Saturday, 27 October 2012

Google Earth - useful tool?

The advent of Google earth & it's street viewer (other brands are available) revolutionised the way Surveyors could tender for jobs, we could actually see the site without leaving the comfort of our offices.  This meant less down time was spent on the tendering process, and there were far lower overheads required in preparing the tender (no travel, less time).  If they could bring out an online viewer for tendering internal measured building surveys it would be useful, but I think that really would be an invasion of privacy!

However since 29th June 2005 a lot of time has passed and the images used are becoming increasingly out of date.  Where Google shows a nice grassy site in 2005, by 2012 it's a little more of a challenge with brambles & nettles over your head.  All Surveyors at sometime or other have been caught out by this and under priced a tender.  You can try and get round this using a combination of websites to view the site at different points in time, but without regular updates on the photographs we may see an increasing shift of tendering through site visits coming back, which will of course mean pushing up costs to cover these additional overheads.  Where street viewer hasn't been there is the option of using the birds eye view through Bing which gives you a slightly better idea of the site than the flat aerial images, but again the situation on site is always liable to change - any chance we could get free access to MI5 satellites??

Some weeks ago I did see the 'google' car out and about taking new streams of photographs - I keep checking the site to see if I've made the cut but as yet the images have not be uploaded.  The last picture was taken in March 2009 (according to the site), so that would mean at least three years between images.  Has anyone else found any images from pre 2009?

For more information on the services we offer, please visit our website at, alternatively you can follow us on Twitter (@RLSurveys), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Professional Affliations - friend or foe?

Michael Holiday B.Sc. (HONS), ACSM, MCInstCES, MRICS - hardly rolls off the tongue, and for the most part the letters don't see the light of day, but should they?

Within the surveying industry there are two well respected flag ship bodies - the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES).  I am proud to say I am a fully paid up member of both organisations but there are times I question the need for membership - does it really have long term benefits for me personally or my business?  Each month the magazine drops through the foor, sits on the side for a few days, I have a flock through and then it gets recycled.  OK - occasionally there is an article that peaks my interest, but previously the only benefit of the magazine was a quick scan through the jobs section (now a very rare addition to the magazine).

It has taken me many years to finally complete various application forms, and jump over various hurdles to be accepted as a member whilst constantly questioning the need.  The forms and paper work all lend themselves to Surveyors looking to achieve notoriety in prestige jobs throughout the world.  I know this is the way with the world and there are many other Surveyors not looking for the publicity, but the idea of writing 500 words trying to prove I can do my job!!! (it was a painful time)

Don't get me wrong these bodies have their place, and are essential to the regulation of the industry but they do have the feel of an old boys club - once you're in make sure it's even harder for others to follow!!  The key roles of the RICS are to -

  • Regulate & Promote the Profession
  • Maintain the highest educational & professional standards
  • Protect clients & consumers through a strict code of ethics
  • Provide impartial advice, analysis & guidance.
From my knowledge they do achieve most of these aims, but I am eternally questioning the 'promote the profession' as many people still expect me to be able to value their property,  I'm happy to do this but it is akin to pin the tail on the donkey!

The CICES on the other hand states its objectives as advancing the science and art of Civil Engineering Surveying in all aspects of the specialisms of geospatial engineering and commercial management within civil engineering for the benefit of the public, by upholding and advancing standards of education, competence, practice and conduct of it's members.  Bit of a mouth full, but no mention of promoting the profession which surely is essential to the public understanding of what we do?

But I latest tribulation is an assessor asking me to confirm my involvement in various projects from a Surveying perspective - a seemingly pointless exercise given my current position from tea-maker through to Surveyor via marketing guru!!  But I have to grit my teeth a complete the required text, this must be how the 'for Dummies' book writers must feel at times.  Then I find out that for the past three years I have actually be eligible for Direct Entry - no hoops, no essays, no competencies.  Might be a letter of complaint in the post about that one, but best wait for the ink to dry on the certificate first.

Begrudgingly posing for a photo with RICS Certificate!

Now this direct entry has been achieved I wait with baited breath to see the impact of my new Chartered status on my career, fingers crossed it will be the launch pad for something big as we are now able to undertake Boundary Disputes to the fullest extent.

More details on the company, and services we offer can be found at, and you can stay in touch with our activities & achievements through our facebook page, or through twitter (@RLSurveys).