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May 23 2012

Keystone Precision open house and robotic surveying.

May 23, 2012 Keystone Precision held their latest Open House. The picture to the left is of some of their Robotic Total stations. These things are pretty advanced compared to the SOKKIA SET 510 that we are being lent from Andrew Millers' lab. This total station has a 6 sided prism so that the instrument can recegnize it from any position and you do not have to continually face the prism toward the instrument. Also inside there is a radio tracking device that you set the total station and the data collector to on the same channel. From here on the Display screen is a picture of the level bubble on the instrument! this is pretty awesome because now I can know from where I am, any where in the field, if the total station is expereincing a tilt error and when it is close' like on days after a big rain when its hard to get a stable set up, I can frequently keep tabs on this and make sure it is not off level. The coolest thing about this though is that the Radio frequency that is shared between the total station and the data collector allow me to move any where I want in the field, up to 3 kilometers, and it will follow me to what ever angle I go! Also If I load up this thing full of points and choose a specfic point to stake out, since it knows the angle I need to turn based on the baseline I give it, it goes ahead and turns to the next point for me! I mean this thing totally makes surveying a one man job. This kind of surveying is what alot of independent "one man" surveycrews are turning too. A guy who I met at the Workshop actually bought one and does work on a time available basis and since he does not need employees he does not have to always have steady work for a bunch of people. He only needs enough work for himself.

I feel like this type of surveying is going to replace the old instrument man/crew chief model of the past.

May 05 2012

Presenting Herbert Run 25 meter grid!

Today Darryl Wise joined me and we went out to finish Herbert Run. It went smoothly and we were able to finish all the points except for one that was under and a car and one that was about a foot under water right in the middle of Herbert Run. What I would like to do now upload the points onto the computer using ArcGIS and this would possibly enable me to view the shots that I have taken in a saved data base. With the points that are in the stream, both 162 and 169 I could come out the day of the tree mapping and provide consultation about where the exact location of the point would be. There are also two off sets to each point, each of which I have recorded. 

Now that Herbert Run is finished I can start on the Knoll, May 11th 2012. The first thing that I will do is create a network of control points. When that is finished I will Start the stake out of the area. I think the Knoll is contained a little more than Herbert Run is therefore it should be topographically easier to survey.

With the use of the data collector and a solid understanding of how the survey will procede I will be able to finish The Knoll magnitudes of time faster than Herbert Run with out a doubt.

One cool thing I want to note about all this surveying that I have been doing is that all these control points that I am using are good control points that could be added to the schools data base of established control. I am not sure if an actual PLS (professional land surveyor) would need to sign of on the authorization of what is "established control" or basically just the legitimacy of the control points.

May 02 2012

Update on Herbert Run Survey

Friday and Saturday the fourth and fifth of May will be my last two days to Survey HR. Last weekend during the tree mapping party I was able to get most of the remaining points in Herbert Run but there will be two control points worth of stake-out left. I was also able to complete a traverse loop that consisted of 10 traverse and will figure out how to find the closure on them this week. As seen on the left are the remaining points in Herbert Run that still need to be surveyed. It is only about seven or eight. In order to stake out the last few points I will only need to make two more control points. Once those control points are set I will get three points from each set up. There is a chance I will need to make one extra traverse in order to obtain some points that are located near the street.

Once Herbert Run is done being surveyed I will be able to work on the Knoll. The Knoll will take way less time than Herbert Run did because I will be doing most of it during the Summer time when I have a lot more free time and also I will have the data collector. I am guessing i will be able to do about 5 points/day and in a 40 point grid that is 8 days.

I expect the whole survey which includes Herbert Run and The Knoll to take up till June 16th at the absolute latest. This is accounting for the fact that I will not always be able to find some one to help me Survey seeing as how it will be the beginning of summer vacation. I am guessing I will have some one available roughly three days/week.

Apr 25 2012

Finishing up Herbert Run

Saturday April 21st  , Shelby, Dana and I went out to Herbert Run and were able to get a lot done in in the field. We were able to set a decent amount of control points as well as make progress during the stake-out by obtaining roughly 8 more points. The points we were able to get were the ones on the far Eastern edge of Herbert Run 168-175. This leaves us with about 8 or so points left that need to be mapped out and I am convinced that with Dana's help today and a little help Friday that I will be able to complete the Survey either Saturday or Sunday at Herbert Run. Then next week I can do the complete Survey for The Knoll.

This data collector is helping a lot. At Landesign Inc. the data collector I used was no where near as nice as this one is. It can connect to the internet, which could make stake out really convenient. As displayed in the picture on the left the Trimble actually pulls up a complete map of the Survey that I will do. The points you see on the screen are the ones that I have loaded in. It also has my control points which you can see towards the top left of the screen as point numbers 4004 and 4005 These are my traverse 1 and traverse 2. This will be how I establish my traverse loop which because of the small size will probably have quite a small amount of error.

I am considering using existing control at Herbert Run to create control at the Knoll. Since I have specific coordinates for the traverse at Herbert Run I can use those to Run control down to The Knoll. This just means that I will have two traverse loops obviously the one that connects HR to the Knoll is far larger than the one that will be specifically for HR, which entails more error but we can distribute that error evenly throughout the loop and it will be fine.

Finally I am going to need to create the Grid points in GIS this week for The Knoll so that Monday I can get started on that.

Dana also had a great idea when we were out in the field she proposed that we use the GPS to guide us to the points that we are trying to survey. Sometimes these points are in the worst locations such as the points around 170 in Herbert Run and it can be a major hassle trying to read the map and decide what direction and how far is needed to pace to the next point. With the GPS we could get a much better rough estimate of where the next point to be staked out is, for those points that when using the map and actually walking through the forest are impossible to just pace to. This is the situation for large fallen trees in the way, large increases in elevation and streams.

Apr 17 2012

Rendezvous with Brian Wagaman

I was able to get in touch with Brian Wagaman on Friday April, 13th 2012. What we had landed on was that I will meet him at Keystone precision on April 19th, 2012. I sent Brian Wagaman an email of Dr. Ellis email regarding billing for the data collector rental. When we get together on Friday Brian has agreed to instruct me on how to establish a network of control points via the traverse method with the data collectors that Keystone has available. This instruction will be completely free, the only charges will be for those of the data collector. I was going to ask if it is ok to take the instrument home Friday at the meeting Wednesday, Brian and I will use it for a couple hours then on Saturday I will work a twelve hour day Surveying the Bananas out of Herbert Run. I will need two volunteers for two shifts because I do not think anyone person should have to help me for more than six hours. the week following that I will have a gap between exams that will allow me to do the Knoll so it would be best to rent the data collector from Friday April,19th 2012 up till Monday April 30th that way I will definitely have ample time to finish the survey. 

I believe that this will dramatically increase productivity because I will not have to wait on control points. It will speed up the process ten fold. The survey of both the Knoll and Herbert Run should be complete by 4/30/2012.

I could have met up with Brian on Monday but I was swamped with two exams this week therefore I thought it would be best to rent the data collector for a short amount of time instead of just having it while paying for it and not actually using it for any surveying work.

Apr 11 2012

Herbert Run West Surveying & Keystone Rental -- Updates

Saturday April 7th, Shelby and I went out to Herbert Run to stake out some more points on the western portion. We were able to get seven points that are all in the area pictured on the left. A lot of this area was really difficult to get because of the amount of brush that was online but we were able to get them all from a one of the new points that Will had RTK GPS located.

I went to Keystone Precision this morning to ask about renting data collectors, it turns out that they do rent out data collectors and they also give out software packages for them. The rates seem fairly inexpensive at $42.50/day, but they do not rent out prisms. I explained our situation and the sales representative generously said they would let us borrow a prism if we rented the data collector.

The data collectors are called the Ranger, which has a software package called Survey Controller and the TSC2  which has a software package called Survey Pro.

They also had an option to rent an entire total station plus rod set up for $120/day.

The representative at Keystone said that if I were to talk to Brian Wagaman I would be able to have a lot of my questions, (such as information pertaining to the stake out options of the data collector ) , answered.  I vaguely remember the survey company that I used to work for, Landesign Inc, were really big fans of Brian Wagaman’s help with total station questions and data collector trouble shooting issues, he is really approachable.

I believe this is the best way to proceed and hopefully we can rent the data collector and software for this weekend so that I can finish Herbert Run and the Knoll. I can call Brian tomorrow about the data collector rental and hash out the issues with him.

Apr 02 2012

Surveying The west side of HR

On Saturday March,31,2012 Dana and Shelby joined me in the field for a day of Land Surveying. Will Wiley was not able to come out this weekend and give us the points that we need to finish the survey but In the mean time Jonathan and I had decided it best to use this bottle neck as an opportunity to get the west side of the site done. We started with the points that were near the dam and moved East Until we ended up adjacent to the east side of the grid. We were able to get 18 points done that day between the three of us which leaves only 22 points left for this part of the grid. I will email Will Wiley again after this Wednesdays Ecosynth meeting to get an update about when a good time for him to go out to the field would be.The weather that day was really nice it was a bit over cast ( I managed to get a tan though!) and it stayed relatively calm with respect to the wind. This calmness made some of the points easier to get.Point number 102, in the thick of the brush, would have been nearly impossible on a really windy day. I really appreciated having two people out in the field to help me it seemed like things were able to go alot smoother just because we had extra hands to carry things. The point that seems to be in the middle of the dam 111 I did not put in because it seems like the contractors will come and clean that dam out periodically and it seemed futile to actually put this point down because of the constant grade changes that are likely to happen here. Hopefull we can finish the rest of the grid this weekend and have WIlls help this weekend also to get some new control points.






Mar 28 2012

Surveying update

Over spring break I created eight rough points in with the Field GPS. These points are scattered around the knoll and Herbert Run. I placed four points new points around The Knoll that all look into the forest one on Admin drive two on the loop and one near the parking garage. I beleive with these points I will be able to survey the entire Knoll.

I placed four extra survey points scattered through out Herbert Run that will most likely be able to finish the survey there. One of the Points is on the hill . One near the swing and two more scattered in strategic locations the obtain line of sight to the rest of the points.

Today I called Will Wiley and he was in a meeting. My plan is to go out to Herbert run and The Knoll with him and Have him make RTK GPS points for the rough points I created.

As soon as Will calls we will go out and create these points. Then I will survey plot fifty first thing. After that I Will finish the primarly grid in HR. Once that is done I will Immediately do The Knolll. I expect the time it takes to finish HR run to be very very quick because I  laid down so many control points that no matter what I must have a good line of sight some where this way I can rapidly move from one point to the next and never spend any time trying to squeeze a point out of a tight survey location.

The Knoll will also be pretty quick for all the peripheral points. There is a chance that I Will need one extra point that is at the top of The KNoll where the elevation levels off. This area might be hard to get from the four points I have created. I will bring this up with Will and see if he can give me a ninth point on top of thi hill.

 At the bottom are all the new points I have located to be new control points.

Mar 04 2012

Traversing vs. resection

  After careful research I realized my understanding of resectioning was not clear. Resectioning a control point is not the most efficient way to establish new control in alot of ways its a waste of time. A better way of survey control setting would be traversing.

With resection I noticed that you can use 3 known points to determine a unknown point.The problem with this is, I would need to be set up some where roughly in the middle of the three points because according to the owners manuel for the total station, the further I am from the center of the points the less accuracy I will have in creating my new control points. I observed this to be true because no matter how many new points I created they were all off by and angle of at least 1'.

This led me to consider another method of creating control; traversing(picture shown below). Traversing is the method that all modern surveying is done with. This method allows me to broaden my survey network while also creating new control points. Triangualation deals with an X,Y cooridinate system and the pythagorean theorum in order to determine the exact differences between many points. Traversing uses a R,Theta coordinate system of vectors to determine the relative distances between many points. Where you would use a magnitude R and a direction determined by some angle "Theta". What you see below is a "closed traverse". This is the most widely used surveying method today because it is quick and efficient. basically what you do is you begin and end on the same point calling them different points. You have at least three traverse in a loop. What you do is collect many measurements of the distances and angles inbetween three points. By setting up on one point and backsighting and forsighting two other points. After this it will propogate the error and evenly distrubute it throughout the three points. This process is repeated howevermany times until you have a sufficient amount of control points to cover all your mapping and stake-out needs. When your loop reaches the first point agian, you would simply give that point the next highest number and throw a control point there. Then after this you would do a closure check which has two components. First I would check the relative distances between the two points. For example, in the figure below if I were to call the point that the total station is one traverse 106 and where the forsight is the next point counter clockwise ( you always throw traverse counter clockwise, this is shown but not said in the figure) traverse 107/101 then I could collect the sets and check realively speeking how close 107 is to 101. The ideal situation is that they have the same coordinates exactly which is never the case. After the closure process. You can use the data collectore to basically distribute all the error in this ring throughout the ring and make a super accurate set of control points. Finally I would use the equation (n-2)180 and if the angle is withing (+-) some relatively small angle difference, then the traverse loop has good closure. For example on this one below we have six angles


Therefore if the angle was 720degrees00'05" then I would definitely keep it because this traverse has good closure.

In order to do this I will need a data collector. Here is an advertisement that shows the whole process of traversing and also could be a good data collector to buy

Traversing by Repetition With the RECON Data Collector - YouTube

I think we need to get a data collector as well as the other equiptment that I have put on the Surveying equipment order.


Feb 29 2012


I found that I might be able to create my own control points if I use the resection function of the total station. Basically what the instrument does is it takes multiple measurements  between two points from a central travers set up. Then what it does is it takes the standard deviation of all those points. From there if there was a measurement that has a particuarly high sigma you can throw it out. this technique will make throwing my own control points easier hopefully since I am already have a useful set of reference control points.  The problem I was having with setting up my own control points before was that I had nothing to go off of except assumed coordinates which have to eventually be rotated onto UTM coordinates in order to actually have  been able to do any of the stake out that we have so far.