Municipal infrastructure projects are often derailed due to insufficient attention given to the existing land rights and development restrictions at the feasibility stage.Craig Silva expands on the critical role geomatics professionals play in ensuring a successful service delivery outcome Technology has pervaded all facets of construction in the modern world, with surveying and the geomatics profession being no exception. Given the plethora of modern survey equipment and technologies available, it has become increasingly difficult for engineers to understand which survey method produces the correct accuracy for a given project. There is also a perception among clients requesting survey information that technological advancements have made surveys cheaper and faster, which is not the case. There are no shortcuts. As an expert in the field of spatial data, survey, cadastral and land ownership, geomatics professionals are responsible for drawing up the engineering and topographical surveys that other built environment team members depend on for project execution. For this reason, it’s vital that today’s engineers become conversant with the latest surveying technologies and understand the different accuracies that each can achieve. This will help them to identify and request the correct survey method to achieve the required information accuracies to successfully complete the project. The types of common technologies range from aerial mapping in the form of conventional aerial photography, lidar (new laser technology) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS or drones); conventional ground survey methods that use total stations and GPS; and lastly, the newer technology in the form of scanning entails both terrestrial and mobile scanning. A combination of the above technologies achieves a survey of base data that is sufficiently accurate for the design phase. It could also result in a quicker survey programme that is not unrealistic and offers considerable cost savings. However, a clear understanding of the mixed technologies and their respective accuracies is of the utmost importance to provide a cost-effective solution during each phase. Understanding the limitations of GIS information and the varying accuracy thereof is equally important when using Google Earth (and other free internet-based datasets) in conjunction with surveyed information. Land legal and the role of the geomatics professional When installing infrastructure, including bulk services, the project team needs to respect the ownership and rights of landowners within the project area. This is often overlooked or, if considered, left until the end of the design phase to tackle – often too late.
Although a general rule is to find the shortest route, this is often not
the most practical approach from a costing and sterilisation of land
perspective. Crossing expensive land that has development rights can hold up
project delivery from both a financial and practical viewpoint when it comes to dealing with the landowner.