Posted By Humphrey Bwayo Posted On


Over the last couple of years, I have developed a keen interest in architecture, landscape, design, and homesteading—with regards to sustainable living. In the process of my research, reading related literature, consulting industry experts, and friends (Thanks a lot Mr. Kelonye, for your YouTube GIS classes), I discovered the success of any structural setup relies on surveying.

With advanced tech and ever-evolving infrastructure, the role of the surveyor is currently extremely significant. There are a growing number of disciplines, including navigation, mapping, and global positioning systems that concern the modern surveyor.

Surveying, in the broadest sense, is the profession, technique, and the science that is used to determine the contour and dimensions of the earth’s surface. It is an essential science when it comes to construction and design. This science is not new and has existed for decades in one form or the other. It’s even believed that Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt were created with the assistance of some kind of ancient surveyor.

While the tools and techniques used in this science have changed over time, the underlying principles of the measurements and mapping are still the same and used today. Fortunately, with the advancement of new technology, a surveyor is now able to take measurements and report data with much more speed and accuracy as compared to their ancient counterparts.

What Are Some of the Advanced Surveying Equipment Available?

The best part about this is, modern surveyors get to use the latest gadgets and gizmos to get their work done efficiently and effectively. They don’t need to spend months laying ropes like ancient Egyptians to determine contours.

Instead, they use equipment such as total stations (cost about $50k per piece) to electronically calculate the distances from hundreds of meters away down to the very last centimeter with lots of accuracies. Moreover, with the help of robotics, surveyors can control the total stations by remote control and at a safe distance.

3D laser scanners

These gadgets are used to understand and interpret the shape of things such as; land or buildings by collecting clouds of points to come up with a digital 3D model. These new technology instruments are usually used by surveyors to provide data to architects that are accurate to the land that they will ultimately start building on.

Satellite Positioning Systems

With the help of satellite positioning systems, surveyors can measure features or points found anywhere on the planet from space. The data that is collected by these systems can be used to control large infrastructure projects or even used to provide information for navigation systems that are found inside vehicles today.

GIS software

This program is used to capture and analyze data for the creation of digital maps of areas. This high-tech software is used to create useable applications such as Google maps, which will, in turn, be used by millions of people to find locations all over the world.

Deep tows

They are deep ocean floor survey systems and, in most cases, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that are fitted with sonar systems and cameras and towed at low speeds through the water using cables that measure several thousand meters in length.


Perhaps the most popular gadget on the market today. Also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). They come in many different models, functionalities, and sizes that are all dependent on functionality and application.

A lot of people are familiar with their military applications; however, drones today are used for their recreation and commercial purposes. They are cheaper and nimbler than the traditional aircraft, and best of all, carry the same types of advantages of both aerial mapping and photography.  Surveyor can use drones to take pictures and survey geographical areas without physically being present at the locations.

Bottom line

There’s a lot to look at in the future when it comes to surveying, especially with Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and cloud-based data storage as a norm. It’s prone to make the science of surveying more valuable, comprehensive, and accurate, bringing forth a new age of intricate designs that were in the past only possible in fiction.

Source list


Applied Technology

Construction Review Online

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