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What would the world be without Surveyors?


Today, is the Global Surveyor’s Day.  We would like to take this opportunity to reflect on surveying as a profession and why it is one of the most important professions in the world.   

Virtually nothing is constructed without a surveyor: roads, buildings, theme parks, sewers, shopping centres, toilet roll factories! The physical world we live in today wouldn’t be possible without them.”

It all starts with curiosity and courage to explore the unknown on Earth and in space.

Dating back to at least Ancient Egypt, our ancestors used rope, plumb bobs, as well as sighting and leveling instruments to work on some of the most famous monuments in the world we know today – the Egyptian pyramids. That’s just one example which, without saying much more, explains the extent of mathematical skills and capabilities that were required to bring these beauties to life.

A little closer to our time and to our home, the great Australian land explorers such as Henry Danger, Sir John Forrest and Leonard Beadell have led expeditions, developed maps and plans, and constructed thousands of kilometres of roads. This serves as a great reminder that the surveying skills are not only important for developing incredible landmarks. Throughout history, surveyors have been key to facilitating connections between people and resources, fostering a functioning world we live in today.  

Through development of infrastructure and land division for tax purposes, for example, surveyors make an important contribution to our economy as well. The data that surveyors are able to produce and analyse make them a very necessary ‘middle-man’ to see any development or infrastructure project from concept through to construction.

Think about your property.

How do you know that your fence is in the right position? Who do you trust with the accurate assessment of property boundaries, and establishment of your legal titles and property ownership?  You guessed it.  An experienced surveyor!  Like one of our super talented Survey team here at Wolters.  They possess the same skills as those who provided the foundations for many of the historical landmarks, buildings and roads; and have earned their trust with private, government and infrastructure sectors over the last 30 years when Wolter Consulting Group was established as a pure Surveying business in Brisbane in 1992, before it grew into the multidisciplinary consultancy we are today.

Innovations in surveying.

In addition to really knowing their land, Surveyors are the pioneers and often facilitators in adaptation of new technologies.   How could we ever preserve or replicate historically significant architecture like the Notre Dame without the laser scanning technologies? Or identify special boundaries within an elevator shaft in a building without the use of drones?

We asked Nick Mckelvey from our Survey team to share his thoughts on how technology has evolved over his own surveying career and what were some of the most exciting projects he has worked on to date:

“In my short time in the industry the changes in technology, the role of a surveyor and the industries we support has gone in directions I never imagined,” says Nick.

“Starting with two person crews and data recorders no more powerful than a basic calculator the industry adopted laser scanners, drones and is now into Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) systems, as well as virtual reality.”

“When I first tried a laser scanner in 2007 I was hooked and I’m yet to be bored with where my career has taken me.  Job sites have ranged from some of the most remote areas of Australia to the Sydney CBD. My projects have seen me extend beyond the standard development/construction industries to projects capturing heritage sites and artefacts, supporting various manufacturing facilities, and even some work in film and TV. Highlight projects include scanning dinosaur bones and footprints in Western QLD, 3D modelling of the Story Bridge in Brisbane and Hammerhead Crane in Sydney.  Flying drones over an Airforce Base was fun too.”

“The true highlight of the job though is certainly the people and comradery. While seemingly an isolating job, the team is always there. I’ve built a lot of great friendships over the years and had some great adventures all while on the clock. Surveying is a unique industry and surveyors are a ‘unique breed’, their sense of humour helps get through the most stressful days and the most challenging sites. I’m certainly glad to count myself as one of them.” 

At Wolter Consulting Group, we are very proud of our talented and hard-working Survey team who continue to explore the South-East Queensland for our clients and our community.  It may look like they walk through creeks, crawl the bushes and take photos of the Green Bridges of Brisbane with what looks like a camera on a tripod. But we know what they are doing is lot more complex and critical. They make sense of our land and spatial boundaries, helping shape our cities and regions into better places for us. 

Happy Global Surveyors Day!