Wednesday, 21 May 2014

15 Not Out

T1300 - Robust & reliable
Well Almost 15 Years not out!

28th June 1999 - my first day as a qualified Land Surveyor.  I was sent up to the Three Rivers Project in Staines with a Principle Surveyor and Assistant to learn the ropes, with all the kit crammed into an old Toyota Corolla plus the three of us we were off travelling round the M25 in the hammering rain, with the traffic getting heavier, and the rain unrelenting.  We never did get to site!

Cutting Edge at the time
29th June 1999 - my second day as a qualified Land Surveyor, back to Staines with some success this time, although the rain was still hammering down all day.  Spirits undampened I took to the role of setting up the instrument and logging the observations, recording the point code in my yellow book, head down hard at work.  I think we achieved the grand total of about 200 points all day which was probably not helped by me kicking the tripod at least twice and having to re-set up!

Fifteen years is less than half my life (yes you'll be shocked to hear I am over 30), but a lot has changed in that time.  During my first years of surveying we only got a mobile phone if we were above a certain level of seniority, the Internet was very much in its infancy and certainly not a constant distraction at work. Instruments needed an Assistant to work, we couldn't log data very quickly, and the data we did log was just a mass of numbers with very limited ability to add information about the point.  Then once back in the office downloading took long enough to boil the kettle, make the tea and drink it!  We didn't have the wonders of colourful graphics (unless you count the black & blue of dos!).  It was a DOS based processing system comprising of typed commands to get the data into a workable format.  Even at this point we didn't know if the survey was going to work, or if you'd have half the road survey pointing the wrong way because you typed in your opening bearing wrong!

TS Series - All gizmos & gadgets
 Fast forward 15 years, and look where we are now, mobile phones are an essential (albeit annoying) part of every day life - we long for the day our site is down in valley away from mobile phone signal.
 The age of the Survey Assistant is fast dying as instruments are increasingly robotic for one man operation.  Instead of the 200 points in a day, we can now easily top 1500 points in full colour with a mass of information associated with every point, and a plan of the site as you go so you know the survey works before you even reach the office.  Transfer of data from the instrument takes seconds, and within minutes you can have a drawing of the site in front of you which is ready to be tidied and sent to the client!  But then why mess about on site coding points when you can laser scan and get the information in a 3D model of a building in seconds, and it is not just buildings the development of airborne UAV's and drones means you can scan the ground equally as quickly without even leaving the office!
UAV Drone for Aerial Scanning

Was it better 15 years ago, or will it be better in 15 years time......................

Check back in 15 years I might be able to pass comment.  Right now I'm off to watch Back to the Future see if I can work out how that capacitor works, and get the answers sooner!

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