New Technical Standards Improving the Quality in Positioning and
Jean-Marie Becker, Hansbert Heister and Vaclav Slaboch
Key words: ISO and CEN Standards, Surveying Instruments,
Checking, Testing, Calibration.
This paper informs about the latest development in the field of
survey instruments and survey methods. These are characterised by
introduction of new information technology. Nowadays these new
technologies are represented mainly by GPS, Total Stations, Electronic
Levels, RTK, Laser Instruments and other new measuring devices. The
new instruments resulted in a revolution in positioning characterised
mainly by increased accuracy, speed and seemingly simple use. But
these "advantages" may hide some dangers and traps which
must not be neglected, and which might in the end lead to degradation
of surveying profession.
Possibility to achieve practically "any degree of accuracy and
speed" could result in unnecessary increase of cost of
positioning and in saturation of GIS data basis.
A comfortable and easy operation of the electronic "black
boxes" could lead to underestimation of operator’s
qualification and consequently to blunders resulting in enormous
losses with the clients.
One of the ways to escape out of these traps of modern technology
is standardisation. Here we want to mention three main areas which in
our opinion are most relevant to the tasks of positioning and where
the most important changes have been made:
- standards for survey equipment
- standards for laboratory calibration and testing
- standards for positioning within the family of standards for
geographic information and geomatics.
2. Standards for Survey Equipment
Existing ISO activities concerning survey instruments are
concentrated in several technical Commissions (TC59/SC4 a TC172/SC6).
Unfortunately the existing standards are taking into account either
the construction or manufacture points of view only. Since 1997 a
Joint Working Group for both TC`s have been created with the aim to
prepare for approval a new set of standards for "Field Procedures
for Determining the Accuracy of Surveying Instruments". A draft
proposal of this "new" standard is now ready and has been
sent to national standard organisation for approval.
3. Standards for Laboratory Calibration and Testing
Unfortunately not all the Standards allow checking, testing and
calibration to be carried out uniquely in the field. In many instances
engagement of metrological procedures is required. The application of
metrological procedures is justified also by new aspects of Quality
Management as required by Standards ISO 9000 and also by increasing
complexity of measuring systems which are reflected in completely new
methods of calibration.
There are many excellent geodetic laboratories for testing and
calibration of survey instruments, but not all of them comply with the
metrological confirmation system as defined by ISO 10 012/1. The
traditional methods for checking, testing and calibration of the major
part of geodetic instruments are partly or totally outdated. New
instruments have to be tested as complete systems consisting of
interconnected sensors, firmware, application software, data
acquisition, data transfer and user interface. To establish reliable
procedures for calibration a continuous dialogue between the surveyors
and metrologists is indispensable.
4. Standards for Positioning Geographic Information
Activities on Standards related to positioning of Geographic
Information are being treated mainly by ISO/TC 211 and by CEN/TC 287.
Most of the pre-standards are now completed or short before
completion. If we consider that according to GIS specialist over 80 %
of all activities on global, national and regional level have spatial
or geographic aspect it is no surprise that the initiative for
standardisation in this field came from the GIS experts and not from
surveyors. The most important documents are ISO/WD 15045-11.8
Geographic Information/Geomatics – Part 11: "Spatial
Referencing by Co-ordinates" and pre-standard ENV 12762:1998:
Geographic Information – Referencing Direct Position". The
increasing adoption of modern survey instruments and namely GPS for
positioning and navigation makes it necessary for surveying profession
to ensure national and international standards for geo-referencing and
spatial co-ordinate positioning. These standards are ensured by
Control Networks, Grid Transformation and Geoid Models. GPS and Global
aspects will prevail in the long term.
Since 1995 FIG WW in Berlin FIG has established liaison with ISO/TC
211 Geographic Information/Geomatics. In 1998 FIG Task Force for
Standards was created and FIG Commission 5 "Positioning and
Measurement" included in its working plan activities dealing with
Standards, Quality Assurance and Calibration. The mission of the FIG
in this field is to adapt the new standards to modern surveying
technologies and technical developments and to assist individual
surveyors to select optimum procedure for given tasks.
Prof. Jean-Marie Becker
National Land Survey of Sweden
S-801 82 Gävle
Prof. Hansbert Heister
Dr. Vaclav Slaboch
Research Institute of Geodesy
Topography and Cartography
CZ-250 66 Zdiby 98