Tag: survey

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Monday, October 9th, 2017

Surveying Tools

In a recent blog, I discussed laser scanning as a surveying tool. That made me think of all the tools that surveyors carry in their proverbial tool bag today.

 

Surveying equipment used to be pretty simple when Francis A. Martin did his thing in 1875. We still use Francis A. Martin’s stuff, although often in improved versions, but, boy, has the list grown.

 

Writing blogs is fun, since it allows me to ponder the subject while I write about. I thought I was going to discuss the growth in surveying tools, but in writing the list, I noticed that in the last 10 years the smartphone has revolutionized the marine surveying field too. It is amazing how many marine surveying measurements and recordings can be made with a smartphone. A smartphone truly is starting to beat a Star Trek tricorder.

 

1875. Francis A. Martin’s tool bag:

 

1.            Pocket notebook (we still have some that he used). The neatest ones today are Wetnotes, but they are never easy to find)

 

2.            Pencil. But we also have some pocket notebooks where he used a fountain pen. Today only Wayne occasionally uses a fountain pen, but we have a favored mechanical pencil in the 0.7mm Bic Velocity. 

 

3.            A surveying hammer. I have a fancy Japanese one on my office shelves. We certainly don't get to take it on the plane. Often a tool that we can get in the yard when needed (it generally is a chipping hammer).

 

4.            A piece of chalk. Today we more often use spray cans and sharpies, but a crayon or a piece of chalk still is nice.

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When I joined Martin & Ottaway, Harry Ottaway told me that Francis Martin used a horse and carriage to be dropped off at the various surveys.

 

Roy Kanapaux, a surveyor that still worked with Martin & Ottaway in the early eighties (at age 80!) and whom I met when I visited my father at the office, never had a driver’s license and used cabs to get him to jobs. In the last few years that became difficult because there were certain areas of the New York waterfront where cabbies would drop you off, but not pick you up when you called from a pay phone.

 

I myself started with Martin & Ottaway when we just acquired personal 35mm compact cameras. Before that we shot in 110 format (ugh) or, much nicer, by means of a shipyard professional photographer. Today, digital photography is really just too cool, and since a picture tells a thousand words, emailing a picture is often much easier in trying to describe a complex problem than words alone.  

 

It can be argued that surveyors will adopt any technology that makes their life easier, and I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. We still occasionally use our ultrasonic hatchcover tester, not too long ago some surveyors tried rappelling gear for tank inspections and now we are messing with drones. All fun stuff, but, of all the new stuff, I like laser scanning best, because it accomplishes a task that I could not effectively perform before. read more »

As surveyors we rush around the world on short notice, arrive at some distant port and then are asked to look at a damage situation or some technical or operational problem. We crawl into tight and dirty spaces and end op taken pictures or measurements of broken components.

 

Often we rush back to catch the next plane. But every now and then you get a glimpse of something that makes you realize that technology is a wonderful thing. It is immensely creative and, if we are lucky, we technologists get to put our heart and souls into creating objects that in many ways are indistinguishable from the greatest art created by man and that can leave a lasting impression.

 

I was dealing with a crankshaft damage on a large diesel engine and when I stood up inside the lifted entablature I felt like I was inside a Cathedral of Internal Combustion. It was quite beautiful; it radiated power and passion by its creators and provided a nice space for a little contemplation.

 

 

 

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Big Load Afloat

 

As a company maybe we love salvage more than anything else, but load outs must come in as a very close second.

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Technology failures are inevitable. The trick is to keep failures to a minimum and to keep failures in the “mostly harmless” category. Certain types of equipment can fail and the failure does not result in consequences that are too serious, while other types of equipment failures can make a mess of things almost right away. Ship’s steering gear undoubtedly belongs in the latter category, and, therefore, steering gear normally gets special attention in its design and construction. In our office we have had a spate of steering gear failure investigations lately and very interestingly they all seem to have different causes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a short list of recent steering gear failures that we were involved in:

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This cartoon was probably old when I first saw it in the eighties, but I would say the subject that it spoofs has not gotten much better.

 

 

Most of the above inspectors still show up, but today we can add Port State Control, P&I condition inspectors (especially hatch cover inspections), environmental auditors, ISM inspectors and the list goes on. M&O performs many of the above inspections and we truly symphatize with ship's personnel that has to manage all these port call duties during ever shorter port calls.

 

Recently M&O has been involved in research and development activities to reduce this inspection workload for the ship's crews. In October I will be presenting a paper on the subject at the SNAME annual meeting in Providence RI. read more »

For the second time in three years we were asked to attend to damages of the shielding on the Brooklyn Bridge. Shielding is a type of staging that is fitted to a bridge when construction work is taking place, and both cases related to contact by a crane boom with the shielding that was suspended beneath the bridge. Fortunately nobody was hurt in either case. read more »

December 15, 2011, in Rochester, New York to inspect a pier on behalf of the Department of Justice with regard to a fatal boater's crash on a dark night in 2008 on Lake Ontario.

 

It was surprisingly warm for this time of year, but the USCG Boatswain in charge of the 47 foot MLB and his crew performed a risk assessment and decided we should wear the mustang suits for the night time trip.

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