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Mapping Physical Change in the Corporate World

by Mike on February 23, 2015

The Space Shuttle program had its first launch on Sunday, April 12, 1981. Then on Friday, July 8, 2011, the U.S. launched the last of the Space Shuttle missions.  It returned for the final descent on Thursday, July 21, 2011. In a vivid experience that proves the expression “time flies”, I remember both like yesterday.
That timeframe also parallels the time I’ve been privileged to serve on projects for Indiana biotech & life sciences clients here at Schneider Geospatial.

In the early 1980’s, my first project for them was to set targets for aerial photography in what was basically an empty, soggy-bottom floodplain.  The space shuttle explored space overhead for the first time just about then, if not shortly thereafter.  Thirty-odd years later, I found myself walking among a similar formerly under-utilized plain now filled with vast brown brick buildings and steaming stacks of piping and conveyors producing pharmaceuticals to be consumed around the world.
The transformation had taken place surely and steadily over the last 12,474 days.  That’s a lot of spins of the globe.
Most days, the changes have been incremental and steady, but the difference over three decades is staggering.
So what have I learned?  What have we learned?
  • When it comes to buried infrastructure, it’s cheaper to measure it now than to dig it up later (or even to have uncertainty about its location).
  •  Absolute coordinates on a known, well-defined system always work and are just as economic to obtain as relative ones which cost much more to use.  This is also true for elevations – references to a datum are more useful than relative depths.
  •  I can still open an AutoCAD file from 1985 J  It’s a bit more difficult to access the first-gen laser discs from 1993, or the coordinates listing on the 5-1/4” floppy drive.  Especially if it’s in WordStar format.
  •  That the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, and the next best time is today.
  •  That the best measures of effort and service are found out in the long run.
Working on many projects for several different Indiana biotech & life sciences clients, it’s a good feeling to look back and understand how our own surveying and drafting technology has kept pace with the changes and helped to make the world and the lives lived in it a little better every day.  You take care of your clients, one at a time, and the next thing you know the whole neighborhood has improved.