What You Are Saying

Readers share thoughts on surveying trends, more

POB wants to hear from you! Let us know what you think about any POB content in print or online by sending an email to Editor Perry A. Trunick at trunickp@bnpmedia.com. You can also send a Tweet to @POBMag, leave a message on the Point of Beginning Facebook page, connect with us on LinkedIn, or visit the RPLS Network at www.rpls.com.

Letter to the Editor
Drone-Based Photogrammetry

Good afternoon, Ms. King,

I am a licensed land surveyor in Iowa. I recently took a position at the Iowa DOT in photogrammetry. I have also been thinking about this new technology and what we are going to do with it. The big question that stands out in my mind is: What are the designers/engineers going to do with this new data?

First, the most cost-effective UAS technology that I noticed is created with imagery. How do we get to bare earth? If the designer is using a surface created from a point cloud with grass, I don’t’ see how dirt work quantities will be accurate.

Next, I believe some surveyors are using this as an easy button and plan on delivering an RGB point cloud. I know this makes a pretty 3D picture, but we are removing ourselves from the task of determining where the edge lines are (edge of sidewalk, edge of pavement, etc.). Are we going to add to the designer’s workload with that task? I can’t see how a point cloud will work on a set of plans either without line work.

I have a few more items I feel need to be addressed, but I can’t wrap my head around these two. I agree with the safety factor that UAS surveying will give us. I’ve been dodging vehicles on site for a while. I agree with the speed of collections. It seems like there’s always more data you need after design begins and by turning on and viewing the point cloud gives you most of that data.

I’m ready to embrace the next big thing. I agree the UAS technology will be another tool in our toolbox, but we’ll need to understand what things look like when they are wrong and how to fix them.Thanks.

– Dan Messerich, PLS