Why one of the UK’s largest survey companies uses our PGM Manager app

Plowman Craven specialise in providing laser scanning and measuring data services worldwide and are seen as one of the top survey companies based in the UK.

They’ve been using our PGM Manager App within their rail team since May 2016 so we thought we’d ask them a few questions about how they’re getting on. We spoke with Craig Papachrisostomou, Production Manager at Plowman Craven.

“It’s a no brainer to use the PGM manager app for the modern survey, it saves time and money allowing the surveyor to concentrate on other tasks.”

You have been using the PGM Manager app for some time now.  Was it easy to learn and incorporate into your day to day workflow?

The app’s simple to use and can be picked up by anyone in minutes with little to no guidance. It allows anyone in the business to create witness diagrams using their company phone and data allowance / wifi.

Some surveyors were initially trained in the office, after which they used the app on-site. These same surveyors then it turn trained others, eventually enabling anyone within the rail team to complete witness diagrams.

It collects required information quickly without the hassle of users manually collating paperwork, photos and sketches.

Historically control data was recorded by hand using pen and paper, and then in the office the witness diagrams were drawn up using AutoCAD by the surveyor.

This was a time-consuming process allowing only 15-20 diagrams to be completed in a day. Using the PGM manager app, up to 100 control points can be logged on site in one shift, and the site time is no different to traditional ways.

However, the PGM manager uploads the data to a state that is 95% complete. All that’s left to do is update the final co-ordinates to create the final deliverable. This means that our office processing drops almost completely.

Traditionally 100 witness diagrams would be processed in the office over 5 working days, now we can complete the same amount in under 1 day.

“Our office processing drops almost completely.”

How do you find using Survaid, our online web platform? 

The online web platform collates all data submitted from all surveyors within the business. This allows multiple teams to be working on the same project day and night transferring installed survey control point locations with no effort.

It also allows us to view all installed survey control points as a company and plan future projects based on the location of the nearest control point to future sites. We can then trace the origin of the control points to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Do you use the app on every job? 

Within the Rail team at Plowman Craven, the app in used on every project. The success has been seen throughout the business and we will be looking to introduce the app to all teams within the business next year.

Would you recommend other surveyors to use the app?

Yes, it is a no brainer to use the PGM manager app for the modern survey, it saves time and money allowing the surveyor to concentrate on other tasks.

What is the biggest benefit of using the app?

Time savings = cost savings

It collates all data in one accessible place.


The Job: Welwyn Tunnels

Who was it for?

Rail overhead line equipment designers

What information was collected for this client?

A 3D Point cloud and survey report containing witness diagrams.

An Amberg Track Trolley is used to scan the tunnels to produce a 3D Pointcloud.

The PGM Manager app is used to provide evidence of the survey control points to allow them to be found in the future. They’ll be used to set out future designs if approved.

Witness diagram as created from the SurvAid Web Platform

What does the client require and how is the data is used?

The client will use the data to facilitate the development of the overhead line equipment within the tunnel.

How long did it take?

4 shifts on site with approximately 20 surveyors. If we didn’t have the app it would have taken an additional 3 days of office time to complete the witness diagrams.

Are there any additional comments you would like to add Craig? 

The App is brilliant and the technical support is instant and friendly providing immediate assistance.

Thank you so much for your time Craig. We look forward to continue working with you and developing new apps that continue to save you time and make work life that little bit easier.

Craig Papachrisostomou, Product Manager, Plowman Craven