Workshop Program: Practical Management of Field Surveys


Land surveyors are (at the most fundamental level) expert measurements. Land surveyors make measurements in the field. As a consequence, land surveyors management of field surveys is critical to running an effective surveying organization. In this workshop, we teach you how to improve your management of field surveys.

Morning Session

The morning session is 3.5 hours long. In the morning session, we discuss the 5 elements of field surveys. We also show you how to prepare for and execute field surveys.

Afternoon Session

The aternoon session is 3.5 hours long. In the afternoon session, we explain how to review field surveys. We also show how to manage and protect your raw data.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to manage data collectors files.
  2. What you need to consider when planning your survey control.
  3. The 4 types of field survey return data and how to organize it.
  4. How to use point number ranges, linework codes, feature codes, and attribute data.
  5. How to identify and properly train field crews on survey methods for each type of equipment.
  6. How to handle field crew safety concerns, including work in roadways.
  7. The difference between raw data and point files, and how point files can be dangerous.
  8. How to set up a field survey review process.

Teacher Bio

Landon has practiced as a licensed land surveyor in Central California and Western Nevada for 15 years. He specializes in providing surveying services to support the design and maintenance of large public works. These public works include dams, levees, canals, pipelines, roads, and railroads. 

Landon has been interested in improving business practices for land surveyors since he first started managing projects over a decade ago. He spent several years working in the field as a rodman, instrument person, and party chief. He still regularly visits his job sites to “put boots on the ground” whenever he can.

Landon Blake Business Portrait

Workshop Outline

Part 1: Elements of Field Surveying

  1. Equipment.
  2. Control.
  3. Coordinate reference systems.
  4. Return data.
  5. Methods.
  6. Safety.

Part 2: The 3 Step Field Survey Workflow

  1. Preparing for field surveys.
  2. Executing field surveys.
  3. Reviewing completed field surveys.

Part 3: Managing Raw Data

  1. What is raw data?
  2. The danger of point files.
  3. Protecting raw data.
  4. Adjusting raw data.
  5. Reviewing raw data.
  6. Methods for managing collections of raw data.

Part 4: The Human Element

  1. What makes a good party cheif?
  2. What makes a good rodman?
  3. 2 Man Field Crews – The costs and benefits.
  4. Training the next generation of field surveyors.
  5. Creating accountability and rewarding excellence.

Workshop Questions

The workshop will answer these questions:

  1. What do you need to ask about survey control when planning a field survey?
  2. How should you organize the data collector file system?
  3. How do you handle work by multiple field crews on the same survey?
  4. Why should you be using point number ranges and feature codes?
  5. What type of photos should your field crew be taking and how should they be organized?
  6. What is a field package, and what should go in one?
  7. What should your field crew do as soon as they arrive on the job site?
  8. How do you review field surveys once they are completed?
  9. How do you make sure your field crew is safe on the job site?
  10. How do you train your next generation of field surveyors?
  11. What are the advantages of running a 2 man field crew?

Workshop Exercises

The workshop will include the following exercises:

  1. Preparing the punch list for a topographic survey.
  2. Developing a raw data review checklist.
  3. Creating guidelines for building surveys.

Workshop Links

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Professional Development Hours

You should be able to count 3.5 hours of professional development for the morning session of the workshop and 3.5 hours for the afternoon session of the workshop. This is a total of 7 hours for both sessions. (Please check with your licensing board or certifying authority on the eligibility of this workshop for your specific continuing education requirements.) If you attend both sessions and pay for the afternoon session, we will send you an attendance certificate for both the morning and afternoon session.

Take This Training As An Online Course

This training is offered as an online course for individuals and groups. Certification of course completion is available. If you would like to take this training as an online course, or would like us to offer an online course to your team, please reach out to Landon Blake by e-mail.

Customize This Training For Your Organization

Redefined Horizons can customize this training to meet the specific needs of your organization. We can add or remove topics, craft examples from your practice, and design systems to measure team member learning. If you are interested in customizing this training for your organization, please reach out to Landon Blake by e-mail.

Related Workshops

Landon teaches several other workshops on business for land surveyors and civil engineers. These workshops include:

Learn about these and other workshops on the Redefined Horizons Talks and Workshops web page.

Host This Workshop

Would you like to host this workshop at your organization or in your community? Redefined Horizons teaches workshops across the Western United States. If you are interested in hosting this talk, please contact Landon Blake by e-mail.

We can offer the course at a discount for members of your organization or support a local scholarship of your choice if you host the workshop.