How mobile apps are changing the future of land surveying

Technological advances in recent years have transformed the land survey industry.

From mobile 3D mapping tools to UAVs and drones, vast quantities of accurate geospatial data can be collected and processed with a few pieces of equipment.

However, when it comes to capturing information about the characteristics of things beyond their position, for example the contents and layout of a manhole chamber, things haven’t moved as fast…

What’s the problem?

There are still many surveyors out there using pen and paper to record site data, which brings many disadvantages, including:

  • Inconsistent, illegible forms with missing data
  • Difficulty associating digital photographs with individual forms
  • Forms have to be posted, scanned or physically brought to the office for processing
  • Data then has to be manually typed into other systems, which is labour intensive and prone to human error

All of these limitations are affecting the types of deliverable survey companies can produce for their customers.

Some survey companies have experimented with online form building apps or free tools from GIS companies, but have encountered obstacles, like:

  • There’s a learning curve and a lot of setup work to do in order to produce a usable solution
  • Features are basic and don’t include things like photo annotation
  • Options are limited for viewing and extracting the data once it’s collected
What’s the solution?

We create mobile apps that surveyors can use in the field to record data that has traditionally been written down with pen and paper.

Our apps are designed from the ground up to be the most effective data capture tool for a specific application, and have been developed and field tested in conjunction with real surveyors.

What can SurvAid apps do?
  1. As well as text entry fields the apps contain specialised sketch components that let users quickly and easily create drawings and annotations by dragging and dropping elements on screen with their fingers.  Users can also upload their own photos and drawings
  2. Both Android and iOS are supported and the apps can be used offline
  3. Once the information has been entered in to the app, it gets uploaded to our cloud based web portal and can be accessed immediately by anybody in your organisation via a web browser
What happens when the data hits the SurvAid web portal
  1. Once uploaded all data is organised by job number and can be viewed either in lists or on a map
  2. Records can be edited individually or in batches by either setting a common value for fields like ‘Project Name’ or importing CSV files with accurate position data from a total station or other equipment
  3. Once everything is complete and ready for the customer, PDF deliverables can be created at the click of a mouse or CSV files can be produced if you’d like to import the data into another system
What apps are available?
  • Manhole Inspection – this enables surveyors who are carrying out utility surveys to capture details of manholes and inspection chambers such as cover size and material, internal shape and dimensions and pipe inverts.  The app also enables surveyors to quickly create sketches of layouts.  When the data gets uploaded to the SurvAid web portal, invert levels are automatically calculated from the cover level and PDF manhole cards can be created in seconds
  • PGM Manager – this app records PGM installation details on-site, lets the surveyor annotate a photo to show the distance to three nearby landmarks and also shows the position on a map.  Once the data is uploaded to the SurvAid web portal there are built-in templates for the Network Rail and The Environment Agency witness diagrams, or we can build in your own design
The future of SurvAid

We aren’t finished and we aren’t standing still.

As we continue to talk to our customers and industry experts and influencers, more and more ideas from simple to ground-breaking solutions are coming through, and we are routinely exploring those to make them a reality.

In addition to the apps, the web portal goes from strength to strength based on what our customers tell us what new features they want and need.

One of the most powerful aspects of enabling rapid data capture and storage like we have, is the potential to allow survey companies to add more value for their clients with enhanced deliverables that go beyond CAD drawings and simple PDF reports.

Get involved

Our customers already include some of the biggest names in the industry, including Plowman Craven, Malcolm Hughes, Utility Mapping and Storm Geomatics. [put company names in green and bold

If you’re a surveyor, it’s a no brainer to try our 14-day free trial.

Or if you’re the end user, the customer’s customer, who needs their surveyors to be ahead of the game, consider pointing them in the direction of SurvAid.