If one looks at the modern world, there is no escaping the conclusion that it is growing ever smaller with each passing year. That is not to say that the physical size of the globe has been noticeably shrinking, but rather that there are fewer truly wild places left to discover and map.
There are a number of ways that human beings are leveraging technology to not only discover new detail about previously unexplored geographical areas but also to use that knowledge to better the lives of all of those global citizens.
One of the most useful of these technologies is GPS. It is no exaggeration to say that the use of Global Positioning Systems to increase the effectiveness of surveys has been embraced by an enormous variety of industries – and is making a real difference in increasing the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of surveying tasks in those industries.
The GPS satellite network was first established by the U.S. military in the 70s. The usefulness of a network of satellites that connects to a receiver and is able to provide detailed information on the location of that receiver (including the latitude, longitude, and height of the receiver) was not only recognized by the military – but was soon employed by commercial organizations. The fact that GPS can be used to triangulate the position of the receiver, irrespective of weather conditions, and to also enable real-time map building based on the analysis of a moving receiver are both advantages that have been greeted with enthusiasm by commercial and industrial businesses across the globe.
Accuracy and Applications
When it comes to mapping or surveying a geographical location that has been identified for development, inches and even fractions of inches count. The data needs to be both highly detailed and accurate. An example would be the planning for the establishment of a new hyper-mall. Without a GPS survey, a complex construction project like this would take far longer, be subject to human error when it comes to the task of surveying – and would be e considerably more expensive to plan and execute. Much of the added cost of conducting a survey using traditional (non-GPS technology-based) methods is due to the fact that a team of surveyors would be required to do the job manually – whereas GPS surveys can be managed by a single person. This reduces the costs of outsourcing surveys – or managing the survey requirements internally.
The Hi-Tech Advantage
According to Techsol, the fine detail supplied by a GPS survey makes it ideal for display and manipulation on a variety of devices. The information is particularly useful when used with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These systems can store, and display geographically referenced data – and allow for its manipulation.
The versatility of GPS surveying means that it is useful in areas where the traditional approach to surveying that relies on line-of-sight visibility between survey stations may be problematic. This can include areas that have just been opened for development – or even the surveying of coastlines, where the survey stations can be some distance from the shoreline. GPS technology also means that elevated ground, such as remote hilltops is not required in order to improve the line-of-sight view. With GPS Surveying, if the sky can be viewed, then the area can be surveyed and mapped in detail.
The Uses of GPS Surveys
Given the fact that GPS technology lends itself to use in a variety of industrial, commercial, and public sector projects listing all the operations that make use of GPS data can be challenging. However, regular users of GPS Survey data include government organizations, scientists, and commercial businesses such as those found in agriculture, mining, construction, infrastructure planning and engineering. In fact, the list is almost endless.
It is also interesting to note that GPS Surveys are not only useful to stakeholders on dry land. GPS Surveys of waterways can help in ensuring that maps are up to date, and alert watercraft and commercial operators when conditions change or waterways become obstructed by debris or underwater hazards.
One of the reasons that surveyors make extensive use of GPS technology is that not only is it incredibly versatile – but it can be transported to remote areas and deployed as and when it is needed. A portable GPS receiver and assorted related surveying technology can be carried in a backpack – or easily mounted on a vehicle. Many modern GPS Surveying systems are also able to communicate wirelessly in real-time with a number of reference receivers, meaning that highly detailed surveys are available much more quickly than has traditionally been the case.
A Process of Continuous Improvement
The detail supplied by the GPS Survey system is unmatched – and continues to be improved. Currently, most Survey Grade GPS receivers obtain information courtesy of two GPS radio frequencies. Some of this functionality ‘piggy-backs’ on existing military signals, but a dedicated civil signal is being launched to support ultra-high accuracy positioning, without relying on military networks.
GPS Surveys provide a wealth of extremely detailed information to commercial and industrial operations across the globe. That information is reliable – and extremely cost-effective to both produce and leverage (when compared to traditional survey methods).
Project planning and management are only two areas where GPS technology has become invaluable to companies such as Metroscan. The ongoing evolution of the technology means that business owners and investors, as well as project managers, are sure to hear more about increased functionality soon.