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Signs of Construction: Survey/Soil Testing

One of the first "signs of construction" is to survey existing landscapes using high-tech equipment that looks like a camera on a tripod and commonly seen in use by surveyors on the side of the road.

Until recently, a team of four surveyors was needed to perform survey activities utilizing a transit, a sextant and a chain. Today one surveyor can work independently due to the tremendous advances in technology.

Primarily used by the military in the 1970s, digital technology and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS) began to emerge, utilizing vectors projected by satellites in space. While most GPS devices available in today's automobiles and smart phones are only accurate to within 30 feet, enhanced GPS survey can achieve measurement accuracies of within 0.01 feet or 1/8th of an inch.

Once the survey data is gathered, the coordinates are integrated into design drawings and used to stake the track alignment and right-of-way boundaries in the field. Various design and construction disciplines use the staked alignment to evaluate impacts and resolve potential conflicts while providing the best value solutions for the overall design and construction.

Michael Frank, Kiewit Surveyor

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