Achieving jobs in a 10th of the time using integrated Topcon workflows
PHL Surveyors has been using MAGNET software since the late 80s and first purchased Topcon robotic total stations, about seven years ago from Position Partners. About two years ago, PHL Surveyors decided to fully integrate its system by purchasing the Topcon GNSS equipment.
PHL Surveyors is involved in many facets of surveying, including, rural boundary definition, rural and urban sub-division as well as large scale irrigation design work, planning and engineering works. Alan Longhurst is one of three directors at PHL Surveyors and operates the Bungendore branch.
“My role as a surveyor and planner is to take the projects in and distribute them to the staff. I do limited field work but I make sure that my staff is well equipped with the right technology and expertise,” said Mr Longhurst.
“One of the projects we’re working on at the present time is a 20km rural marking job where the boundaries have been very difficult to access, and the terrain is pretty steep. We’ve had to use a number of technologies including total stations, GNSS equipment, AllDayRTK as well as kinematic methodology.
“We’ve been very impressed with the way that the Topcon equipment has performed in this task and it’s made it so much easier for us rather than using traditional survey techniques.”
Why did PHL Surveyors choose to integrate Topcon technology with its MAGNET software?
PHL Surveyors had been using MAGNET software for many years before implementing the Topcon equipment, finding that working with Position Partners has made the process seamless.
“Since Topcon has taken on the role of developing MAGNET software, we’ve found that it’s worked seamlessly with the use of GNSS equipment and robotic total stations, where in the past we’ve had to use other third party software and swap it through different applications,” said Mr Longhurst.
PHL Surveyors chose a combination of Topcon total stations, GNSS and MAGNET, to enable an integrated process both in the office and in the field after having had the opportunity to test the workflow in the field.
“We chose this equipment following some site visits from Position Partners and some field testing. We found that the order of accuracy that we can achieve and the cost effectiveness to gather that is really impressive using the Topcon equipment,” said Mr Longhurst.
“In order to get this working well we needed to integrate the whole thing so we’ve gathered together all the Position Partners and Topcon technologies for GNSS, total stations and surveying software and now we can operate much more effectively in the office, transferring data to and from equipment, to and from field parties and we feel quite content with where we are,” he added.
The integration of surveying software and equipment
PHL Surveyors has used MAGNET software, in one form or another, since the late ‘80s from its early origins in CivilCAD format. One thing that has kept PHL Surveyors using MAGNET software is the support received from Position Partners.
“Whenever you use software or surveying equipment like this, there are always issues and the key to having a good software base is the support that you get when things go awry or when there are questions to be asked and answered. We’re very happy with the way Position Partners are supporting us in the use of this software and we see no reason to change,” said Mr Longhurst.
“The use of MAGNET software is critical to the way we operate our survey practice and without it we couldn’t achieve the outcomes we need to satisfy our client’s needs,” said Mr Longhurst.
Benefits of implementing the Topcon technology and MAGNET software solution
Following the acquisition of their first robotic total station, Mr Longhurst and his team were impressed with the increased efficiency with which they could work. This only improved when PHL Surveyors integrated the Topcon GNSS equipment.
“We’ve found from when we first purchased the robotic total stations right through to now where we’ve got the GNSS equipment and MAGNET software in a harmonious situation that we’ve achieved great efficiencies by being able to upload and download data to the one system without using a third party product,” said Mr Longhurst.
“We can now send and receive data between the office and field parties almost instantaneously and it allows us to put out a really good product, accurately and quickly.
“We can achieve outcomes, such as the boundary marking that we’ve just done, in a tenth of the time with a tremendous order of accuracy.”
The importance of service and support during purchasing and implementation
The support and service offered by a provider is equally as important as the capabilities of the devices to Mr Longhurst when making technology purchasing decisions.
“It’s very important to us to have a local support team, although the support is readily available over the telephone, you can’t beat the visits to the office by the representative, such as David Banks, or the visits that we have into the local Fyshwick office,” said Mr Longhurst.
“I think’s it’s very important rather than have a multi-national company that’s remote to have this constant support and back up.”
Mr Longhurst and his team frequently contact the service and support team at Position Partners to discuss their usage of the technology, any issues that they may have overlooked or equipment problems that may have occurred.
“We usually do that by phone and receive a response back almost straight away. At other times, the representatives have come to our office and run through issues with us here.” said Mr Longhurst.
“Over the years that we’ve been operating, we feel that the most critical component of an operating system is to have adequate support. Something’s always going to go wrong, something’s always going to need updating, some advice is always going to be sought.”
When asked what advice he had to give to other companies considering making this kind of purchasing decision, Mr Longhurst replied: “We made a decision to integrate Topcon technology and MAGNET software a few years ago and I think that’s really been a step forward for our business. I would recommend any others might really consider harmonising that aspect, it makes life so much easier and time efficient.”
About PHL Surveyors
PHL Surveyors has been operating for over 100 years in Griffith, in the Riverina and for the last 12 years in Bungendore. PHL Surveyors is a surveying-based company that also does civil design work and planning. PHL Surveyors currently has about 20 staff, including four registered surveyors, three trainees and one graduate.
Alan Longhurst, Director, PHL Surveyors and David Banks, Senior Applications Specialist, Position Partners