Surveying Iconic Structures - TSA Conference 2018 - 18/01/2019

The TSA Conference 2018 was held on 7 November at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire with the theme of 'Surveying Iconic Structures'. The keynote presentation was given by Nick Rank, a director of Buttress Architects in Manchester on Great Expectations: what Architects want from a Building Survey.

His message was 'don't rely on drawings, they may be drawn from hearsay'. He demonstrated this with examples from Lincoln Cathedral and discussed the problems that can occur when restoration work must be done on a limited budget. Old drawings can be digitised and rectified and often working with paper is more efficient than working digitally. He noted that BIM could be very useful for FM. He also opined that the downside of a good survey by surveyors is that architects no longer 'study' the building in detail - a change of practice is needed. Rank was followed by Paul Bryan from Historic England who also talked on surveying Iconic Structures. He talked about the techniques now used, including Structure from Motion (SfM), which he claimed has reinvigorated photogrammetry. Historic England (HE) publishes a guide to 'Photogrammetric Applications for Cultural Heritage'. He also mentioned Reality Capture which HE defines as a combination of photogrammetry and scanning. Bryan also mentioned that the imaging team at HE has taken on an apprentice.

Dave Tucker from Ordnance Survey talked on Prestige Sites & Emerging Technologies and showed how change detection can be found by matching maps with images; the increasing use of satellite imagery and how IoT is used for monitoring.

Marco di Mauro from Leica Geosystems spoke on challenges in surveying and monitoring iconic buildings. He discussed the problems of fixing invisible prisms on historic buildings and establishing control in busy tourist areas and showed how construction on buildings like the Shard and Burj Khalifa in Dubai can be monitored with GNSS.

TSA members can find the presentations on the TSA website.

The Survey Association Bursary Winner 2018

Matthew Walker, a second-year Geomatics student at Newcastle University, was judged the ‘clear winner’ of a £2,000 bursary award, given annually by The Survey Association.

TSA’s Technical Committee invited submissions on the topic of surveying iconic structures, the technologies and techniques that might be applied to such work and the responsibilities of the chief surveyor on such a project. Matthew plans to use the bursary to assist him in obtaining a surveying work placement during the summer break.

Matthew Walker, said, “Surveying as an industry offers a good mix of desk and fieldwork and is something I wish to pursue after finishing my degree, although the exact discipline I am most interested in I have yet to decide”.

TSA Membership Growth

TSA has seen growth in recent months with eleven new Member companies now listed on the website including: Icelabz Survey Ltd, Apex Engineering Services, BWB Consulting Ltd, SmartWater Technology, Speedy Asset Services, Gladman Developments Ltd, Mark Beaver Surveying, GAP Hire Solutions, Formby Surveys, L & M Survey Services and Datatag ID.

TSA runs a portfolio of free business and technical seminars for Members throughout the year, as well as popular themed Conference events featuring expert speakers from the survey profession (

Managing Director of Apex Engineering Services Alex Parkhomenko, said “TSA accreditation adds to the professionalism of my company. Membership offers valuable networking opportunities and the sharing of best practice with other survey professionals.”

This article was published in Geomatics World January/February 2019

Last updated: 05/03/2020