Survey Camp at Tuskegee University

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Community involvement | No Comments

Author: Roger Joiner, Survey Team Leader

For students at Tuskegee University pursuing an Architecture or Construction Science degree, part of their curriculum is a class about surveying. This year, students were also asked to complete a day camp as a part of that course.  Jake Bonds, another Birmingham-area surveyor, and I led this camp on Saturday, April 22nd for a group of 14 students.

Our Survey Camp started off in one of the classrooms at Tuskegee University on Saturday morning. There we covered two main topics: “Surveying in the Construction Industry” and “New Technologies.” The students asked a lot of insightful questions and were very involved. They especially enjoyed when we presented construction plans for a couple of projects and went over the role of a surveyor on these projects. We wanted to give them some solid real-world examples and explain what a surveyor does on a project from start to finish.

The next portion of our camp was really the main focus. We conducted a four-hour field exercise to familiarize the students with various types of survey tasks and the instruments used for each one. As a part of the exercise, we set five random survey points outside. The first survey determined the horizontal and vertical location of these five points was using a GPS with a base unit as well as a rover unit. The second survey conducted was an elevation survey using a conventional level and rod to determine the vertical location using a different method. Our third and final survey was a traverse using a total station to measure angles and distances of the five points to determine the horizontal location using a different method.  The students really enjoyed the field exercise because it allowed them to get their hands dirty. Learning the fundamentals of surveying within a classroom is important, but being able to get out of the classroom and go through an exercise like this is invaluable.

Finally, we ended our day back in the classroom to show the students how we compute the data from the surveys we did in our field exercise. We were able to compare the results of the three surveys and discuss the precision of each type. Then the professor took over and tested the students on what they learned during the camp. At the end of the day, they presented us with a nice plaque for our participation.

This event was a great experience. I think that camps like this one help the students to get a better understanding for the surveying profession and develop an idea of what their careers might be like. I had a blast teaching these students! It’s important to me to give back to the community and the profession. This camp truly meant as much to me as it did to the students.

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