little pointless as they are full of ice cold water!!!  Luckily it's a nice day and I have a change of clothes but getting out of the waders, and then getting the waders out of the water was no mean feet!

2)  A colleague puts on his dry suit, and gamely leaps into the water just as I kindly offer the comment you should really have done the zip up first!!  Luckily the water was not deep, just cold!

3)  A blazing hot summers day up on the River Darenth as it meanders its way through the grounds of Hall Place.  Kids are in the river, jumping around and splashing about - a lovely spot for a days surveying except under the 'Health & Safety' requirements I'm going to be wearing a full dry suit.  Sometimes I think it can be a little ridiculous!!

4) Again on the Darenth but this time a disused mooring point, happily clambering around in my dry suit surveying the pertinent points, until I slip, drop the pole and  cling to the mooring for all I'm worth.  I pull myself back up and the first question I get asked - 'where's the pogo'.  Nothing like enquiring as to my well being.

5)  Final river story - "are you sure about the tide times because we're paddling this dinghy & going no where!"  We made it in the end, but more by dragging ourselves along the reeds than paddling.

Computing Errors

1) A common AutoCAD mistake highlighted - "So when you searched and replaced all the text 'IL' and replaced it with nothing, did you not wonder what a Stock Pe was, or perhaps a Toet??  Computers have a good side & a bad side, one they do exactly what there are told, however they DO do exactly what they are told!

2)  Scanning through some river sections there was a funny dot which kept appearing, upon closer examination and many times zoom someone had kindly drawn a fish in all the sections!

Equipment Malfunctions

1) Surveyor "ok, all done everything's loaded, lets go".  We pull away the boot opens and the instrument falls out onto the road- whoops! (For all those wondering we did check the calibration the next morning and no damage done)

2) Assistant - "I can't get this GPS rucksack working more than about 10m from the start".  Surveyor - "Perhaps you should screw the aerial in!"

3) A team of 4-5 Surveyors are out doing a GPS survey of various points in a 10mile radius.  To this end a based station is established with a generator to ensure power for the required period, and one member of staff is left to guard said kit.  The remainder of us go of and start co-ordinating points.  The next morning the Survey Manager asks one simple question - "At what point did you fall asleep and miss the generator being taken!".

4)  First day in her new job, her only job is to sit with the GPS base station for the day on top of a hill on a baking hot day.  So we set her up with drinks, a book & the paper and head off.  The days work goes well, and we pick her up at the end of the day looking a little tired & sun burnt.  She didn't come back to work again!

Odds & Sods

1) Wandering along a stretch of open land near a dyke I warn the guy following about a ditch which I immedately misjudge and fall into!!

2) Staying away in a nice pub near Leatherhead, we come down in the morning to the sight of the landlord in his Y-fronts, on the phone having a smoke.  He looks up and says "hang on and I'll cook your breakfast in a minute"!

3) Surveyor (I'll confess me!) on a site in Hampstead - "Where exactly is the instrument, because it's not in the boot!"

4) Surveyor on the same site moments later- "you did pick the logger up?".  Assistant - "no it's still on a wall in south east London".  Amazingly it was still there at the end of the day though!!

5) Health & Safely gone mad - "you have to were full hi-vis, hard hats, gloves & goggles when working on site" - comment "you do understand we are just driving from one end of the road to the other at 2am!!"

6)  Back to university days I try to observe a prisim 50m away down a dark tunnel with various lights trying to highlight the target.  I sight the prisim and hit distance......nothing, so I check the sighting press distance again.......nothing.  So I try a different battery, ask someone else to check the sighting, check instrument stability & wipe down the prisim.  No problems, it must be a disto problem, so off I trott to find the lecturer.  Upon our return he takes one look and laughs.  Did I mention this was a damp wet tunnel with looks of still puddles.  I've managed to sight the reflection of the prisim in a puddle!!

7)  A project many years ago was GPS control for photogrammetry.  We needed to co-ordinate a point on each of the aerial photographs, and provide a station description with location photograph.  Not an exciting job, but to take our mind off things we decided that all our photos should have an animal in - felling rather proud we'd managed horse, sheep, dog, cat, bird, cow, human & tiger.  Yes tiger!!!

8)  Finally carrying out a measured building survey, 90% of the work complete but I needed to get into the residential area.  It was about 11am so I knocked, and the guy let me in and told me to carry on.  So I happily measured up a few rooms, then moved onto the bedroom.  I'd finished positioning the walls, and was about to start adding symbols when the sheets on the bed moved & his girlfriends  head appeared.  Scared the life out of me, so seems unbothered by the whole thing and just went back to sleep!

If it doesn't affect your career or current position feel free to share some more, we all have these stories embarassing, stupid or just plan silly.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Discovering East Kent

The sun wasn't out and the sky wasn't blue, but at least it wasn't raining!!  Off on a day trip with the photographer to try and gather some images of our website - the general remit to highlight the Kent countryside with a business tilt towards Surveying - and here are some of the results.

The day started badly, in attempts to reach the Wye crown we wandered off the wrong way (not a good advertisement for a Surveyor!!), and with the weather looking ominous we decided to accept the views for a few photos and move on inland towards Canterbury to try and get a few images showing the cathedral and surrounding streets - much more successful this time we found the cathedral!!  Although we did manage to get a statue operating the instrument!!?

From Canterbury we meandered across to Deal for the pier & boats along the shingle beach, and with patches of blue sky things were looking up.  A few arty shots later along the beach we moved on down to coast towards Dover and the delights of the seafront/castle via a quiet beach for the 'pensive' shots.

Dover led us on to Samphire Hoe, and then down to Rye (OK East Sussex not Kent but close enough), before coming back to Ashford.  Does anyone know of somewhere other than International House where you can get a good shot of Ashford, we tried the beacon view point on Singleton Hill, and round the back of the Village Hall in Great Chart but the trees have grown up so much you can't really get a good view.

We achieved the Downs, the Beaches, the Cathedrals, the Castles, the Windmills, the coastline, the cities, and the business centre Ashford (not THE business centre, but our business centre).

Perhaps next time we'll take a different tour covering the joys of West & North Kent, so any landmarks or suggestions would be greatly received.

More images from our day out will gradually appear through our website, and Facebook.  Your feedback on them will be gratefully received and passed on.

As always more details of the services we offer can be found at, or you can keep in touch with us on Twitter (@RLSurveys), Facebook & LinkedIN.