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kechha2060
(@kechha2060)
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Posts: 2
May 15, 2018 11:31 am  

I'm an engineer and I usually don't get a topo survey from the client. Projects are not  more than a couple of acres. What would be the least expensive equipment for topo survey alone? One person crew. 

Thanks.


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Richard Imrie
(@richard-imrie)
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May 15, 2018 11:40 am  

Taking into account time, stress and everything else, I'd say RTK.


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holy cow
(@holy-cow)
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May 15, 2018 12:16 pm  

Total station is the way to go. 


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Dan B. Robison
(@ddsm)
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May 15, 2018 12:26 pm  

https://www.engineersupply.com/Futtura-LT-800-Rotary-Laser-Level-Package-16-Ft-Grade-Rod.aspx

"Sudden fits of inadvertence will surprise vigilance, slight avocations will seduce attention, and casual eclipses of the mind will darken learning." – Dr. Samuel Johnson


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VA LS 2867
(@va-ls-2867)
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May 15, 2018 12:34 pm  

I would get a good relationship with a local surveyor in your area, it would be a more prudent use of your dollars to let the expert in that field take care of obtaining the information you need.  There are a litany of issues that I doubt your E&O insurance would not like to cover for you as an engineer performing surveying.

Jason Gordon
VA LS 2867
NC PLS L-5098


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holy cow
(@holy-cow)
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May 15, 2018 12:38 pm  

Absolutely nothing wrong with a licensed engineer doing engineering survey work, which includes topo work.  Boundary work is the nono.


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Lee D
(@lee-d)
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May 15, 2018 12:49 pm  

It depends on what all you're trying to collect, the terrain, and your budget. RTK is great for a one man crew until you find yourself in piney woods, where it's virtually useless. Someone on here was advertising a couple of used Trimble S5 robots with active tracking and MT1000 prisms and TSC3s; it's hard to go wrong with that.


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kechha2060
(@kechha2060)
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Posts: 2
May 15, 2018 1:05 pm  

Thank you all for your responses. No boundary survey at all, I just need topo survey for my design. I tried local survey company but I never get the deliverables on time because of their workload. I get this kind of project where I need to do the topo survey myself once a month.

Total stations seem expensive. $600 for futtura LT 800 is tempting.  Are there any less expensive old gps models?

I had an offer for Fero 3D focus X 130 scanner for $5K without a tripod. How is this thing? Looks like it can do a whole lot of other things that I may never use or may have to explore other avenues for my business to make it useful 🙂


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kotuku4
(@kotuku4)
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May 15, 2018 1:51 pm  

Hi I work for a small consulting firm in New Zealand. Civil, Structural, Environmental etc.

Went through the same exercise about four years ago, having previously in partnership then association with a survey firm.

I put the case for cheap RTK (South GNSS, similar to the equipment that Mark Silver of IGage sells). We have used this equipment more and more. It is so fast and convenient to survey and produce plans or preliminary design models the same day, instead of waiting weeks or months for data from others in form that requires editing to suit our requirements. We charge for use of the equipment and it paid for itself within 3 years. Just updated to current hardware with Carlson Survce software, very happy.

There may be option of rover only with Ntrip, RTK corrections over a network, to reduce intial cost. 

We use a base for as we often work in areas with no cell coverage at all, and previouly were far from stations so accuracy was redcued.

If you plonk the base and turn it on, then localise and check known posts from the rover the base set up is very quick and easy.    

The equipment has been very reliable, no ongoing subscription or maintenance costs. 

If we have sites with boundary issues, or need survey in areas that are not suitable for GNSS, we call in licensed surveyors. 

There will be trees and buildings that you have to take offsets to locate, we break out the level and tape sometimes. Considered adding a cheap reflectorless total station, but not convinced it would get used enough.

 

 


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VA LS 2867
(@va-ls-2867)
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Posts: 294
May 15, 2018 1:54 pm  

I would agree that engineers can do topo only for a design, but in my area, the experience or knowledge to perform them correctly drives my response.  You can find decent used equipment for cheap, scanner could work, it is another tool that could be used.  Look for older robotic total stations. Check with equipment dealers and see if they have rentals that they would sell at a discounted price.

 

Jason Gordon
VA LS 2867
NC PLS L-5098


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cptdent
(@cptdent)
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May 15, 2018 5:02 pm  

It would be best for an engineer to sub this work out. I was a Senior in Engineering back when Uncle Sam decided to send me on that "all expense paid vacation". We NEVER has a class on cartography or even basic contouring. Uncle Sam taught me how to do that. I have highly experienced field crews doing topo shots for me and they seldom get all of the shots I need to  fully define the break lines for the topo. It makes my skin crawl to hear people talking about "Major" and " Minor" contours. THERE'S NO SUCH THING!! That came about ONLY because the computer geeks at Autodesk did not know what to call them. Use that term in front of me and you will get "The Look". Swaging a topo map is just not a good idea. It's a lot more to it other than what equipment to use to gather the data. It's kind of like letting an Architect go your Engineering for you. You are NOT the Little Engine that could, going uphill huffing "I think I can, I think I can,I think I can!!"  Stick to what you know and subcontract all that you are not experienced in. That way, should the design "go south", you have someone else to blame. CYA is the name of the game.


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arctan(x)
(@arctanx)
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Posts: 383
May 15, 2018 5:25 pm  

 I want that Faro for 5k. Can you send me a message with the contact information for the seller?

-ARC


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Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
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May 15, 2018 5:31 pm  

Short answer is a Robotic Total Station. 

Longer answer - You need a total station, a GPS setup, and a level. And a truck to haul it all around in. RTK is often a much faster way to cover ground. But there will be stuff that you can't get with RTK due to tree cover, building walls, etc.  Stuff that blocks out the sky. Even if you work in a desert.  So you need a total station for those places. You can always topo everywhere with a total station.  But it will take you longer to cover your areas if you have only a total station.

Plus, the verticals with RTK will not be quite as precise as those obtained with the total station.  There are cases were RTK derived elevations will not be satisfactory.  The level is the still more precise way to establish elevations. Sometimes you need one of those, too. 

IMO, it is becoming more and more useful to put design projects on state plane coordinate systems in order to coordinate with GIS. If you don't have GPS of some sort it is usually impractical to do it. So it is a very great advantage to have both GPS and a total station at your disposal.   

If you want to get into surveying, go for it. But by the time you invest in what you need to serve your clients right you will think differently about all that seemingly low hanging fruit that surveyors have been picking off your projects. I was once told by the owner of a mid sized (70 people) engineering firm that the reason they had a survey department was not to make money, but to control to quality of their surveys.       

You can pick up a used total station, plus data collector, that still has some life left in it for maybe $10k-$15k. Less than that and you are probably buying a broken down old problem.   

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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holy cow
(@holy-cow)
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Posts: 14656
May 15, 2018 6:14 pm  

For nearly flat one-acre open lots all you really need is a level, steel tape, grid layout, pen, paper and a pocket calculator.  No high-dollar autocad seat and everything that goes with it.


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Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
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Joined:3 years  ago
Posts: 3825
May 15, 2018 6:48 pm  
Posted by: holy cow

For nearly flat one-acre open lots all you really need is a level, steel tape, grid layout, pen, paper and a pocket calculator.  No high-dollar autocad seat and everything that goes with it.

Lots of things are possible if you have an inexhaustible supply of cheap labor. One of the OPs requirements was one man operation. I can't see how it could possibly be economically do-able for him to set himself up to topo 2 acres once a month.     

 

 

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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