Why surveying is more than just a job

Case study

why surveying is more than just a job

Authors: Sergey Matukhnov & Katja Omlor

Developing the surveying business by staying on top of the latest technological advancements has always been the main prerogative of our surveyor in focus, Alexey Petrin. Coming from Karelia, the Russian Republic close to Finland, he got acquainted with geodesy while attending a military topographic school. Smitten by every aspect of this exciting profession he decided to continue studying and graduated in Aerophotogeodesy in Saint Petersburg (1998). 

Taking on every challenge

Surveyor and blogger Alexey Petrin surveying in the snow

After his graduation he chose a challenging direction by heading towards the Ural Mountains, a mountain range spreading through Western Russia from the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River. He was working on diverse projects like updating topographic maps on aerial photographs, large-scale surveys, surveying and restoring points of the state geodetic network, and even performing astronomical observations. At that time he relied on his theodolite due to not owning a total station or any GNSS equipment.

Surveying the city

image of a surveyor in Russia - Alexey Petrin, the surveying blogger, using a total station, smart antenna and controller

After spending five years in the Urals, Petrin returned to St. Petersburg where he has been working ever since. Due to the new projects, he started using total stations and discovered the world of software for measurement results post-processing. He worked within cadastral, mining and building construction projects (residential and industrial). Currently, he is the head of a research department with a focus on checking technical reports and results from engineering and geodetic surveys.

The surveying profession

Petrin finds his profession to be extremely versatile and the only thing he could ever imagine himself doing:

Being a surveyor is not just a job, it is a profession – a challenging and exciting one. Varying from the field to the office, being independent, and having the ability to constantly upgrade one’s knowledge – it doesn’t get much better than that. I like how clear the objectives are and simply love the rewarding feeling of a job well done and a satisfied customer at the end of the day. I get to chose the surveying method I want to apply, plan my time, and deliver what is expected of me. Due to the right equipment, the changing environment is a bonus, not a challenge.”

Spreading the knowledge

Alexey Petrin’s wife Tatyana, also a surveyor from Russia

Due to his prominent interest in surveying technology, Petrin started dedicating his spare time to sharing the knowledge he obtained throughout his professional career. One how-to video followed the other and in no time blogging became his passion, resulting in a new Youtube channel, called “Surveyor – Instructions for use”. The start was difficult as there was quite a lot of spare time he had to invest to develop the needed technological knowledge. By now he is focusing purely on the interesting topics and questions he encounters and resolves during his work. His wife Tatyana, also a surveying engineer by profession, supports and helps him with his blogging projects. 

Not settling for less

Surveyor Alexey Petrin with a GS18 T GNSS RTK Rover

When switching to total stations and GNSS equipment, he first started using different instruments, available on the market. In 2007 he received his first Leica Geosystems’ instrument and knew after testing it thoroughly that he has found his technological partner for life. He entered the total station world with his first Leica TC407, then continued with Leica FlexLine TS06, TS09 plus, Leica Viva TS11 and is currently using a Leica FlexLine TS10 Manual Total Station. In terms of GNSS equipment, he started with Leica GPS1200 and moved onto the Leica Viva GS14 Smart Antenna. Currently, he is using a Leica GS18 T, the fastest and most advanced GNSS RTK Rover, with a Leica CS20 Field Controller running Leica Captivate field software.

“As much as I love technological developments, I consider myself to be a bit conservative too. Conservative in terms of never changing a running system, only upgrading it with the latest and the best. With Leica Geosystems’ I know I have a partner I can trust in the long run – the instruments are reliable, unpretentious and help me master my projects beyond any given environmental factors. Be it construction, cadastral, surveying, façades, monitoring – all done by the same instruments with the same software. They just deliver.”

When purchasing new equipment, Petrin focuses on the reliability of the obtained data, the accuracy and the ability to work regardless of the surroundings. 

Geodetic all the way

Surveyor Alexey Petrin surveying with a Leica FlexLine TS10

The majority of his projects are geodetic surveys, usually performing topographic surveys at a scale of 1:500. Leica FlexLine TS10 has proven to be the right choice for all the precision requirements Petrin encountered, combined with being able to work at very low temperatures with the arctic version. With the newly introduced AutoHeight feature, the risk of making a mistake during setup has been taken off his shoulders too. Then with the GS18 T removing the need of having to hold the pole vertical to level the bubble, any job can be completed even faster and with less headache. Plus all of these instruments come with Leica Captivate Field Software, perfectly tying them into a solution with just one easy-to-use software and one common format for all the collected data.

“The combination of instruments helps me remain flexible and follow site restrictions – e.g. when a site does not allow to use GNSS equipment, I conduct the entire survey with a total station. This way I really have an answer to any project requirement and can make ad hoc decisions on site. The part that wraps up the package is Leica Captivate – I find it easy to learn as it basically “thinks” as a surveyor does.”

It’s all about trust

“When I am aware of the fact that my hardware and software are perfectly synchronised, I tend to almost forget about it and focus solely on the tasks I need to finish,” Petrin says. “It helps me to work fast, stay safe at busy construction sites and deliver beyond what my clients would normally expect – hence actually expanding my portfolio with an additional set of tasks.”

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