Nick Vu

Survey Technician

Nick Vu

Over the last seven years at Binnie, Nick has advanced from Survey Assistant to Survey Technician. He's now training to be a Legal Surveyor.

Nick is a Survey Technician with Binnie’s Geomatics Group. With the support of Binnie’s education allowance, Nick attained his Applied Science Technologist designation and then his Bachelor’s Degree in Technology in Geomatics. All this while he continued working and raising his three young children.

Nick has started training to become a Legal Surveyor, a goal that is not without challenges. His focus is complete the requirements set out by the Canadian Board of Examiners for Professional Surveyors and become qualified to become a Land Surveyor in Training (or “LST” for short). And that’s only the beginning of the work that Nick will undertake as he learns the process and stringent rules in producing legal survey plans.

In his role as Survey Technician, Nick processes GPS data coming from Binnie’s team of field surveyors. At any one time he could be receiving data from 10 different surveyors. Nick is the go-between guy between surveyors and engineering project managers who need the data before they can start designing their project. Engineers must understand the location of property lines and the topography of the land before they can build on it. They rely on surveyors to provide perfect data, and they expect staff like Nick to apply stringent quality checks to ensure the data is correct. This means that Nick will check and re-check every piece of data that passes through his desk.

Nick also works outdoors, and is often called upon to conduct terrestrial laser scanning surveys. Terrestrial laser scanning involves scanning a surface with a laser and creating complex three-dimensional data otherwise known as a “point cloud”. It is useful for scanning complex and inaccessible 3D environments. Nick has the ability to lead a laser scanning job, starting with field work, through to processing. He prides himself for having learned laser scanning on the job. Nick used this technology when he surveyed an interior section of the Evergreen Extension tunnel and at a waste water treatment plant. Point cloud images taken by Nick are shown below.

Point cloud of ceiling of waste water treatment plant   Point cloud taken from within the Evergreen Extension transit tunnel

Nick recalls one of his most adventurous experiences at Binnie was a survey at a remote location near Burwell Lake, BC. Nick was flown to the site by helicopter along with his boss, Frank Riccardi. They worked together to measure an area which had experienced a slide. Nick used GPS, Total Station, and Laser Scanning technology that day, working in the mountainous region north of Vancouver.

Surveyor stands next to helicopter

Nick in helicopter

Nick also recalls the survey he did at the site of an industrial facility in Squamish, BC. He travelled to the site by boat and searched through dense forest to locate bearing trees. (Bearing trees have a marking made by previous surveyors that define the location of property corners.)

Further north in the province of British Columbia, Nick helped to establish primary control for the proposed realignment of Highway 29. His team surveyed a corridor that was 60 kilometres in length, with Nick covering 30 kilometres of the corridor himself. He enjoyed the work as he was able to see how an extensive survey project is managed, from beginning to end. He has had a chance to fly up north again to provide more survey on that project.

When asked how he found working in the Geomatics Group, Nick talks about “Safety Meetings” where the staff get together for breakfast once a month. He notes how important it is that staff can relate to each other.

You travel together so you have to get along. We’ve been to Fort Nelson, Fort St John, Valemount. We put in overtime to get the job done.

Nick likes that he can work with staff in other divisions when he’s not out in the field. He needs only to walk down the hall of Binnie’s head office to get advice from CAD specialists in the Development & Infrastructure Division.

As for his social activities at Binnie, Nick takes part in the annual hockey pool. He plays soccer, and is part of Binnie’s Young Professionals group.

Opportunities at Binnie

We’re looking for another Land Surveyor in Training to learn on the job along with Nick. Find out more at binnie.com/careers.

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