As the full effect of the pandemic is starting to play out, businesses and industries are having to re-align to understand how they will approach the future. It is no surprise the use and reliance on technology has accelerated exponentially and those businesses who survive, develop and grow seem to be those that embrace the opportunity it brings.
It is technology revolutions that have driven the measurement surveying profession forward, changed our role, our abilities and effect on the property industry – and it is no different now. Companies like Plowman Craven, as an early adopter and innovator in the marketplace, is continually introducing new technologies, innovative applications and ‘big data’ management to become faster and more efficient and set itself apart.
For example, 3D laser scanning is shifting from static instruments to mobile applications to the point where we are operating handheld imaging laser scanning devices to speed up data capture and create 3D digital twins for certain projects.
As Building Information Modelling (BIM) became a key element in the government initiative to assist the construction industry to meet its climate change targets, Plowman Craven published the first BIM Specification for all to use – both the profession and our clients. Since our initial foray into BIM we have been involved and advised on some major BIM projects including the retrofit and refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster. BIM, and its adoption in the design and construction sector, has continued at a pace and we have played a key role in the process as a data capturer, a modeler, a coordinator, and a consultant.
A more recent revolution in our industry has been the re-birth of photogrammetry and structure from motion, made possible by increasing computing power and digital imaging. This has coincided nicely with the development and increased use of UAV (drone) technology. Our desire to see where we could push the boundaries, and a client whose health and safety mantra was ‘boots off ballast’, directed us to find an innovative and ground-breaking UAV/photogrammetric solution – VogelR3D. This reduces the time spent on the ground, provides highest accuracies, and can be carried out during the day without interrupting train schedules. We are continually developing this technology and exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning for asset assessment in live environments.
Looking into the future, are we going to be replaced by automation and robots?
I believe that as technology becomes simpler or more automated the role of the professional will become ever more important – accuracy, rigour and geospatial understanding are still the basics that need to be upheld.
We continue to embrace innovation and apply it appropriately where we see it adds greatest benefit to clients – whether they are developers, asset/fund managers, project managers, contractors or architects - the balance between professional knowledge and the appropriate technology will always optimise the outcome.