Sept. 29, 2020
Survey Camp COVID-19 edition
ENGO 501 – Field Surveys or survey camp is one of the highlights of the geomatics engineering degree at the University of Calgary. Normally, it is held at the Barrier Lake Field Station in Kananaskis, AB. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year this was not possible. A 2020 version of survey camp was run in a hybrid mode: an online portion in August followed by group field work during Block Week in September. The course was co-instructed by Drs. Kyle O’Keefe and Ivan Detchev. Kent Jones and Paul Gratton served as teaching assistants, and Mohamed Elkholy as a temporary equipment technician. There were 33 students enrolled in the course.
From August 17 to 25 there were seven days of online instruction and lab work that started with instrument calibration with simulated data and creating a GIS to use for planning the field exercises on campus. The students then did planning and pre-analysis for four field exercise: cadastral retracement, RTK for surveying and mapping, deformation, static GNSS and precise levelling exercises. Aaron Shufletoski, BCLS and Reid Eggar, ALS presented to the class through Zoom. Finally, we reviewed some field and COVID-19 safety. Students were asked for various submissions almost daily.
The most important outcome of the seven-day online portion of the course was the prep work (e.g., computations, reconnaissance mapping, pre-analysis, and in general planning) for the field. The field work portion of the course took place between Mon, Aug 31 and Fri, Sept 4. In the first four days, student groups rotated between the four field exercises, while the last day was dedicated to the Lost Peg competition and a demo of the hydrographic surveying remotely controlled vessel (a.k.a. the HyDrone). The cadastral retracement and the RTK exercises were run in the West Campus Park, while the deformation and static GNSS & precise levelling exercises were located near the CCIT building on campus. Our students did a good job of staying two metres apart, wore face covering all week, and cleaned instruments and data collectors frequently.
We were impressed by students’ cooperation, patience and enthusiasm. Overall, the COVID-19 version of survey camp was a success. Still we are all looking forward to conducting the field course back in Kananaskis in the future.