The Evolution of Surveying Through the Eyes of Murphy Geospatial
The Evolution of Surveying Through the Eyes of Murphy Geospatial - A Tribute to Peter Murphy
A Tribute to Peter Murphy
As Leica Geosystems celebrates 100 years of innovation, the team reflect on the people and companies integral to their journey. One key part of Leica Geosystems’s rich history is family-owned Murphy Geospatial, founded by the late Peter Murphy. Discover how the survey industry and companies within it have evolved over the decades, from Peter’s eldest son, Colin.
The History of Murphy Geospatial
At the start of his career, Peter joined BKS (now acquired by Fugro) in Northern Ireland, before moving into the mining industry as Chief Surveyor of the Tara mines. He then became Chief Engineer, delivering a Bauxite Manufacturing project over a span of six years which at the time was one of the largest construction sites in Europe.
After pursuing a career in surveying throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, Peter Murphy set about defining who he was as a surveyor. He set up Peter Murphy and Associates in 1983, which has evolved into the Murphy Geospatial of today.
Peter developed his company on the reputation he had as an individual. His eldest son Colin explained, “He was a trailblazer. Somebody who always liked to be visionary in what he did. He challenged how we delivered our workflows, outputs, and our services, even back thirty or forty years ago.”
Colin Murphy, Director Murphy Geospatial
The Role of Technology in The Growth of Murphy Geospatial
Peter’s drive fed into his passion for technology. This enthusiasm put him at the forefront of survey technology in Ireland and formed the essence of Murphy Geospatial.
Technology played a huge part in Peter’s life and career. In Colin’s words, even back in the 1980s, his father would have been seen as a ‘tech nerd’. Buying laptops when very few people had desktop computers, and prioritising staying on top of the latest software being produced saw Peter as a pioneer in survey technology. He put himself through all sorts of pressures trying to get workflows up and running. For example, Peter would manufacture bespoke cables to get computers and machines talking to each other before it was commonplace.
A Tribute to Peter Murphy
For Peter, surveying wasn’t just a Monday to Friday, nine-to-five job. It was a seven day week and very much part of him and his life. He was a purist, and he was committed to what he did as a professional. Colin recalls growing up seeing his father reading technical manuals on instrumentation and equipment, no matter the time of day. He explains, “As sons, it was frustrating as he was so embedded in his career, but now we can see why and realise it was more than just a job or career, it was his life.”
These values are instilled in his sons and in Murphy Geospatial, with the four brothers at the helm to this day. The brothers vary in the skills, values, and interests they bring to the business. Colin puts the success and growth of the company down to their ingrained passion and determination.
“Peter worked seven days a week up until he tragically died in 1995. He loved what he did, and was very much liked by his clients which he referred to as friends and colleagues.”
Who is Murphy Geospatial today?
At its core, Murphy Geospatial captures, collates, verifies and governs geospatial data through three key principles: People, Process, and Technology. These pillars form the heart of the company. The values are delivered through their GeoCERT™ platform, which has been developed over the past four decades to deliver Geospatial Certainty.
The diverse skills that are maintained through the three hundred plus staff, and how they are empowered and supported. “We create career paths for our employees within our organisation. They are our number one asset.
The business model and process that’s been developed and refined over almost forty years and over twenty-five thousand projects as a company.
Partnering with leading industry solutions and providers of technology and software, ensuring that they are very much on the pulse in terms of where the industry is going.
Colin explained, “We build on our core principles and align with industry providers, making sure we’re developing and challenging ourselves and our workflows. We support this development by understanding our clients’ requirements.”
The Evolution of Surveying
Throughout the history of the survey industry, technology is one element that’s improved significantly. This manifests itself in the speed at which data can be captured, how it can be captured, and what can be done with it. However, the principles are very much the same. Quality is still at the forefront of the industry, and the challenge is to stay on that course as technology advances.
Speaking on behalf of Murphy Geospatial, Colin said, “The fundamental principles of surveying still have to be adhered to. There are some practices engaging in rapid capture of data and not applying the fundamentals of surveying. That presents a challenge for us purists, as the accuracy needs to be maintained. There's an ethical accuracy in collecting good clear verified data. We adhere to the principles of surveying and engage that with modern forms of data capture, aligned with delivering outputs in an accessible way through our portal. ”
Future of the Survey Industry
When asked about what the future of surveying might look like, Colin said, “I think it's a combination of big data and how we engage in that. Embracing the capture side of data will be simplified to a certain extent but ensuring it’s captured in an efficient but accurate way.”
Essentially, Murphy Geospatial sees the future as the data side, the analytics side, and how they are ultimately data custodians for each project.
For their company specifically, the future will see them building on the platform they have rolled out over the past number of years. The recent rebrand has changed its position in the industry. They see themselves managing data throughout a project life cycle and building upon that to client-side engagement.
Colin explained, “My role within Murphy Geospatial group is building on the key account position. Really delivering for our clients on major projects and strategic partnerships. We want to be seen as and felt like an extension of their own resource and to be the first-choice partner for Geospatial Certainty. We build relationships and instil that within the people in our organisation so we are all one voice.”
Encouraging The Next Generation of Surveyors
Like in many sectors, resources are the number one threat. Murphy Geospatial work to encourage young people to consider a role in surveying. By working very closely with universities, such as TU Dublin and Newcastle University, the team hope to build interest for the next generations.
Colin told us, “It’s something we have to do as an industry because it’s changing a lot and it’s not the mucky boots in fields that it’s thought to be. We need to educate the next generation on data, technology, and analytics which form the survey industry today.”
Leica Geosystems’s Relationship with Murphy Geospatial
The relationship between Leica Geosystems and Murphy Geospatial started with Peter Murphy almost forty years ago. Peter worked with John Caffrey, and it was very much a personal relationship that they built over the years. Peter saw the value in the premium product Leica Geosystems delivered, and that was the foundation the two companies have built on over the years.
Speaking about Leica Geosystems, Colin said, “Yes we do use competitor products but the vast majority of our equipment in the UK is Leica Geosystems. It’s a product that we proudly continue to align with. When it has to be right, we want it right, and Leica Geosystems consistently delivers the products and services that we want as an organisation to align with our vision. We very much want partners that can empower what we do and challenge what we do and Leica Geosystems is one of them.”
Colin sees the relationship between industry manufactures and their company on the user side as highly important. Murphy Geospatial have hundreds of individuals out there using the kit and, with a fluid relationship, feedback helps manufacturers improve their products.
When asked why Murphy Geospatial continue to use Leica Geosystem’s products, Colin said. “Leica Geosystems products are reliable and enable us to collect accurate geospatial data. It works well within our workflows and provides data accuracy that is vital to what our clients require, helping them to reduce risks and costs throughout the project lifecycle. We have to have a reliable partner and Leica Geosystems provides that.”