Understanding GPS surveying process and how to do it in Kenya

Surveying has changed substantially in Kenya over the years — what used to take months of observation, measurement and geometrical calculations now takes a few hours or days thanks to the introduction of GPS technology. In fact, the surveying industry was one of the first to utilize GPS technology, recognizing the potential benefits of the technology. Today, surveying professionals rely on GPS to provide accurate and reliable data for clients across a wide range of industries and applications. Despite the widespread usage of GPS technology in surveying, however, it’s not a topic many know about — that’s why garminkenya here to explain the GPS surveying basics.

What Is GPS Surveying?

To understand the GPS surveying process, you need to understand what GPS is. In short, GPS, or the global positioning system, is a satellite-based navigation system. GPS was first developed for military use starting in the 1970s and became fully operational in 1993. Since then, it has expanded its use to consumer and commercial applications.

GPS uses a network of satellites, which communicate with receivers on the ground. When a receiver requests data to calculate its location, four or more GPS satellites will communicate with the receiver, sending the position of the satellite, the time the data was transmitted and the distance between the satellite and the receiver. The information collected from these satellites then calculates the latitude, longitude and height of the receiver. If the receiver is moving, continuous data collection can be used to calculate the changing position of the receiver over time, which can be used to calculate speed. No matter the weather conditions or time, GPS can triangulate the signal and provide a location.

While most people are familiar with GPS and have used it to some degree on their smartphones or car navigation systems, GPS is a powerful tool for commercial applications. It’s particularly useful for the surveying industry. Surveying was one of the first commercial adaptations for GPS for its ability to obtain latitudes and longitudes without the need for measuring distances and angles between points. In combination with other surveying equipment, like the Total Station, GPS technology provides valuable information for surveyors to help develop plans and models for client projects.

How Is GPS Surveying Done?

GPS surveying uses similar technology to nearly any other GPS application — however, how surveyors use GPS differs significantly. The primary differences are in two areas — technology and usage.

  • Technology: Surveyors use more sophisticated technology than typical GPS applications to increase the accuracy of the data they collect. The receivers used for surveying are significantly more complex and expensive than those you would find in a typical car navigation system, with high-quality antennas and more sophisticated calculation technology.
  • Data Usage: The data surveyors collect from the GPS technology is used differently than in a typical navigation system — instead of using location data for navigation, the data is used for measuring between two points. These measurements are collected then stored, manipulated and displayed in a geographic information system, or GIS, for use in a survey model.

But how do surveyors in Kenya use GPS to collect data? The specifics come down to the GPS surveying techniques that they use. While the basics of GPS are simple to understand, there are several techniques that surveyors use to make the most of the GPS measurements they collect.

Get intorch with Garmin Kenya office to learn and purchase GPS Surveying Equipments or contact us directly via +254 720 809355

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