Point of View

Technology and equipment seem to make or break a company and its productivity these days. We asked visitors to POBOnline (www.pobonline.com) just how beneficial equipment is to them, and which pieces they value most and why. Thirty-six (36) said the first piece of surveying equipment they used was good 'ole paper, pen and field book. Other respondents said their first piece was an electronic calculator (5); total station (3); data collector (2); and laser (1).

Equipment and software sales have been rising in the past few years. Seventeen (17) respondents said they have purchased new equipment in the past three months; five (5) have bought in the past six months; eight (8) have bought in the past year; and 17 haven't purchased any new equipment in the past year. The most frequent answers as to which new equipment they purchased included total stations (5); GPS receivers (4); computer software (4); robotic total stations (3); and data collectors (2).

These manufacturers and models were specified:

Geodimeter 600 robotic (Spectra Precision)
Javad 3 receiver, dual-frequency GPS system
Trion battery for total station
Nikon DTM-550 total station
Sokkia SDL30 digital level
Topcon RL-50ha laser level
Leica 1102 and 302
Nikon 820
Topcon robotic total station
Novatel GPS/RTK
Leica NA2002 digital leveling system
SECO survey accessories
SureStore CD-writer
Trimble 4700/4800 GPS
TDS data collector
Carl-Zeiss total station
Geodimeter 468DR (Spectra Precision)
Pentax 325

Other answers included rods, chains, metal detectors, radios, magnetic locators, levels, tribrachs, prisms, field books and computers.

More than half of the respondents (26 of 48) said they found most equipment and software to be high priced; twenty-two (22) said they found it fairly priced. Nearly all respondents said new technology was easy to learn.

We asked our visitors what they believe to be the greatest benefit reaped from a piece of equipment. Here are some answers with the equipment credited in parentheses:

"The ability to survey with only a one-man crew (used a Geodimeter 600 robotic)."-LS, N.C.

"Digital display and data transfer (Topcon total station)."-LS and engineer, Pa.

"Makes our jobs easier and more efficient. Not to mention it's really cool to use (Trimble GPS 4800)."-LS, Calif.

"Time savings (RTK-GPS)."-PLS, Ill.

"On-board data collection, decreasing the amount of equipment to carry to the field (Leica TCA-1102 total station)."-LS, N.C.

"Increased profit for the project, and less overhead and payroll (robotic total station)."-Surveyor, Ohio

"Being relieved from having a full-time employee and withholding taxes (robotic total station)."-Surveyor, Tenn.

"Increased production while maintaining accuracy (RTK GPS)."-LS, Ariz.

"GPS allows me to traverse without line of sight. That is a huge time saver on large projects. Total stations and data collectors allow for quick locating and staking of points."-LS, Kan.

"Don't have to solve curves for three months to complete a job (Frieden calculator)."-EIT/PSM, Fla.

"Speed with no sacrifice in accuracy. More work done in one day (Wild GPS, SR399/GRT44, SR299/AT302, Leica TCA 1100 and Leica TCRA 1130)."-LS, Calif.