Although companies have been developing 3D data for years (through the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth and other tools), few have taken it to a street-level realm in building highly accurate 3D models for use within existing widespread CAD/GIS platforms. However, those that have taken this approach are finding a successful new business model.
Under the GSA’s National 3D-4D-BIM Program, established in 2003, the Minton-Capehart building was identified with a number of other federal buildings as a possible target for building information modeling (BIM) along with additional energy retrofits. In early 2008, GSA awarded a $35 million contract for a phased renovation of the building to Cincinnati-based Messer Construction Co., which contracted Berding G.J. Berding Surveying Inc., based in Milford, Ohio, to handle the scanning work.
Traditional surveying with a total station (reflectorless or not) is coming to an end. OK, I said it. Based on several conversations I have recently had with surveyors, this is becoming more true every day.
Surveyors and other professionals have specific requirements when it comes to how they want the software to operate, what functions it should have, and how its various modules should integrate with field and office workflow and work with third-party products. Topcon’s TopSURV, Topcon Tools and SiteMaster are designed to address these requirements.
Mobile mapping systems are very impressive on a number of fronts and offer significant options beyond a traditional surveying or mapping approach for the right projects. But like most other tools that have been developed for our profession over the last 20 years, these systems can have both advantages and disadvantages in their application.
For the second time in as many months, I again heard someone say that the surveying profession will be so different in 10 years that we won’t even recognize it. Admittedly, some of the changes that are now occurring have been a long time in coming. But the thought that a complete transformation is under way and will, in fact, occur quite rapidly, is a little disconcerting--unless, of course, you happen to be one of the individuals leading the charge.
Because a surveyor’s role is labor intensive, this function is often thought of as one that can be automated further. Yet some of the best productivity still comes from the manual effort of people who are motivated, highly skilled and highly experienced.