What Should Oil and Gas Companies Look For in a Registered Land Surveyor?

land surveyorIn the business world, standards and regulations exist for a good reason: by creating an agreed-upon set of standards for an entire industry, everyone operating within that industry knows what to expect when it comes to hiring contractors or doing business with other companies. This can help cut down on the amount of surprises a company experiences while working on a project. This post examines the standards and regulations that you should expect from a registered land surveyor.

Standards and Regulations for Land Surveying

The oil and gas industry is filled with different standards and regulations, all of which are aimed at helping companies do business quicker, safer and more efficiently. However, in order to get the best benefits out of these regulations, you have to take the time to understand what they really mean, and how they affect your business.

This is particularly true when it comes to selecting a registered land surveyor to work with. Knowing what standards and regulations land surveyors comply with, and what those standards and regulations really mean, can help you make sure you select the right professional registered land surveyor to work with, and that can make all the difference for your project.

Land surveying standards and regulations that you should be aware of include:

  • Safety regulations
  • Drug and alcohol regulations
  • Pipeline data standards
Safety Regulations

Safety regulations for contractors in the land surveying industry are offered by a number of third party organizations, including:

  • ISNetworld
  • PEC Safety
  • PICS

While each of these different organizations functions in their own unique way, they are all alike in that they offer services for verifying the safety knowledge and compliance of oil and gas surveying professionals. These third party programs often pull from a diverse set of industry safety standards and safety regulations set by state and federal governments.

It’s important that you take a little bit of time to get to know each of these organizations to find out how they’re alike and how they differ; this will help you know exactly what each of these certifications really signifies.

Drug and Alcohol Regulations

Keeping a standard that oversees your contractors’ drug and alcohol usage can play an important role in creating a successful project with no unpleasant surprises or major safety concerns. Fortunately, National Compliance Management Service (NCMS), another third party standards organization, provides drug and alcohol auditing services that are specifically designed to help contractors live up to the expectations of their clients.

These NCMS audits establish a program that helps a contract organization put the specific drug and alcohol requirements of their client organization into practice. This program can include things like written policies, established screening methods, randomized testing, and regularly scheduled annual testing. As a result, any client that establishes a drug and alcohol monitoring program for their contractor organizations through NCMS can always be sure that they have a full and accurate understanding of what steps are being taken to ensure compliance.

Pipeline Data Standards

Pipeline data standards can help give you a better idea of the final product that your registered land surveyor will provide you. Keeping these standards open and well established helps ensure that all companies that work in the oil and gas industry will be able to deliver data to one another without having to worry about custom software programs or vendor-specific data architectures that stand in the way of the free distribution and easy use of data.

The two main pipeline data standards for the oil and gas surveying industry are the Pipeline Open Data Standard (PODS) and the ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model (APDM). These two standards should not be considered competitors; they have some similarities, but function in slightly different ways. Getting to know both of these standards is important, as it will help you select the standard that best meets your needs, and then select a registered professional land surveyor that can work within the context of that standard.

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How Using Tablets For Construction Vastly Streamlines the Process

professional land surveyorsIn today’s business environment, many different industries are starting to see the advantages of keeping employees connected to their work and each other with mobile devices. This is especially true in surveying. Allowing field crews to access documents and information from mobile devices allows them to be just as productive on site as they would be at an office. This means that projects can progress more quickly, without the need for long delays caused by employees being offline or needing to travel back and forth between a job site and an office.

Traditional surveying handhelds do not offer the variety of applications that are needed in modern surveying. Professional land surveyors, especially those working on oil and gas projects, have a lot more data to collect and process while on site. They also need to be able to review this information, answer emails, and perform any number of other tasks on the fly, which is something that is simply not possible with traditional handhelds.

Fortunately, there is a solution: professional land surveyors can utilize “rugged tablets” for construction, which are designed specifically for use in high-intensity industry settings like an oil and gas job site. These tablets, like the Trimble Yuma 2, are built from the ground up to be tough, effective, and easy to use while on a job site.

These tablets are designed with the importance of accurate GPS data squarely in mind. For example, the Trimble Yuma 2 offers 1-2 meter real time Enhanced GPS positional accuracy, allowing users to get extremely detailed and accurate positions while on the job site.

The GPS abilities of these tablets are also very convenient and easy to use, as they are built right into the tablet itself. Users don’t need to attach an external antenna in order to get an accurate reading; they have everything they need to do that right in their hands. However, these tablets often provide the flexibility to add an external GPS antenna when needed to achieve maximum accuracy.

Greater Strength and Durability

While consumer tablets have made a lot of advancements over the years, the fact remains that these tablets are simply not designed with durability or ruggedness in mind. As far as the tablet manufacturers are concerned, the most stress that will ever be placed on one of these tablets is being dropped from a few feet.

On the other hand, tablets used on oil and gas sites constantly have to deal with dust, water, extreme temperatures, high altitudes, vibrations and shock. A consumer tablet can’t deal with these factors, even if you do slap a hard protective case on them. Surveyors need tablets for construction that are durable by design, and that’s exactly that a rugged tablet is.

A Touchscreen That’s Easy To Use and Read

Most consumer tablets are designed to be used indoors, under optimal conditions. Try using one on a job site, and you’ll have to deal with a glare off the screen that makes it hard to read.

Rugged tablets like the Trimble Yuma 2 offer a screen with an outdoor readable display, as well as the flexibility to control the touch screen using fingers, a stylus, or capacitive gloves. This means that surveyors on oil and gas job sites will always be able to read and control the screens on their tablets, no matter what the conditions.

To learn more about how Landpoint uses tablets for construction and how these devices can help bring unique benefits to your project, download our oil and gas brochure.

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How Aerial Survey Drones are Going to Revolutionize the Oil and Gas Industry

land surveyingIt’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is changing: “easy oil” reserves are getting more and more difficult to find, and companies therefore need to find new and innovative ways to drive more efficient operations in order to remain profitable. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, are the latest technology that’s driving the oil and gas industry forward, giving companies new opportunities to increase their efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.

UAV technology is not exactly new, but it’s only been in recent years that the drones, the batteries they are powered by, and the photography equipment they use to conduct land surveys have become lightweight and affordable enough to be feasible for use in large-scale land surveying operations for the oil and gas industry. This means that we’re currently standing at a crossroads in the history of the industry: those companies that identify UAV technology as the great opportunity it is and prepare themselves to capitalize on it will be in the best position to succeed going forward, while those that don’t will risk falling behind.

While there are a variety of ways in which aerial survey drones can benefit the Oil and Gas industry, one area that will be particularly impacted is land surveying. UAVs can offer three main benefits over more traditional surveying methods:

  • The ability to complete land surveys quicker
  • The ability to create land surveys that have a much higher level of detail
  • The ability to complete land surveys without having to put surveyors in danger
Complete Land Surveys Quicker

One of the clear advantages that UAV surveying offers over traditional surveying methods is the speed at which the surveys can be completed. This is a key benefit, as land surveying is only one of the first steps of many involved with completing an oil and gas project. When the land surveying process can be completed quicker, the rest of the project can proceed as planned, and the company can reach its goals with no delays.

UAV surveying is quicker than traditional surveying because it does not require surveyors to travel over difficult terrain in order to get to the survey site. Instead, the drones are able to travel directly to the site in the air, and then allow surveyors to see the visuals they need, no matter where those surveyors are.

Provide a Higher Level of Detail

Today’s aerial survey drones use top-of-the-line photography technology to provide the high level of detail needed to create a quality land survey. While surveyors operating from the ground might miss out on important details, drones have the ability to look down on a site from above, getting a complete view of everything.

These drones can also change camera angles or move in closer to get a better view of something if necessary. As a result, using drones to help complete land surveys allows oil and gas companies to get a better view than they would otherwise, and therefore increases the chances that a project will be successful.

Keep Surveyors Off Of Dangerous Terrain

Finally, using unmanned aerial vehicles removes the need for surveyors to travel over difficult terrain in order to complete their work. This has a dual benefit of keeping surveyors safe and avoiding accidents that can lead to costly and time-consuming delays.

On the job site, keeping workers safe is always the highest priority. That’s why drone technology, which allows land surveyors to complete their work from a safe position, is such a promising technology for use in the oil and gas industry. Since it also provided quicker, more detailed surveys, UAV technology is a real no-brainer for the oil and gas industry.

To learn more about groundbreaking surveying technologies like aerial survey drones, download our oil and gas brochure.

Image Source: Michael MK Khor

Why Big Data is Critical to the Growth of the Oil and Gas Industry

land surveying technologiesBig data is changing many industries across the world, and oil and gas is no exception. Big data refers to data that is entering business systems at a much higher volume and velocity than ever before. This data is created by a constantly growing network of interconnected systems and devices, creating a new opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the insights around them.

However, while big data presents an opportunity for businesses, it also presents a challenge: organizations that continue to rely on old-fashioned ways of storing, securing and analyzing data will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information coming into their business systems. In order to prepare themselves to capitalize on big data, oil and gas organizations need to make sure they have the right tools in place to handle the exponentially growing volume of data and that their company culture is optimally configured to pursue the benefits of big data.

When handled appropriately, big data can offer oil and gas companies three major benefits:

  • The ability to process highly detailed land surveys, like those created using GIS mapping
  • The ability to make exploration and production decisions quickly, and with a higher degree of confidence
  • The ability to build the best and most engaged workforce possible
Process Highly Detailed Land Surveys

When it comes to land surveying, the current state of the industry is clear: there is no more easy oil out there to be found. This means that companies that continue to rely on low-detail land surveying technologies—the kind of technology that may have worked just fine when oil reserves were greater—will soon find these technologies to be time-consuming, inefficient, and unprofitable.

Luckily, there are new land surveying technologies out there that can provide the level of detail needed to run a profitable oil and gas operation in the current energy environment. However, these new technologies, such as GIS mapping, are just as data-intensive as they are detail-intensive. Organizations will need to be ready to handle large volumes of data if they’re going to make the most of these new surveying technologies.

Make Exploration and Production Decisions Quickly and Confidently

Oil and gas companies today have to deal with two competing priorities when it comes to making exploration and production decisions. Making the wrong decision can cost a company time and resources, eating away at profit margins. At the same time, decisions have to made in a timely manner if the company is going to succeed and grow.

With big data, it’s possible for companies to balance both of these priorities. The level of data that’s available in the oil and gas industry today means that it’s no longer necessary to rely on guesswork and intuition. By processing big data and analyzing it to extract the useful business insights, a company can make the right move quickly, while also feeling confident about the decision they’ve made.

Hire the Best and Most Engaged Workforce

The benefits of big data don’t stop in the field; oil and gas organizations can use big data to maximize success in the office as well. By analyzing data patterns to identify skill gaps, adjust recruitment priorities, and make the best, most informed hiring decisions possible, human resources organizations can dramatically reduce the amount of costly bad hires they make.

In addition, once the hires have been made, HR can use big data to make sure that employees are feeling engaged in their work, while also identifying opportunities for greater engagement.

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Tips for Speeding up As-built Surveys

3D Laser ScanningFor construction projects, anything that gets in the way of the project progressing according to schedule is a roadblock that must be removed as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to as-built surveys, project managers may feel trapped: they need these surveys to make sure their project proceeds safely and accurately, but at the same time, these surveys frequently take weeks to turn around, which often gets in the way of established project schedules.

Since project managers need these as-built surveys to make sure their project are proceeding according to plan, most of them assume that there is nothing they can do other than wait patiently for the surveyors to complete their work. However, two technologies are showing that this no longer has to be the case. Using these technologies, project managers can get the as-built documentation they need, without having to wait too long for them.

Read on to learn more about these two new technologies, and how you can apply them in your own construction projects.

3D Laser Scanning

With 3D laser scanning, land surveyors no longer have to travel from point to point on a job site collecting the information they need to complete their as-built surveys. Instead, they are able to gather all of the information they might need using high-tech laser scanning, which in turn allows them to build accurate 3D models that can give them all the detail they need to complete their work. As a result, a process that once took weeks can now be completed in a matter of a few days.

3D laser scanning, also referred to as LiDAR data collection, works by bouncing laser beams off the area that needs to be surveyed. Then, the scanner records a point everywhere the laser hits a surface. After the laser has scanned the entire job site, the result is a massive “point cloud” made up of millions of survey grade points. These points can then be connected to form an extremely detailed representation of the environment at the job site. Finally, this representation will be transformed into a 3D model, which is then used to support the work of the land surveyor. All of this happens much faster than a traditional as-built survey, which should make project managers everywhere very happy.

Project Management Suite

Unfortunately, actually completing the as-built survey is often just one factor in the construction delays they can cause. Turning your land surveys around quickly is great, but if you can’t put those surveys into the hands of the right people as quickly as possible, then it won’t translate into quicker, more efficient projects.

That’s where a good project management suite comes into the equation. A project management suite can provide a central hub for the entire project, giving all stakeholders a single place to go to upload and download vital project documents as needed.

With this technology in place, a project manager never has to worry about when the land surveyor will get around to sending in the completed as-built documentation. Instead, they can feel confident that they have the most recent and accurate versions of all documents, and that they will instantly be informed when the as-built surveys are ready. Then, they will be able to download and start utilizing those as-built surveys immediately, even if they are on the job site using a mobile device.

To learn more about these new technologies from Landpoint, and how they can help you get your as-built documentation sooner, contact us today.

Image Source: NOAA’s National Ocean Service