C+S February 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 2 (web)

gan Hartery, survey technologist, spent hours every morning on repetitive data processing and management tasks, starting earlier each day, but she struggled to keep up. Fretwell saw the situation as another process improvement opportunity. What they needed was more automation. Enter stylesheets. A highly flexible technology that is used in numerous software industries to define export param- eters, a stylesheet can be created to produce an Excel spreadsheet directly from survey instruments without requiring intermediate steps or data conversions. Stylesheets can also be created to produce a desired HTML file, including CSS styling and even Javascript, to allow clients to interact with the data. This type of file can be displayed in any browser in an easy-to-read visual report. For a project with repetitive processes, like the solar farm, stylesheets provide an easy way to automate data processing. Stylesheets AutomateWorkflows for Optimum Efficiency and Quality Fretwell knew Leica Geosystems already offered a library of stylesheets with Captivate field software, but he also felt confident that with a little training he could learn to develop his own. After taking the online learning courses avail- able through the Leica Geosystems MyWorld customer support portal, Fretwell dove right in, relying on support from Leica Geosystems’ Alastair Green, Burke Asay and their teams to help answer questions and resolve issues. Creating and implementing the stylesheets was a collaborative process, with Stodalka and Hartery, as well as Geo- matics Technologist Mandy Rammer and Office Resource Manager Stefan Helmer, contributing process definition, optimization and troubleshooting. “Consistent, constructive collaboration leads to positive outcomes,” Fretwell says. Using the stylesheets, the Challenger crews now generate at the field level the daily reports required by the client. This allows Hartery to focus on more high-value tasks, such as creating formal reports and maps, organizing the data, and responding to other project needs as they arise. The time savings is substantial, but even more important is the increased repeatability in the office. “If I have to hand the work off to someone else, it’s easy for them to pick it up,”Hartery says. “And anyone who’s worked with massive amount of data knows that it’s almost an order of magnitude more likely that a mistake is going to hap- pen with each iteration of processing. Using stylesheets allows us to minimize that risk.” Innovation Drives Client and Employee Happiness Not surprisingly, Challenger isn’t done innovating their processes. Fretwell and Stodalka are now refining project ac- counting to track every variable. Implementing automated error checks, flags and notifications will enable the system developed on the solar farm to be rolled out across the entire company to benefit every project. Contractors for renewable energy projects and other large-scale projects that require innovative thinking and creative problem-solving are taking notice. And the company culture attracts talented people to Challenger and makes them want to stay, which brings the value of innovation full circle. “The ability to eliminate the wait time for survey work is a big deal,”explains Fretwell. “By speeding up that process and approvals, we’re helping clients get to their billing cycles much faster. If they can bill an extra 1500 piles because we’re a day in advance of where they thought they were going to be, they’re much better off. That’s a tangible benefit. Our clients also appreciate the risk mitigation, project management and collaborative approach we bring to their projects.” “Being innovative is Challenger,” says Hartery. “Everything I’ve seen people do here is innovative, and if they don’t have a way, they’re going to find or make a way. It makes me proud to be part of the company, and I enjoy it immensely.” Note: This article is adapted from a longer story published on Pure Surveying Insights. For more stories on how technology improves surveying efficiency and quality, visit https://pure-surveying.com/insights. To learn more about solutions to maximize your surveying potential, get in touch with a surveying and engineering expert at Leica Geosystems.



February 2022

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