About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents
 
advertisement


Subscriptions
Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
     RTN
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By


Product Reviews
Partner Sites

machinecontrolonline 


lbszone.com

GISuser.com

GeoJobs.biz

GeoLearn

 

Spatial Media LLC properties

Associates

ASPRS

newsnow 

Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Software, Fieldwork Pay Off for Geomatics Students Print E-mail
Written by Robert Galvin   
Saturday, 06 February 2016

A 3.833Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Students in the geomatics classes at the Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada are getting a head start on their pursuit of a surveying career thanks to two key factors: a devoted surveyor-turned-instructor, and a powerful survey software program that is streamlining the college's once difficult curriculum.

Bob Watson, the geomatics instructor and a former private surveying consultant, recalls when his students were using a cumbersome survey software packed with too many unneeded features and that was focused on design engineering tasks. This prompted Watson to contact Canada-based MicroSurvey, Inc., a maker of surveying software, to ask if it would provide the college's geomatics students with site licenses of the company's popular and widely used MicroSurvey CAD. Watson had used the company's DOS-based software for field survey calculations back in the 1980's and remembered finding it easy to use and very fast. Giving his students exposure to MicroSurvey CAD software, Watson believed, would pave the way toward helping them launch a successful surveying career.

MicroSurvey Software agreed and worked out an arrangement to equip Red River College with MicroSurvey CAD licenses for the 2013 to 2015 geomatics classes.

After Mastering Software, Students Undertake `Work Cooperatives'
Watson said transitioning from the older software to the newer software package was smooth, and that students were able to work much faster. "Now, I have students who can wrap up a drawing in one class," Watson said. "Before, with the older method, it took twice as long."

The course work for surveying students at Red River College is intense and lengthy. Courses with titles like Survey Computations, Advanced Survey Computations, and Applied Research Project are what students can expect.

After students complete their first year of classes, they go out for a six-month "work cooperative." Under this arrangement, the students are hired by engineering consulting firms, construction companies, or companies doing survey work. Once a cooperative ends, the students return to classes for another six months followed by another cooperative. In the second and third years of the program, students are exposed more directly to surveying instruction, but also to some civil components such as roadway design (highways, curves, intersections).

"We cover all of this (in the classes) because not every student will be hired for land surveying," Watson noted, pointing out that engineering consultants are increasingly using GPS and total stations, as well as multistations and laser scanners to capture point clouds for 3D modeling. "If these consultants want to stay in the forefront in the business and want to be proactive, they must have the right equipment," Watson added. "Our students are getting hired for those jobs."

Software Sharpens Skills, Makes Students More Tech Savvy For Jobs
During 2015, the college had its first group of graduates from the geomatics curriculum and who were taught exclusively on the new software. This was a proud moment for both the college and Instructor Watson, who noted "There is a direct correlation between the software and how it will enhance students' (surveying) abilities as they graduate."

Watson said many surveying firms are already using MicroSurvey CAD and are eager to hire the students because they already know the software. For firms that are using other software packages, the students transition well. "This is because we've given them a toolkit and now it's a matter of how they will use those tools,"Watson said. "They pretty adaptive, and tech savvy."

After Cooperatives, Students Suggest New Surveying Techniques
After Red River College's geomatics students get some real-world surveying experience by working in the cooperatives, they bring a fresh perspective back to the college's geomatics classes. Students might ask about doing surveys a different way because the survey firm they worked with collected data differently than in their geomatics classes. "Sometimes when they suggest different ways of performing data collection and other aspects of surveying, I can incorporate this in my instruction," Watson said. For example, in one of Watson's classes, students were tackling a commercial building location certificate (BLC). A feature in MicroSurvey CAD called "house" allows the user to select the corner of a house and the property line, and then the software provides the perpendicular tie. Watson was performing this function differently in COGO (coordinate geometry). "Students told me the shortcut function in MicroSurvey CAD was built right into the software's dropdown menu," Watson revealed. "So, I said, `let's use it'."

Software Earns High Marks For Speedy Functions, Time Savings, New Techniques
From Watson's perspective, tapping the survey software company to acquire its CAD program has paid big dividends for the college's geomatics classes. The software has proved faster than other programs and given more time for students to learn about different aspects of surveying. So far, 46 students have taken the geomatics course of study, 24 of whom are seniors. This works out well since Watson tries to put groups of two students on equipment such as RTK GPS and total stations equipped with electronic data collectors. When students are done surveying, they put a flash drive into the data collector, download the data points, then transfer those points right into the drawing software. "It's absolutely seamless," Watson said.

Watson has been dazzled with the results he's witnessed in his classes through the aid of the software provided by MicroSurvey. "They've done things with the software that I didn't expect," Watson said. For example, some students have incorporated imagery into their site plans. If a person zoomed in on one of these images where the drawing information had been overlaid on it, he could actually see this overlay of all the survey work.

In another instance, Watson said that when students were building a construction layout using the software, he had a ninety percent efficiency rate with the layouts students produced. This bodes well for students who leave Red River College's geomatics classes for employment in the construction field. Watson noted that the greatest percentage of his students who graduate enter the construction and engineering consulting professions because of the constant need for fresh, new talent. Also, a growing number of survey firms focused on engineering work are pursuing machine control, such as road graders and other heavy equipment, because students from the geomatics classes who work for these firms know how to use GPS. This has been a real boon for local firms since students can use a GPS application on a laptop in tandem with a 3D model of the existing ground where machines are being used for excavation.

The training and software that Red River College has in place is giving students the skills they need to succeed in the professional field. According to Watson, "The fact that students can transfer data from their survey equipment into a software program like the newer CAD software that was donated and generate high quality, detailed drawings or 3D models is exactly what consultants and contractors want. Then they can upload the drawings and perform the stakeout and position everything on the ground."

Understandably, when students go on their co-ops, there are certain aspects of surveying for which there is simply not enough time to teach back in the classroom. But Watson isn't worried. After all, he affirmed, "When the students work in a survey firm as part of their co-op, they get to enhance their field capabilities with the skill sets they have."

Robert Galvin is a freelance writer who covers surveying technology and trends. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

A 3.833Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Editorial 
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
 
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article
 

deliciousrssnewsletterlinkedinfacebooktwitter

Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
please
contact Amerisurv


Google
 
AMERISURV TOP NEWS

JAVAD Intros
Spoofer Buster

GOT NEWS? Send To
press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content

Sponsor


News Feeds

 
Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps
Careers

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

 

Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 

twitter

 




The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-620-0784
301-695-1538 - fax