Aaron Heerema was employed as a co-op student at Trow Geomatics in Fort Frances, Ontario. Trow Geomatics specializes in land surveying and mapping. Due to the location of this office, they also create topographies in remote locations. Aaron was asked to assist in various surveying locations during his co-op term. In some situations he was asked to choose between the two techniques, while in others, he was only provided with one alternative. The two main techniques discussed within the study are: Total Stations and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). They are widely used by survey firms across the world (Figure 1). Each method may be more suited to certain tasks. It is up to the firm in question to decide on which equipment is more effective for their particular jobs. Assessment factors for use may include cost, number of operating personnel, range limitations, accuracy, etc. It is important to be able to note the strengths and weaknesses of each and to understand how the equipment may be used. These systems are user-friendly and do not require intensive training. It is always important to select the more appropriate method for a specific application, such that the user is optimizing their time for the company.
This design case study is intended to introduce students to surveying technologies while comparing their functions and use. It can be delivered to promote class discussion as well as individual study. The case study was created to introduce engineering concepts for students in Civil, Environment and Geological Engineering. After completing the design case study, students will be able to critique two different surveying techniques and describe the difference between accuracy and precision.