Women Dominate in the Aerial Survey Section
(from left to right)
Shanleigh Hugo, Sheila Whitehead, Laverne Volmink and Michelle Abramson
Aerial Survey forms part of Survey Services under the Chief Directorate:
Implementation. We are a very small section comprising of just five staff
members, namely Peter Summers (Control Industrial Technician), Laverne Volmink
(Chief Industrial Technician); Shanleigh Hugo (Industrial Technician); Sheila
Whitehead & Michelle Abramson (both Principal Auxiliary Services Officers).
We may be a small section but we definitely carry our weight!
Survey on the whole plays a major role within the Department.
When it is decided by management that a road is required in a particular area or
if an existing road needs to be realigned, Survey is the first team on the job.
Firstly, within survey management, it is decided whether the survey is to be
done by aerial or ground survey methods. Aerial Survey normally undertakes the
larger projects. If Aerial Survey is involved, we get an aeroplane out to
"fly" the area. Basically what is done is that the plane flies over
the area and takes aerial photographs from a particular height along a path that
we decide upon. We then have the photographs scanned and these scanned images
are used to map/survey the area. We use what is known as a Digital
Photogrammetric System to survey by aerial survey methods. What that entails
is that we download the scanned images onto our system/ computer and then use
"goggles" known as "crystal eyes" to view the images in
3-dimensional format. It is imperative that we are able to see in 3-D as the
mapping that is produced must have X, Y and Z co-ordinates. In order to obtain a
3-D model of the area, 2 consecutive photographs are used, with an overlap area
of 60% between them.
Mapping or surveying the area entails using a computer
software package called Microstation and an add-on package called uSmart to show
what detail can be found in the area. We map features such as roads, buildings,
power and telephone lines, drainage, and anything else that would be affected
by, or have an effect on the road design. We also map spot shots and contours,
which show what the levels or heights of the area are.
Once the survey is completed an orthophoto is produced. This
is basically a photographic backdrop of the area. This is very useful as anyone
looking at it would not have to have a technical background in order to know
what the area looks like, as opposed to a normal survey plan.
Once all of this has been completed and edited, everything is
handed over the road designers in the Geometric Design Section, who then are
able to decide on the best route for the road to take as they will now know
exactly what the area looks like and what would be affected by the route.
This is just a very broad overview of what the Aerial Survey
Section of the department does.
Read more about the ladies of Aerial Survey
is the Chief Industrial Technician. She
joined the Department in March 1995 as a Senior Auxiliary Service Officer. A
year later she was given the opportunity to study through the Department, and
chose to complete a Diploma in Survey through Technikon Natal. She completed
her Diploma in 1998 and is in the process of completing her B.Tech degree at
present. After a brief break from working at the Department between 1999-2000
she re-joined the Department in June 2000. She was promoted to her current
rank in 2002.
Shanleigh Hugo is an Industrial Technician. She joined
the Department of Transport in July 1999, as a Student Industrial Technician.
She obtained her National Diploma in Surveying, Cum Laude, on 1 July
2002, with 19 distinctions out of 24 subjects, as well as 14 merit certificates;
a merit certificate is given to the person with the highest final distinction
level result for a particular subject in a particular semester. She was also
awarded the prestigious Optron Award, which is administered by ITESSA, for the
student who has competed all the Technikon administered subjects with the
highest overall result, in South Africa, for the year 2001. On completion of her
diploma she was promoted to the rank of Industrial Technician, which is the rank
she currently holds. She has worked in the Aerial Survey section since January
Sheila Whitehead is a Chief Auxiliary Services Officer,
who started her career in the Department in May 1990, after being a stay-at-home
mom for 16 years. She commenced at the Department as an Auxiliary Services
Officer in Ground Survey doing the draughting of all survey plans. At that stage
tracing was done with ink & stencils. In 1993 the Department upgraded and
moved into the computer age, with draughting being done with CAD (Computer Aided
Draughting), using the Microstation package. Her duties at present include the
draughting requirements of both Aerial & Ground Survey as well as all
administrative work in the sections such as the answering telephones, sending
and receipt of faxes, ordering of supplies, and so on. She also does the monthly
Michelle Abramson is a Principal Auxiliary Services
Officer, who joined the Department in January 1993 as an Auxiliary Services
Officer in Aerial Survey. She is responsible for the cosmetic editing of plans
for both the Ground and Aerial Survey sections. She is also involved in doing
bridge and culvert site surveys and the editing of plans. Her duties include
assisting with the budget and the administrative work for the section.