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Right on the money (survey)



Philippe Akl, sales and marketing manager for Topcon, looks at current trends in the market for positioning and surveying solutions.
Positioning and land surveying solutions have a vital role to play in construction. They are required to plan, construct, and maintain almost any construction project, whether it be commercial building, residential development, industrial site or essential infrastructure.
The industry is constantly changing, and in recent years it has been transformed by new technologies coupled with a strong desire from the market for more computerisation and automation. Today, while some people may believe that the recent economic downturn has altered this trend, we have reasons - in our opinion very compelling ones - to believe that the Middle East market retains a craving for higher-end solutions.
We believe this trend is being strengthened by the tough economic situation, which is encouraging companies to pay a premium for advanced, seamless solutions, which in turn guarantee a genuine productivity boost, aimed at reducing the overall operational cost.
The increased demand on construction GPS is a perfect indication of this dynamic. While any GPS-RTK system costs five to six times more than a Total Station, GPS is being applied more and more in the construction industry as a practical tool for boosting productivity. This increased demand saw Topcon’s GPS sales grow 70%, year-on-year, in the first half of 2009.
Studies, including a Survey Group report, have looked at the productivity improvement gained from GPS implementation in construction applications. The results show that GPS can increase positioning-related task productivity by 40-60% and provide cost savings of between 15-35% over conventional systems, such as Total Stations, on a road project execution phase. The same system can increase productivity by 80-120% and cost savings by 40-60%, on a road project design phase.
Another emerging technology trend is the 3D scanning and Mobile Survey, which combines GPS positioning, inertial measurement and imaging capabilities, to produce a dynamic surface measuring solution. These sophisticated systems indicate again the definite market thirst for more automated, technologically sophisticated solutions.
Today, users are looking for the added value of speed and productivity, by embracing new technological breakthroughs. During these tough economic times, this added value has the potential to make a big difference between success or failure for most contractors in the construction sector.

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