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Combining 3D Tech And Common Sense In Modern Surveying


These days, most survey projects call for rapid turnarounds and higher accuracy—and simultaneously, lower costs. Owners are facing soaring construction costs and progressively shorter timespans to complete projects. Surveys and construction staking need to be completed almost right away with the highest levels of quality.

As architectural and design styles evolve, and construction technology rapidly advances, building projects are growing in complexity to accommodate the available landscape and space.


Speedy data transfers, data accuracy and confidence are all instrumental, and it is the surveyor’s job to manage the accompanying client expectations, company integrity and technological advancements from day one.

“[We've] learned with some of the current projects...that clients want real-time data,” says Ken Olcott, president of California-based engineering, surveying and planning firm SANDIS. “To survey it today and get the results two days from now—the two days is just impossible to meet their schedules.”

As it becomes increasingly difficult to meet client expectations, the key to customer satisfaction becomes constant communication between the field staff, office staff and the project owners. Combining highly-trained staff that have worked on numerous complex projects for years—ensuring that team members are well-versed in both proper traditional surveying methods and new technology—with customer transparency is essential to this process.


Deploying new technologies isn’t enough. Surveyors are quick to learn that blindly investing in any shiny new toy that comes along may pan out to a loss rather than an investment. It is of particular importance to begin exploring tech with an eye towards consolidating operations and maintaining an open dialogue with clients during every step. Keeping the customer in the loop reduces the back-and-forth that can result from the traditional “send info, wait for approval” methodology, thus enabling an overall shorter timeline.

If there’s one key takeaway here, it’s that clients want in on the process—and surveyors must embrace the specific tools conducive to this flow of communication between business and customer. SANDIS has been working towards accomplishing just that with its newest investments in 3D technology.


3D building models and laser scanning abilities started out as a side project for SANDIS. 3D tech has since become a mainstay of the company’s services; more clients have requested these resources in recent years as they embark on the design and pre-construction phases of their projects.

“We’re completely invested in the CS20s...the Leica scanners, the Leica total stations we now use to captivate, and Leica exchange software that allows us real-time data transfers from our field crews,” says Ken. “Clients want real-time data.”

To learn more about Bisnow partner SANDIS, click here.