The Difference Between Traditional & Modern Survey Equipment

For as long as humans have been building, we have been surveying land. While it would be very cool to find some surveying sight used by ancient Greeks or Asians, we still know that they did use them, even if we can’t hold them in our hands. Though just as this equipment changed from way back then to the classic pictures you see today of those large tripods, the equipment has kept evolving and today is far lighter and more compact than ever.

But is there really a difference between classical and modern survey equipment? Let’s go over some of the key differences that you will find between these different eras of equipment used by surveying professionals.

Key Differences in Traditional and Modern Surveying Methods

Speed of the Job

The speed of the job is the first difference we should really speak about here. There is just a vast gap between the two. Never mind remote access and aerial flight; today’s equipment is lighter and far more compact and easier to carry around. Plus, it requires fewer people to actually use. Classical equipment is a lot bulkier, takes longer to set up and takedown, and requires more manpower to use everything. So when it comes to the speed of doing a survey job, modern equipment smokes the old models by a lot.

The Precise Nature of the Measurements

Let’s be honest here about all professional survey equipment: It is incredibly accurate. For many years and countless millions of jobs, the men and women who constructed our modern societies did so by using those classic equipment models. So, to be clear, there is nothing at all wrong with them. Though when you’re talking about the nature of accuracy, today’s equipment like RTK GPS models can get a signal from space and measure within a centimetre precision. That’s just unparalleled precision.

The Expandable Universe of Surveying

One very cool way these eras of equipment are different is in what they can do. Imagine doing aerial surveying with that old-school equipment. Sure, it’s very accurate and reliable, and it was the industry standard for decades, but so too were wired telephones and dial-up Internet. The fact is that with some things in life, the newer model comes along and just blows the older stuff out of the water. With the new equipment, you can attach it to drones and fly around, taking aerial land survey assessments. To not point out how incredibly different these eras of equipment are would be entirely dishonest.

Theodolite excavator survey road construction site

The Way Things Are Operated

A huge difference in how these equipment types operate is actually in how they physically operate! Not to sound silly there, of course; it’s just that today’s surveying gear can be attached to drones, operated remotely, and it’s light and compact and a whole light easier to lug around and use. Traditional equipment was great for its time. It was very accurate and relatively easy to use, once you got through trekking the environment and setting it up. There was nothing at all wrong with it. It’s just that modern equipment is a whole lot better in terms of how you actually operate the equipment.

Overall Cost Effectiveness

Most large companies in their surveying land and overall areas for construction are large companies that had to bid on these jobs. They had to bid lower than others, so they don’t have a huge profit margin here. With the traditional equipment of old, there used to be quite a few people needed to handle the surveying, which could really ring up a hefty price tag in labour costs. However, with today’s modern equipment, it doesn’t take an entire surveying crew to get the job done. This means fewer employees, which equates to fewer hours paid, less insurance paid, and many more cost-specific benefits.

As can plainly be seen, modern equipment is a lot different from traditional equipment, and in many good ways. If you deal in surveying and don’t have modern equipment at your disposal, then you’re really missing out.