Expanding the Boundaries of Surveying Technology

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In November 2005 the University of Houston’s College of Technology/ Department of Engineering Technology held a week long Cultural and Technology Exchange Program for 22 surveyors, engineers, and planners from Beijing, China. The Program focused on surveying, mapping, and designing methods practiced in the United States. Mr. Paul Kwan, LS, of Landtech Consultants, Inc., a Chinese American land surveyor, was excited about the opportunity to assist the University of Houston and the Chinese Government with the exchange of survey methods and technology. Mr. Kwan and Professor Dr. Hassan Moghaddam of the University of Houston Surveying and Mapping Program, lead seminars on Site Selection, Feasibility Studies, and Survey and Engineering Planning and Surveying. As part of the week-long series, Mr. Kwan hosted a site visit of Landtech Consultants, Inc. He gave a brief history of Landtech with a presentation of the firm’s most challenging and technologically advanced projects. Among the projects included were the boundary survey of the entire 10,000-acre Bush Intercontinental Airport, surveys for the development of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Light Rail System, and Survey Program Manager for the development of the Bayport Container Terminal for the Port of Houston Authority.
Paul Kwan leads a discussion of sample CAD drawings.

Mr. Kwan displayed drawings of the presented projects for discussion. The group posed questions on the use of laser technology, development of the Robotic Total Station, and the efficiency of using 2-man crews as opposed to the 4- or 5-man crews commonly used in China. A discussion was held on the logistics of immediate data transfer from the field to the CAD department for translation as a mode of efficiency. Also of interest was how one controls the quality of the survey data throughout the development process. The delegates then toured Landtech’s office to view its survey operations. They compared a display of a modern Leica GPS System with antique surveying instruments from the 1800s. Landtech’s field staff demonstrated the use of a Robotic Total Station which received pleasurable acknowledgments from the crowd. The delegates also enjoyed a demonstration of CADD techniques given by Sue Chen and Sharon Bang, both with Landtech and fluent in Chinese.

Following their day at Landtech, the delegates visited the City of Houston, Fluor Corporation, Houston-Galveston Area Council, and the City of Austin’s Planning Department. Participants from Beijing included surveyors, engineers, and administrative personnel from the Beijing Municipal Administrative Office of Engineering Exploration Designing Surveying and Mapping, China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, Zhongbing Prospecting Designing & Research Institute, Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning and the Department of Overseas Training of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. The Program received acclaim from both the American and Chinese participants. Through the exchange of surveying techniques and technology, the Chinese Government, University of Houston, and Paul Kwan hope to unify survey standards and methodologies worldwide.

Cathy D’Arche is Marketing Director for Landtech Inc.

A 516Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE