Web Exclusive: My Survey Truck

January 29, 2009
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Like each survey plat we produce, each surveyor has a unique way of setting up his or her own survey truck. What does your truck look like?

I've noticed that, like each survey plat we produce, each surveyor has a unique way of setting up his or her own survey truck. So, for the last couple of years, it's been a vision of mine to create a platform where we surveyors can show off our survey vehicles--all in the interest of having some competitive fun of course. And POB is making it happen. 

In the coming months, POB will be compiling "My Survey Truck," an online feature showcasing your survey vehicles. "My Survey Truck" will highlight not only how you set up your survey truck, but why and how. Why did you choose to build a wooden box instead of buying a premade one, and with what parameters did you design it? What makes your truck special over all the others? Why do you organize it the way you do? What special features does your truck have that your colleagues may not?

Your participation, of course, is essential. And it's easy. Simply submit your answers to the following questions along with a maximum of six photos (.jpg or .tif attachments) that show off your truck (be sure to include yourself in one of them). Then send your submission to lyonsw@bnpmedia.com by Friday, Feb. 27.

Name, Credentials:
Survey Duties:
Survey Equipment:Special Features and Comments:
What I like most about my truck:
What I like least about my survey truck:

To officially launch "My Survey Truck," here's my entry:

My Survey Truck

Name: Joseph D. Fenicle, PS

Title: Chief Surveyor

Employer: Office of the Fulton County Engineer, Wauseon, Ohio

Survey Duties: Boundary, Topographic, Construction, GPS, Corner Recovery and Remonumentation

Vehicle(s): 1998 Chevy 1500 4x4 w/2006 John Deere Gator HPX 4x4

Survey Equipment: Trimble 4700 & 4800 RTK GPS, Sokkia Set 4BII, tripods, rods, etc.

Special Features and Comments: My survey truck, Unit 5, has been pieced together by multiple surveyors over a span of 10 years. The box is custom-made to fit the equipment and surveying supplies necessary to complete the required field work. The extended cab provides an excellent place to store most of the GPS components and keep them secure. The GPS receiver sits on brackets on top of the box; it is very convenient and makes for quick initialization. There is a small set of drawers that is bolted on top of the box that holds all of the survey nails, shiners, ribbons, caps, etc. I have also bolted down an old milk crate to hold railroad spikes, bolts, hubs, etc. The total station and level sit in a depressed portion of the box and are surrounded with padding. Pelican cases hold the prisms and tribrachs in the cab of the truck. The Gator is mainly used for right-of-way staking and large ditch surveys. The truck also has an AMS distance measuring system installed, which is one of my favorite options while doing construction staking and searching for section corners.

What I like most about my truck: Since 1995, I have worked out of about a dozen different survey trucks, and each has had its own special features. My current survey truck is a blend of each of my past trucks put together. I like how the GPS receiver sits under the cap of the truck but can still keep lock on satellites for quick initialization. We do a lot of section corner referencing, recovery and remonumentation, and the truck is specifically set up for ease of operation in all three aspects. I rarely use the four-wheel drive, but when it is used, it is absolutely necessary. I also like the "suicide" doors on the extended cab for maximum working and storage space. I am sold on working out of a truck compared to the various vans I have worked out of in the past.

What I like least about my survey truck: For the most part, I am happy with the size and features of my survey truck. In upcoming years, I will be replacing my truck, and the only thing I will suggest is to upsize to a crew cab and a ¾ ton. I would also like to mount the cones on the front to clear up some space in the back and install wig wag lights in addition to the top mounted strobe.


The purpose of "My Survey Truck" will be to share our ideas and help others make their survey truck better and more efficient. So, what does your survey truck look like? I look forward to seeing your entries.

Joseph D. Fenicle, PS

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