Andy of Nevada City Engineering told us he recently bought a new robot. “It’s just another example of how dramatically surveying has changed over my 47-year career. The math and purposes of surveying haven’t changed, nor have the legal principles governing how boundaries are determined. But at its heart, land surveying is about measuring the earth and the methods of measuring have advanced incredibly.

For centuries, the tools of measurement were the transit and the steel chain or tape. A transit is basically a telescope with cross hairs carefully mounted on horizontal and vertical protractors to measure angles. When I started my career, transits had morphed into high precision, compact theodolites. Distance measurements were still made by an ultra-thin steel tape, a vast improvement over the actual chain used to survey our region after the Gold Rush. However, steel tapes still needed corrections for tension and temperature.

Our robot is a combination theodolite, electronic distance measurer, and surveying computer all in one. After it is manually set up, it tracks the rodman with no one standing behind it. The rodman is the party chief that controls it all and gathers info into the robot’s data collector. The contents of the data collector are downloaded to an
AutoCAD computer and become instantly available for drafting, calculations, and engineering design.

Then there is Global Positioning Systems or GPS. We’re used to having GPS in our phone and car, but surveying requires that GPS positioning be much more accurate, in the neighborhood of an inch or so. Survey GPS is limited by tree crowns in many areas of the Sierra, but still has many applications and we use it wherever it will save a client money.

As the cost of professional labor and general business overhead has increased over the years, this modern equipment saves time and money in a big way, assuring clients of the best possible efficiencies as we provide surveying, planning, and engineering work. We are happy to provide free estimate for all surveying, planning, and civil engineering services anytime.”

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