After introducing myself, I normally ask the College and University students if they have used a Total Station before. Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. On the odd occasion when they say yes, they look scared listening to me talk about the days setting out and surveying tasks they need to complete. Fast forward a couple of hours and the same scared-looking students are saying: “This is so much better than when we did it in Uni.” or “This is so much easier than what we did one time last year.”
On a weekly basis, I see the ever-growing gap between the practical exercises being taught in Engineering or Construction courses and the practical knowledge that is vital as soon as you step onto a building site. That covers a vast array of knowledge, whether it is health and safety related, setting out and surveying or general day-to-day site duties.
When it comes to a practical session at College or Uni, most students are introduced to a Theodolite. They set it up over a peg and turn it to various angles, taping distances and putting in ranging poles for position. I believe this is a fantastic way for them to learn about vital engineering traits, but it is by no means a current way to be setting out. Due to budgets and very little CPD for lecturers this is as detailed as it gets.
Most of my first morning meeting with 2nd year, 3rd year and even Masters students is spent explaining what a coordinate is, teaching them how to read millimetres, explaining site control, showing them simple AutoCAD data and how that can be exported and used with a Total Station. I’ll basically blow their minds with easy-to-use and engaging software like Leica Icon Site, Leica Captivate, using a GS18T for rapid detailed surveys and setting out a design that they have exported straight from the laptop.
Myself and other Opti-cal employees invest a lot of free time getting current equipment in front of students and lecturers, and a live site environment like Constructionarium Scotland is a great place to do it so they can get real first-hand experience.
This year we will assist 10 Universities and Colleges within Scotland (Lecturers included) building their very own Windfarm, Bridge, Viewing platform and operating Pod on live sites.
Opti-cal offer training all over the UK. For more information about the courses we offer, please see our training page - click here.
By Alan Penrose