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The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRT) is evaluating alternative procedures for acquiring survey work to meet the mandated service delivery levels. Henk Bresler from the GDRT has called on surveyors to assist with the evaluation and suggest possible new ways of acquiring and allocating surveying work which the department is unable to handle itself… (more)


This article highlights the advantages that the soil surveyor can gain by analysing high resolution imagery and DEMs in a 3D environment… (more)

In this issue we feature a letter that asks whether South African Professionals are practising surveying or geomatics. The complexity of the real world of geomatics can easily be noticed by the level of misunderstanding emanating from the use of the two terms; surveying and geomatics. A traditional surveyor, who has practiced for at least 10 years performing cadastral and/or engineering and/or mining surveying, would wonder from where this new term geomatics emerged… (more)

2012 is the quincentenary of the birth of Gerard Mercator. Although best known for the map projection named after him, he was also known for the Mercator atlas, indeed even the introduction of the word “atlas” and for his work in cartography but maybe not so much for his basic work as a land surveyor. This article is a short introduction to his life and work to highlight the exceptional place he has in the history of our profession… (more)

Until recently, accurate 3D mapping of underground utility infrastructures, so important for planning expansions and maintaining existing lines, has been either enormously costly and time-consuming or confidence in the results has been insufficient.  Now a new technology shows promise to relegate these problems to the past… (more)

Confirming that structures are built correctly is a key activity in any construction project. At a new power station in Limpopo Province, Trimble technology was used to make quick work of a tall order… (more)

We are glad to see that there is much improvement in the Geomatics bill from earlier versions and the bill will now allow for the establishment of the South African Geomatics Council (SAGC) with legislation which will allow for the publication of a recommended tariff and implement Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Additionally, the council “must” investigate work reservation; no doubt this will in time turn out to be a very hot topic in the survey engineering domain… (more)

The Rio Grande River is normally calm as it meanders southward through New Mexico and down to Texas. But periodically, the Rio Grande floods and threatens to drown out adjacent farm fields. Levees of sand were built many years ago to protect the farmland, but those levees can erode under flood conditions. To remedy the problem, the United States section of the International Boundary and Water Commission awarded three construction contracts… (more)

In the years prior to 1984 only land surveyors were registered and without titling themselves as such they were considered to fall into the then relatively narrow definition of “professional”. This put them in the same, so called, elite club as doctors, chartered accountants, lawyers, and engineers. Apart from the qualification requirements for registration, all professionals subjected themselves to a code of conduct enforced by a procedure of discipline… (more)

The history of the South African measurement system is, without doubt, somewhat confusing, as is the relationship between old South African units of length, English measure, and the legal and international metre. The English and metric systems have influenced the establishment of the “commercial” Cape units, and, also, of the unit of the Geodetic Survey of South Africa… (more)

It should come as no surprise that today new technology is adopted, applied and adapted in industry faster than ever before in history. The awesome power of communication and collaboration brings information instantly to our fingertips. Therefore, the rate at which people and companies exploit any new opportunity should be expected to rise… (more)

Practical evidence of pride within our profession came to my notice for the first time a good many years ago. It was during a visit to the Cape Town Deeds Office in search of some title information. The act of opening the old volume that I had removed from a dark shelf, revealed a land surveyor’s diagram which in any other circumstance would have been valued for its simple beauty as a work of art… (more)

Waterside security is of increased concern, with threats to both floating and fixed maritime assets. Despite an infancy period in underwater protection methods, the hydrographic community – with its mature, established technology –  is an underutilised asset that can play a leading role within the overall maritime security context. This article explores the common threats faced by harbours, moored vessels, military installations… (more)

Confirming that structures are built correctly is a key activity in any construction project. At a new power station in South Africa, Trimble technology was used to make quick work of a tall order. Covering 883 hectares, Medupi’s size and complexity called for expert surveyors… (more)

Occupying the primary north-south transit corridor in Switzerland, the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) is a key component in Europe’s growing network of high-speed railways. The centrepiece of the new system is the Gotthard Base Tunnel. At 57 km long, it’s the longest tunnel in the world. Swiss surveying company Terra Vermessungenis providing a variety of surveying services in the northern sections of the Gotthard tunnel. The diverse work, demanding requirements for precision, and difficult working environment present unique challenges for the surveyors and their equipment… (more)

As with most construction projects, architectural marvels pose a number of challenges in the construction phase with a large number of these often being survey challenges. Durban’s new Moses Mabhida Stadium is no different… (more)

Combine Alaska’s vast spaces and the high walls and large excavation and hauling equipment movement inherent in mining, and you don’t exactly have a surveyor’s optimal working environment. A leading gold mining company recently adopted surveying and digital imaging technology that is allowing surveyors to track material inventories across those vast spaces. The result is major improvements in surveying productivity and safety… (more)

Someone came along with a box of electronic tricks, called the Tellurometer, and measured the Isiolo base in about 20 minutes to a very comparable accuracy and similarly that at Malindi. The Isiolo base had suddenly become the last such line to be measured in catenary and a new era had dawned for the surveyor. The traverse from Malindi to Isiolo had been estimated to take between 2 and 2½ years to complete by traditional methods but with the Tellurometer it took just 28 days to cover the 402 miles in 26 traverse legs… (more)

It is now more than 50 years since the survey world was startled and revolutionised by the invention of the Tellurometer by Trevor Lloyd Wadley. A new book ” Trevor Lloyd Wadley – Genius of the Tellurometer” provides a look at the character of the inventor and outlines the circumstances under which the invention was born… (more)

All of us know someone that started their own business and ended up working at another firm. This is not a failure, it’s part of the learning process we go through as adults. If we fail, then what a great learning experience! Millions of words have been written about business, but in my mind they all come down to three concepts: people, product and profits… (more)

The rehabilitation of this airstrip has included the construction of  23 000 cubic metres of raft foundations, the largest ever done in South Africa, in order to provide sufficient support for aircraft landing in the dolomite risk area in which the airstrip is located… (more)

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