Tag Archives: Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology

Land Surveying certificate offers additional job opportunities to those with bachelor’s degrees

Why four students chose to change career paths and head back to college.

Dunwoody College land surveying certificate studentsBetter pay. More job opportunities. The ability to work outside. A more defined career path.

Those are just a few of the reasons why—despite already having bachelor’s degrees—Kyle Knutson, Chris Johnson, Stanley Silverberg, and Briana Johnson decided to go back to college.

One year later, all four students have graduated from Dunwoody’s Land Surveying certificate program and agree they are leaving with a much brighter future.

Dunwoody’s Land Surveying certificate helps students find their niche 

“I have a bachelor’s degree in Wilderness Leadership, but I was looking to learn a [more] specific skill,” Chris Johnson said. “I enjoy being outdoors, and land surveying seemed like a good option.”

Kyle Knutson, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

Kyle Knutson, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

Graduate Kyle Knutson agreed:

“I found myself looking for a career that combines my passion for geography with the ability to be out of doors while at work,” Knutson said. “This program is perfectly suited for someone like myself with a bachelor’s degree who is looking to move into the surveying field.”

While Dunwoody also offers a two-year associate’s degree in Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology, the Land Surveying certificate is unique in that it specifically targets students who already have a bachelor’s degree and are possibly interested in becoming a professional surveyor.

The coursework builds on student’s existing bachelor’s degrees, offering a quicker route to the surveying profession. Most students complete the certificate in just two semesters.

Chris Johnson, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

Chris Johnson, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

Program graduates are prepared to become Land Surveyors in Training (LSIT), which work under a licensed surveyor and assist in the collection of data and mapping of the earth’s surface. They are employed by a wide array of governmental agencies, including counties, cities, and states, in addition to private contracting and land surveying firms.

“The goal is to help students who maybe didn’t have a clear idea of what their future looked like before,” Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Principal Instructor Kelly Ness said.

Stanley Silverberg, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, shared that his unclear future began just weeks before the start of the program:

“I was laid off in December of 2015,” he said. “I had [previously] worked for an engineering company doing land surveying, and I decided to pursue a formal education in the profession to help with employment opportunities in the future.”

Certificate builds on existing skills, adds hands-on training
Stanley Silverberg, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

Stanley Silverberg, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

With prior experience in the field and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, Silverberg was a perfect applicant for the program.

“The types of bachelor’s degrees or related work experience that work especially well with this certificate include geography, earth sciences, math, and physics,” Ness said.

Students then expand on their existing skills and knowledge by participating in hands-on projects as well as training on industry-standard equipment.

Throughout the program, students take a wide variety of lectures and labs in areas such as 2D and 3D drafting, boundary control, and land use planning. They also prepare for industry by becoming familiar with the technologies they can expect to find out on the job, including computer-aided drafting programs (CAD) and the latest in GNSS (GPS) technology.

At the end of the year, graduates are eligible to take the Fundamentals of Land Surveying (FLS) exam to become Land Surveyors in Training (LSIT). Upon gaining the required experience under a licensed surveyor, graduates will then be able to take the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam to become professional land surveyors.

Briana Johnson, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

Briana Johnson, Dunwoody College Land Surveying Certificate Graduate

The national median salary for professional land surveyors in Minnesota is $70,620 annually*—a selling point for Briana Johnson.

“I was not making enough money with what I was doing [previously],” Johnson said. “I chose Dunwoody because of the cost and the hands-on experience that I would get with the programs.

“I am excited to be able to support myself financially and enjoy the job that I am doing.”

Learn more

Dunwoody College’s Land Surveying certificate offers 22 technical credits in land surveying, as currently required by the MN board of licensure (AELSLAGID). The program takes approximately one year to complete.

To see if you are eligible for enrollment, contact Kelly Ness or visit dunwoody.edu for more information.

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree but are interested in becoming a surveying technician, Dunwoody College also has a two-year associate’s degree in Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology.

Learn about both programs at our next open house on Tuesday, February 7.

*Based on May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for the state of Minnesota published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov.

 

Dunwoody Surveying students place 1st in 2016 NSPS Student Competition

Second-year students Wyatt Spencer, BJ Klenke, Doug Pouliot, Joe Irey, Brandon Davis, Jake Blue and team observer Patrick Kowal took first place in the two-year degree program category of the 2016 National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) Student Competition earlier this month.

Photo of Wyatt Spencer, BJ Klenke, Doug Pouliot, Joe Irey, Brandon Davis, and Jake Blue.

L to R: Wyatt Spencer, BJ Klenke, Doug Pouliot, Joe Irey, Brandon Davis, and Jake Blue.

The annual event—which was held in conjunction with the 2016 Surveying & Mapping Conference—was held in Crystal City (Arlington), VA, and was open to all two- and four-year colleges across the country.

New event, new skills

To enter the competition, the Dunwoody team—advised by Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Principal Instructor Kelly Ness—had to complete a boundary and topographic survey of a parcel of land, approximately 10 acres in size, for a hypothetical land development project.

The team was then required to create a “metes and bounds legal description” of the land lot (i.e., a description of the land and its boundaries) and construct a plot map of the surveyed area.

This information—along with a safety plan, field notes and data calculations—was compiled into a final project binder and then presented to a panel of industry experts and competition judges.

“In order to complete the project, we had to develop the types of skills that are used everyday in the industry,” Ness said. “That was the most beneficial piece for the students—the knowledge and skills obtained throughout the competition.”

A welcome win

A first-time event for Dunwoody and the students, Ness said he couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

“Winning the competition is a huge achievement and one that will be recognized by future employers and peers in the surveying community.”

Spencer, Klenke, Irey, Davis, and Blue will graduate with an associate’s degree in Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology this May. Pouliot will follow in Fall 2016. Kowal hopes to participate in the 2017 NSPS Student Competition next Spring.

The College would like to thank industry partner Westwood Professional Services for their generous donation, which allowed the students to travel toand participate inthe competition.

Learn more about Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology.

Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students calculate circumference of earth using ancient and modern methods

 

Second-semester students Wyatt Spencer, Jake Blue, Jeremy Brunell, Joe Irey, BJ Klenke and Brandon Davis calculated the circumference of earth using ancient and modern methods.

Second-semester students Wyatt Spencer, Jake Blue, Jeremy Brunell, Joe Irey, BJ Klenke and Brandon Davis calculated the circumference of earth using ancient and modern methods.

After studying Greek astronomer Eratosthenes’ methods to calculate the circumference of the earth, students in the Geodetic & Controls Surveys class recreated the process using ancient–276 BC–methods and modern technology.

Second-semester students Wyatt Spencer, Jake Blue, Jeremy Brunell, Joe Irey, BJ Klenke and Brandon Davis gathered background information about Eratosthenes from the book “Elementary Surveying: An Introduction to Geomatics (13th Edition).”According to their research: Eratosthenes determined on the summer solstice each year that the sun was directly overhead the city of Syene, Egypt. It was noted that while looking down a particular well, one could observe the sun’s reflection was directly in the middle of the water. He lived in Northern Egypt, in the city of Alexandria, which was 5000 stadia (equal to 500 statute miles) from Syene. In the city of Alexandria on the summer solstice, he then measured the length of the shadow created by a tower in the city of Alexandria. Using simple geometry he calculated the angle between the tower and the shadow, and determined the angle to be approximately 7.2 degrees, which is one-fiftieth of a circle. Eratosthenes then had the distance between Alexandria and Syene measured by averaging the time it took camels to travel the distance between the two cities. He took that measurement and multiplied it by fifty to approximate the circumference of the earth. His result was remarkably accurate, differing from a commonly accepted value (24,901) by less than 100 miles.

Since the sun was not directly over the Dunwoody campus and it wasn’t plausible to drive the 500 miles to carry out the measurements, the class reached out to a forum called surveyconnect.com to ask for a volunteer to assist them in measuring the angle of the sun’s rays. Dan Robinson, of Little Rock, Ark. responded to the students’ request for assistance.

On January 16 at approximately solar noon, the students went outside in front of campus with a 24-foot pole—which they made by connecting six four-foot range poles. They held the pole vertically and used a plumb bob to confirm it was vertical. They then used a 100-foot tape measure to determine the length of the shadow cast by the range pole.

On January 16 at approximately solar noon, the students went outside in front of campus with a 24-foot pole—which they made by connecting six four-foot range poles. They held the pole vertically and used a plumb bob to confirm it was vertical. They then used a 100-foot tape measure to determine the length of the shadow cast by the range pole.

On January 16 at approximately solar noon, the students went outside in front of campus with a 24-foot pole—which they made by connecting six four-foot range poles. They held the pole vertically and used a plumb bob to confirm it was vertical. They then used a 100-foot tape measure to determine the length of the shadow cast by the range pole.

They measured a shadow at 59.9 feet from the base of the pole to the tip of the shadow. At approximately the same time—solar noon in Little Rock, Ark.—Robinson measured the shadow of 39.6 feet from a 25-foot pole.

“Dan’s participation was greatly appreciated,” said Principal Instructor Kelly Ness. “I think it speaks for the support students have from others in the surveying community.”

Using the coordinates Robinson gave them for his location (N 44-35-00 W 93-10-00), the coordinates of Dunwoody College (N44-58-22 W93-17-28) and a program to convert coordinates to geodetic distance (http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong.html) the students determined the distance between the College and Dan’s location to be 706.49 miles. With this information they were able to calculate a circumference of 24,383 miles. The value they calculated is similar to a currently accepted value of the earth’s circumference at the equator of 24,901 miles.

Although they enjoy the modern day GPS (GNSS) technology they’re using in their classes, the students are interested in additional projects using ancient methods of measurement.

“Next we will create a triangulation network similar to the method used from the late 1700s through the 1900s,” said Ness. “Surveying is a profession that will forever be tied to the past.”

For more information about Dunwoody’s Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology program, visit http://www.dunwoody.edu/construction/surveying-civil-engineering-technology.

RDO Integrated Controls supplies Topcon equipment to Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Program

Dunwoody’s Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students are using state-of-the-art Topcon equipment thanks to RDO Integrated Controls.

Dunwoody’s Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students are using state-of-the-art Topcon equipment thanks to RDO Integrated Controls.

RDO Integrated Controls provided the program with four Topcon HiPer SR GNSS receivers and Telsa data collectors with Magnet software at a low cost rental for the school year.  The HiPer SR is a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) used to measure and layout precise locations on the ground.

“The previous equipment was older technology–strictly GPS–and was not utilizing all of the satellites that are available,” said Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Principal Instructor Kelly Ness. “Now the students are using the latest industry standard equipment.”

RDO Integrated Controls provided the Surveying & Civil Engineering program with four Topcon HiPer SR GNSS receivers and Telsa data collectors with Magnet software at a low cost rental for the school year.

The HiPer SR is able to connect to a network of base Virtual Reference Stations (VRS) that the Minnesota Department of Transportation maintains.  The VRS enables students to achieve centimeter level positioning without a local base station.

Ness said industry partnerships and donations are appreciated and ensure that graduates are familiar with the newest industry technology when they enter the surveying and civil engineering workforce.

For more information about the Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology program, go to http://www.dunwoody.edu/construction/surveying-civil-engineering-technology/

Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology now offered during the day

Starting in August 2014 Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology will be offered as a daytime program at Dunwoody College.

The program has been offered at Dunwoody since the early 1920s, but starting in 2001 classes only became available in the evenings.

Dunwoody’s Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Principal Instructor Kelly Ness (pictured center) works with students using Topcon HiPer SR GNSS receivers

Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Principal Instructor Kelly Ness says the switch to days will result in larger class sizes. He says evening programs tend to attract smaller classes generally made up of non-typical students who are changing careers.

“We would like to have full classes of graduates,” Ness said. “We feel the switch to daytime classes is necessary to attract the number of students that the industry will need in the years to come.”

The switch to daytime classes isn’t the only change for the program.

“We are in the process of introducing an updated curriculum to keep up with an industry that is constantly in flux,” Ness said. “There is new equipment on the doorstep–imaging, laser scanning and unmanned vehicles–that will revolutionize the industry. We need to be ready to integrate these technologies into the curriculum when they become adopted by the industry.”

Ness says many of Minnesota’s licensed surveyors have graduated from Dunwoody. He’s confident the recent changes to Dunwoody’s program will ensure employers continue to have plenty of quality civil engineering technicians available for hire after graduation.

For more information about Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology, go to http://www.dunwoody.edu/construction/surveying-civil-engineering-technology/