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Surveying the Future

January 2, 2013
Over the past several years, technology has played a key role in shaping the landscape for surveying and mapping professionals. 



Over the past several years, technology has played a key role in shaping the landscape for surveying and mapping professionals. From high-tech total stations and smart GPS solutions to sophisticated laser scanners and increasingly automated software, today’s professionals have access to an increasing array of tools to help them solve complex problems and boost the value of their deliverables. What technology will have the biggest impact in 2013? Equipment and software dealers have been keeping a close eye on the market. Here are some of their predictions.

“With the introduction of affordable, compact and user-friendly 3D scanners, like the Trimble TX5, we anticipate a significant upswing in 3D scanning by surveyors since the technology will provide them with new business opportunities, such as scanning for commercial contractors and architects. We also foresee untapped opportunities for surveyors to expand their services with monitoring as aging infrastructure, construction projects and natural events require improved awareness of motion, and with railway solutions (like the Trimble GEDO track measurement system) as high-speed and light rail systems are developed across the country. Finally, we’re incredibly excited about advances in RTK technologies, like the Trimble R10 GNSS Solution. This innovative GPS receiver has significant new features to ensure the collection of better, more accurate data and allows RTK surveying to be achieved in areas once impossible due to environmental restrictions. This will help surveyors be more productive and profitable.”

Bruce Gandelman, President
California Surveying & Drafting Supply Inc.


“Mapping/GIS professionals will start to see more software and hardware configurations aimed at moving data collected from a distributed, non-technical workforce into one master database. This will enhance quality control on a large scale. The process will become much easier and more cost-effective than in the past.”

Lanny Schnipper, Sales Manager, Design Software, Mapping, Construction
Seiler Instrument & Manufacturing Co. Inc.


“Scanners such as the FARO Focus3D will continue to have a big impact. They are priced at 50 percent or less of what the industry has been used to seeing, and they have a neat form factor: small, with a touchscreen interface. Low-cost RTK GPS systems with improved capabilities are another important technology. For example, the Topcon HiPerSR RTK GPS is a base-rover kit that uses long-range Bluetooth instead of the usual radio to communicate from base to rover. It is priced at approx. 60 percent of what surveyors are used to seeing. As a result, more solo surveyors and small businesses may be able to afford to get into GPS.”

Rolf Witt, Sales Manager
Admar Supply Co.


What technologies do you think will have the biggest impact on surveying and mapping professionals in 2013? Share your thoughts below.