Land Surveying & Subdivision Class

Michael Marshall (top); Andrew Farmer (bottom left); Melanie Billings (bottom right)

Michael Marshall (top); Andrew Farmer (bottom left); Melanie Billings (bottom right)

Students in the Purdue University North Central College of Engineering and Technology have new state-of-the-art equipment to use as they learn the art of surveying.

This semester students are using the new Topcon 235W total station – an instrument that allows them to survey land, collect data and take vital measurements.

Students in Lisa Dobrowski’s Land Surveying and Subdivision class are currently using this cutting-edge technology. Dobrowski takes her students out in the field so they get a feel for using this instrument in varying circumstances, much like they will find on the job.

On a recent afternoon they visited 13-acres in rural Porter County to take measurements for a “subdivision.”

Using the total station, the students are able to measure the land’s elevation and topography, find property lines, identify buildings or bodies of water, follow its drainage pattern and record other key information about the property.

With this information, the students will go back to the classroom and begin plotting their subdivision using AutoCAD drafting software. They will also research Porter County land ordinances to ensure that their imaginary subdivision follows all of the county’s legal requirements.

Student Andrew Farmer, a Construction Engineering and Management Technology major from Portage, welcomes the opportunity to use this technology.

“This is what I’ll see in the field when I graduate,” said Farmer, who anticipates graduating in May. “I’ll have the skill sets that employers look for on the job.”

Melanie Billings, of Chesterton, is a Construction Engineering and Management Technology major as well. She looks forward to a December commencement. She explained that using this equipment helped her learn her craft.

“I like to learn by doing,” she explained. “This helps me understand and apply the concepts we learn in the classroom.”

She would like to pursue a career as a residential construction project manager. “When I was a little girl, my dad would give me a hammer, nails and some wood and I’d go out in the yard and build something,” she said. “In high school I took wood shop. This is what I enjoy.”

As Dobrowski moved among the students as they worked in the field, the students agreed they liked the opportunity to interact with their professor.

“Working in small groups like this is great,” said Billings.
As Farmer worked nearby he added, “With the one-on-one instruction with a professor, I can ask questions and get answers.

They make sure that we understand what we’re learning.”
Michael Marshall, a Construction Engineering and Management Technology major from Hebron, also noted, “I like that the professors have knowledge and experience in their fields. They each bring different backgrounds in different fields to the classroom, so you get the full view of potential career fields.”

He welcomed this field learning experience.

“I appreciate having the technology available that I’ll use on the job,” he said. “Using the equipment, learning the technology and knowing how things work gives me the confidence that I’ll be able to step in and do the job for an employer.”
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