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A new year, a new decade. 2020 will be a big year, especially for land surveyors. Just a decade ago, we were running tape along the ground as the go-to means of measuring distance. Now, we have technology that’s revolutionized residential and commercial land surveying. The most improbably tasks 10 years ago are some of the easiest ones today. As far as land surveying technology has come, this is only the beginning. If we look ahead another decade, we may have newer equipment and resources that make ours look obsolete.

As we enter 2020, let’s look at what may play a big role in land surveying this year and onward.


Global positioning systems have been around for a long time now. They’re built into our cars, into our phones, even into watches. All that said, GPS still has plenty of room to transform the land surveying and engineering industries. Delivery of information with GPS is quicker, more accurate (records height, latitude, longitude, etc.) and cheaper too. A single surveyor with a GPS system can survey twice as fast as an entire team of land surveyors using traditional techniques. Thanks to advancements in other industries – faster processing hardware/software, satellites and the development of 5G networks – there is no ceiling keeping GPS from improving over the next 10 years.


We’ve previously talked about drones and how they’re changing the way land surveyors conduct surveys. However, drone technology is evolving every day. In just a short time since they’ve become a common commodity, engineers have already mounted them with state-of-the-art digital cameras, long-lasting lithium polymer batteries, aerial photography equipment and more. The rise of drones and other UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) in land surveying has proven indispensable. They’re prized for accuracy, cost-effectiveness and ease of use to survey difficult and/or dangerous locations.


Total stations, distance meters paired with electronic theodolites, have become a commodity for land surveyors since the turn of the century. In recent years, there’s been an increase in popularity for robotic total stations, which allow land surveyors to operate them using a remote control. Today, we see total stations equipped with GPS and video technology, allowing a surveyor to pilot the station from afar and see what it sees in live time. This is especially useful in comprising weather conditions, as a surveyor can still do the job all the way from their vehicle or office.


Every day, an increasing number of land surveyors conduct surveys using 3D laser scanning. This technology is changing the quality of land surveys. They help create exceptional accurate 3D models and maps, makes it easy to survey difficult areas and monitor construction process. Thanks to 3D laser scanning, a surveyor can conduct a location survey and make a topographical map of the area – including all above-ground structures and below-ground components like utilities and septic systems. Location surveys using this technology make it easier for developers to plan out new buildings, revitalize old ones, install traffic signals and more. No doubt will 3D laser scanning continue to grow throughout the decade.


We’re excited to see how technology will continue to improve our work. If you’re in need of a land survey, contact us today by phone (951) 688-0241, or email us.