Surveying in the Summer

Have you ever seen a surveyor along a roadway you drive every day and wondered to yourself, “I wonder what they are doing?” or thought “I wish I had a job that allowed me to wander around outside on a sunny day!” During a Pacific Northwest summer, there are not many jobs more enjoyable than that of a field surveyor. But, that surveyor also spends many non-summer months working in rain, snow, rain, cold, rain, wind, rain, and everything else Mother Nature brings to our beautiful region, like rain. We surveyors sure love summertime!

Reid Middleton field survey crews on-site near Coullee City.

Technology in the Field

With the technological advancements taking place at a never-before-seen pace, field survey positions are becoming less and less common and more and more computer-driven. Like many industries, we’re constantly improving and doing more work with fewer people. Unfortunately this means fewer and fewer people get to work on a field survey crew as more of the work is done from the desktop computer than ever before.
With today’s technology field surveyors use laser scanning (like your self-driving car does), long range bluetooth, remote operated robotic total stations, and within a few weeks Reid Middleton will be offering UAV photogrammetry derived digital terrain models for our clients’ design purposes. This UAV technology multiplies productivity and data acquisition volume several-fold while increasing model precision, plus it’s just plain fun to do! Yes, today’s field surveyors (the lucky ones) even get to fly drones. Talk about a dream job!!

Reid Middleton field survey crews just performed a topographic and bathymetric survey of a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch at Blue Lake, near Coullee City.

Surveying this Summer… and Beyond

Surveying in the summer isn’t what it used to be… it’s better! The addition of laser scanning and UAV work has made survey personnel safer than we’ve ever been in our profession’s existence. I wonder what the technological advancements will have us doing next summer? No matter what the latest technology brings, field surveyors will always be needed on the ground, taking measurements at the site. The Reid Middleton survey team looks forward to implementing UAV technology this summer and future technological advancements in years to come. Hopefully while enjoying the sunshine because summer in the Pacific Northwest is about the best thing since sliced bread (which was also a brand new technology at one time). The Reid Middleton survey team wishes our clients and colleagues a safe and enjoyable summer, ours will be!