All About Land Survey Technicians 

​​Ever​​ seen people in highlighter vests and hard hats setting up tripods and cameras and equipment on the side of the road and wondered what on earth they are doing? Those are Land Survey Technicians–they do the important work of mapping out the land, determining the boundaries of sites, and providing data to support construction and engineering projects. Read on to learn more about this field and what our Land Survey technicians at Batture do. 

First things first, what is land surveying? 

Land surveying is the process of taking precise measurements with specialized surveying equipment to determine where property boundary lines are located. Using a combination of high-tech equipment such as the Carlson BRx6 base and/or rover GPS and  Nikon Prismless 5” total stations, they survey road topography and grade to determine slope in order to aid in civil design and other projects. 


Why does land surveying matter? 

Simply put, almost every property development project begins with a survey. The data gathered lays the foundation for safe, legal, and efficient construction and development projects, ensuring that structures will be built correctly and won’t encroach on anyone else’s property. Land surveying also helps gain an understanding of the topographical features of the land, such as building locations, ground cover, vegetation and tree types, which are important factors in construction planning. 

If you’ve ever wondered where your property lines are, a professional land surveyor can help you find them using a combination of property research, physical evidence and professional judgement to determine property line locations.

A legal description of your property is critical for various purposes, such as deeds, contracts, or zoning applications. It precisely identifies the boundaries and location of your land and is typically filed at the assessor’s office. If you need to find your property lines, a land surveyor is your friend. 


What does the Batture Survey team do? 

At Batture, the Survey team is made up of four professionals who handle all needs related to topographic, utility survey, boundary survey, resubdivision, construction benchmarks, elevation certificates, and finish floor waivers. Their day-to-day experience varies, with much of the work taking place in the field, braving the elements—and those of us in the Greater New Orleans area know how dramatic the elements can be. Rain or shine or summer heat advisory, they make sure the job gets done well so our partners, clients, and in-house design team are set up for success. 


Learn about our work with Engineers without Borders

The health of our community– in terms of both the people and the environment– are paramount to Batture’s mission. To anyone who follows our work, it should come as no surprise that we have a long history with Engineers Without Borders, a coalition of student and professional volunteers that embraces a global understanding of community. Unfamiliar with their wide-reaching work? Read on.

How did Engineers Without Borders start?

Engineers Without Borders began in 2001, when a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder visited Belize and experienced the painful reality of indigenous populations who lacked clean water. Aside from the obvious health issues that come with an absence of sanitation infrastructure, most of the children of this San Pablo community could not attend school because they were walking miles both ways to collect water.

With the technical skills of engineering professionals and the local community’s own knowledge of natural resources, it was possible to install a clean water system supplied by a large waterfall. This simple, low-cost solution through engineering projects encapsulates the spirit of Engineers Without Borders, as well as Batture’s own mission: practical solutions for climate-conscious infrastructure in collaboration with, and in service of, local communities.


How is Batture involved with Engineers Without Borders? 

For our CEO Bob Mora, working with Engineers Without Borders gets to the root of his passion for this industry: “Engineers Without Borders has helped me maintain that mindset of wanting to help others throughout my career.” Mora got involved in 2010 after reading a Times Picayune article about the New Orleans chapter of EWB; ever since then, the organization has been an ongoing part of Batture’s culture. 

In fact, many members of Batture’s team first connected through their work with Engineers Without Borders: civil engineer Ryann Jeansonne was a member of the New York chapter; Bob Mora and Mary Scambeau Johnson, Batture’s Structural Operations Manager, have both held tenures as the EWB’s New Orleans chapter president; and our Structural Designer, Arielle Authement, is a current president. 


New Orleans and Engineers without Borders 

Our city and Engineers Without Borders have a special relationship that we are especially proud of: the first ever EWB project approved inside the United States was in New Orleans. Since then, EWB projects in New Orleans have included gutting, demolition, and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina; wetlands reclamation; community skate parks and playgrounds; wastewater treatment systems; solar heater installation; and more. 

With their mission of international community, EWB New Orleans also has a host of past and present projects abroad, such as water distribution projects in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. 

However, finding projects that are a good fit for pro-bono engineering services can be more challenging than people might expect, and we’re always looking to discuss project ideas and meet potential partner organizations to work with. In-house, Batture continues to create opportunities for our employees to support Engineers Without Borders, including allowing them the flexibility to officially log their volunteer time. 

These experiences not only provide value to our community, but also create incredible opportunities for professional and personal development– EWB’s high-impact projects cultivate invaluable engineering and leadership skills. 

As Bob puts it, there’s not a career level you reach and suddenly begin to “magically influence” other people to work on your projects, and Engineers Without Borders offers an opportunity to develop effective management skills in the early stages of your career.


How To Become an Engineers Without Borders Volunteer:
If you’re interested in learning more about the New Orleans chapter of Engineers Without Borders and how you can volunteer, visit the New Orleans website or EWB USA. They aren’t only looking for engineers, either– anyone is welcome, particularly people with experience in grant writing, fundraising, marketing, and public health. Helpful community members are always wanted.

How Engineering Helps Make the Magic of Mardi Gras Possible

It’s Engineer’s Week, an international day that seeks to increase the profile of engineering. The theme of engineer’s week 2023 is Creating The Future, which celebrates how engineers play a vital role in innovating solutions that help make the world a better place. Down here in New Orleans, it’s also Mardi Gras week, and with Carnival on the brain during engineer’s week activities, we can’t help but think about how engineering helps make Mardi Gras happen. Grab a piece of king cake and dive in with us for a lesson on how civil and structural engineering supports the magic of Mardi Gras.


We all FLOAT on, alright

When you think of carnival, you probably think of Mardi Gras floats–from the giant, double floats holding dozens of people pulled by tractors to the smaller, DIY floats pulled by bikes, floats are iconic Mardi Gras imagery and feats of engineering.

The first Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans in February 1857. Back in the day, floats were decorated carriages and wagons pulled by horses and mules accompanied by men who carried torches to light the way for the route. Over the years thanks to engineering, innovation, and creativity, modern floats have become major productions, likened to moving works of art, often featuring elaborate, thematic decorations that wind through the city and delight parade-goers.

Mardi Gras floats must be carefully constructed to stand up to elements like wind, heat, dancing revelers, and even rain, which can make a float up to 3 times heavier. How does this happen? A lot of engineering, actually! From constructing the base, to calculating the strength of the frame, to distributing the weight evenly, to ensuring it can make the turns on the route, floats are engineered to be both sturdy and lightweight, which is no easy feat. Some floats are even more complicated, featuring animated parts that move while the float itself moves, and these require more engineering including hydraulics, motors, and operating systems.

Next time you’re enjoying a parade, take in the majesty of the Mardi Gras floats and remember all the engineering that took place along with the artistry to make it happen.


Meet us on the balcony

Have you ever been lucky enough to celebrate Mardi Gras from a prized French Quarter balcony? Or maybe you’ve been walking down Royal and caught some beads from people partying on balconies (we won’t judge you for what you did to get the beads). Or maybe you’ve seen a trail of bubbles and looked up to see a balcony decked out in Mardi Gras decorations with a bubble machine hard at work creating a whimsical vibe for everyone to enjoy. You can thank structural engineering for making all of this possible!

Image credit

The French Quarter’s iconic lacy ironwork balconies are feats of engineering and architecture. Quality structural engineering design is extremely important when it comes to building and maintaining balconies because they must stand up to weather, time, and a whole lot of revelry.

We ROUTE here

Another way engineering impacts the Mardi Gras party is the parade routes themselves. Engineering touches everything, from the width of the streets the parades roll down, to the height of the overpasses that need to allow large structural floats to pass under them, to the safe removal of tree limbs that interfere with the routes, to the construction of viewing stands that keep parade goers safe, each part was carefully designed by engineers, landscape architects, and arborists keeping the Mardi Gras traditions in mind.

Love Mardi Gras? Thank an engineer!

Here in New Orleans, if you’re looking for ideas to celebrate engineering week 2023, you can simply go out and enjoy the magic of mardi gras and marvel at the ways engineering makes it all possible. We like to think this fits right into the theme of creating the future and making the world a better place–we’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has experienced Mardi Gras and not think the world was better for it. From all of us at Batture, we’re wishing you a safe and happy Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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