Point of Beginning

Highlights in Surveying

May 14, 2008


In its fourth year running, our exclusive contest was the best so far. And with four times more entries than last year, our judges were definitely challenged in their task to choose only three winners. Our contest and its winners are proof of the influence that surveyors and mappers have on our world’s infrastructure.

Our grand-prize winner was awarded a check for $2,000 and reprints of the full-length feature article for promotional purposes. Our second-place winner was awarded $500, and our third-place winner received $250.

On behalf of POB’s staff and judges, we congratulate this year’s grand-prize winner, the city of Idaho Falls, for its expansion of Sunnyside Road. Read details about this challenging survey on page 24.

The Sunnyside Road widening project was recognized for many elements, including foresight and organization prior to development, cooperative and professional teamwork, resilience in the face of unique site hurdles and advanced approaches using technology--including some swaying of city officials. It highlights a small city gone high-tech.

Here’s what our judges had to say.

Joe Paiva, POB columnist: “This is a project that demonstrates the all-around worth of surveyors. They didn’t just go out and pound in some stakes and then do some alignment and grade checking. They worked with the engineer, the owner and the contractors as well as numerous third parties, such as the utilities and adjoining owners, to make sure the project would run without a hitch. They accommodated the ‘holy trees,’ did their share of working on project safety and, because they saw how to capitalize on technology to meet project goals, were able to optimize crew size to below what they were authorized to have. Truly renaissance surveying.”

Wendy Lyons, POB associate editor: “This project is not only an excellent example of what can be accomplished with skill, teamwork and technology, it’s an example of what can be accomplished with public relations skill. The scope and challenges of the project--the key items that determine the winner--were described succinctly. But he also presented the project in a compelling way using vivid language, teasers and excellent quotes.

“While all the PR in the world won’t make a boring project the winner, it will give a worthy project the edge it needs to stand out against its competition.”

Kimberly Jensen, POB managing editor: “I gave this project the highest marks because of the impressive teamwork and technology that combined to make an ordinary project into an extraordinary one. The crew worked around obstacles and used a variety of technologies to quickly and smoothly build the road needed by the growing population in Idaho.

“I also like the fact that this survey used machine control--it’s proof that surveyors can participate in the use of this technology to further their opportunities.”

Lieca N. Hohner, POB editor: “The ‘underdog’ has gone high-tech! How great to hear of a typically small survey crew carrying out an essential task like a road rebuild using an advanced arsenal of technology options. What’s more, they used their brains to do some predevelopment work that helped both themselves and the contractor. The team’s cooperation--including the solutions they designed to get around utilities and the particulars of a federally funded project--was outstanding. To boot, Party Chief Ken Roberts has all the pride, confidence and enthusiasm a great leader needs to have.”

Again, POB applauds the city of Idaho Falls for its dedication to the profession on an impressive project!

Sidebar: And the winner is...

The City of Idaho Falls:
  • John Smith, PLS, city surveyor
  • Chris Fredericksen, PE, city engineer
  • Yvona Gunderson, designer, Phase 1
  • Robert Cox, designer, Phase 3/ inspection coordinator with the Idaho Transportation Department
  • Kenneth Roberts, PLS, party chief
  • Jerry Landon, instrument man
  • Don Curran, crew member

A special thank you to the following sponsors for their support of our fourth annual contest: Allen Precision Equipment, Crain Enterprises Inc., EngineerSupply.com, ESRI, Leica Geosystems, Magellan Professional, Optech, Topcon, Trimble and Tripod Data Systems.


Continuing the Challenge in 2009
POB will be accepting submissions for our fifth annual Highlights in Surveying Project Contest beginning this fall--look for details in our print editions, on our Web site at www.pobonline.com and in our POB eNewsletter (subscribe online for free). Thanks to our supportive contest sponsors, next year’s grand-prize winner will win a handsome monetary prize along with recognition via our many media avenues and a full-length feature article in one of our spring issues!

We invite all geomatics professionals to enter. A cool project, an innovative approach or an impressive team can all constitute a great story--and you just might win!