Beyond Surveying and Engineering

In Person

R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

New-Tech Parking Meters Simplify Payment Process

by John Burgan 12. October 2015 12:01

The Wisconsin Chapter of AWPA (American Public Works Association) recently published its October 2015 newsletter. Take a read through all of the informative and interesting articles, including the article from the Engineering & Technology Committee on page 11.

Because of my interest in municipal parking, I chose to feature parking meters and the technology currently used for those operating in the City of Milwaukee. Also of note are mobile parking payment apps. Read on to learn more.

New-Tech Parking Meters Simplify Payment Process
APWA Wisconsin Chapter October 2015 Newsletter



Municipal | Technology

GPS is More Than a Survey Tool at R.A. Smith National

by Paul Schafer 12. June 2013 09:06

While GPS has traditionally been used by R.A. Smith National to survey property, our construction services staff is now using GPS to calculate quantities including earthwork as part of our construction management and inspection services. Our use of GPS to verify construction data has become increasingly important as more contractors are taking advantage of GPS controlled equipment. R.A. Smith National is using GPS as a tool to provide greater accuracy and increased productivity, which translates to a cost savings for our clients.



Think Mobile

by Kyle Belott 1. December 2012 07:43

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2015 smartphone sales will reach 982 million and, according to Morgan Stanley, by 2014 mobile web users will surpass traditional desktop internet users. At first glance these facts seem astounding. But not if you take a closer look at how many of our daily interactions with a desktop PC are becoming increasingly augmented by the use of smart devices. These days many of us don’t even think twice about using smart devices to navigate unfamiliar destinations, manage our appointment calendar, take notes at a meeting, browse the Internet and conduct many other routine activities. We have the ability to respond to phone calls, emails, texts, social networking – from anywhere. Add to this the ability to capture, store and use data while in that mobile environment.

A major contributor to the widespread use of mobile data is the ability for a smart device to tie location information to an activity. It’s these kinds of spatial relationships that enable us to make better decisions regarding just about any activity, ranging from choosing an entertainment venue to collecting and analyzing data regarding physical land or water features. And…today’s location-based data is even more reliable based on the proliferation of GPS and mobile operating systems. What’s more, wireless communications including Wi-Fi and broadband, allow data to be immediately accessed and updated on the spot.

In the engineering and construction industries, those of us at the forefront of this technology are using smart devices with GIS mapping applications to make informed decisions in real time in the field. GIS applications can be developed to conduct an inventory of assets, track the maintenance of valuable resources and their protection, map activities such as complete wetland delineations and urban forestry identification, locate nearby amenities and services, and more.

At R.A. Smith National we have developed several mobile GIS applications, across several operating systems (Windows XP, Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows 7, Android) and web-based platforms for the mobile data capture of sanitary, storm, water, street sign and urban forestry. Contact me at or 262-317-3364 to discuss how you can think mobile.

Read more about the emerging trends and opportunities for mobile data.



GIS | Technology

Trimble SketchUp Brings Projects to Life

by Tom Mortensen 3. July 2012 05:19

More and more, we’re seeing projects come to life using Trimble SketchUp as a 3D modeling design tool. As a landscape architect, I don’t necessarily use it as a final rendering tool for presentation graphics as the color rendering capability is not that sophisticated, but where it has been very helpful is in the design development and decision-making process on complex projects.

As an example, SketchUp became an invaluable design tool when our team was exploring some of the spatial relationships on the recently completed Summerfest project. This tool allowed the design team to relate to each other’s respected disciplines in 3D, making the meetings very productive. We also used SketchUp recently for a series of design charrettes for a large, regional park planning project in the village of Sussex, Wisconsin as a “live” design and visualization tool at public meetings. Participants were able to make decisions and draw consensus through the use of 3D imagery, while the park design was being developed in real time.

We also used 3D laser scanning technology along with SketchUp to build a series of renderings for a large courtyard plan for the Veteran’s Administration in Tomah, Wisconsin. For video tutorials on how SketchUp works, visit

Tags: , , ,


Powered by BlogEngine.NET