Technology

Commitment to technology means being ready to lead.

SAM is committed to staying on the leading edge of technology advancements. The firm’s leadership recognized the importance of technological currency from the beginning and has been one of the first to embrace technical improvements in every phase of our operations. Over the last decade we have strategically expanded our technology to support the latest developments in the profession, including new services related to digital aerial mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), terrestrial scanning, mobile and airborne LiDAR, and Subsurface Utility Engineering. We leverage the latest technology to deliver precision surveying and mapping products for a wide range of client needs, project types and market sectors. The firm provides an integrated and innovative all-digital approach to its entire line of surveying and mapping services. Our ‘complete geospatial’ approach gives us the tools and skills to develop efficient and customized solutions for projects of any scale.

Some of the technologies behind our service offerings include:

Standard Field Surveying Technology
The professional land surveyor staff at SAM uses the latest dual-frequency GPS surveying receivers and Trimble Total Stations to provide a complete range of surveying services. The firm is a global leader in tablet-based data acquisition technology and has deployed state-of-the-art tablets to all field crews in North America. The tablet systems provides advantages for every type of fieldwork, with benefits of increased speed and productivity in data collection, transmittal and management across the project cycle. For office operations our technicians use integrated CAD workstations equipped with the latest software, including AutoCAD, MicroStation, GEOPAK, BlueSky AlignDB and PLS-CADD.

Mobile Mapping System
SAM uses two complete Optech Lynx® Mobile Mapper systems as part of its broad inventory of advanced surveying and mapping technologies. The non-invasive, state-of-the-art Lynx Mobile Mapping system is ideal for civil engineering firms or government agencies managing rail surveying, road surveying, pipeline surveying, waterway, electric power line survey services and design-build projects. It incorporates the most advanced LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors, digital cameras and a GPS navigation system to quickly and accurately collect survey-quality point data for  corridor projects throughout North America.

Airborne LiDAR System
SAM owns and operates a state-of-the-art Trimble® Harrier 68i Airborne Laser Scanner that can be deployed from either a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft. The Trimble Harrier 68i is the most advanced LiDAR scanning system on the market and has a truly impressive set of specifications, including a very high rate of data capture, extremely dense data capture (or point cloud), a 45-60 degree field-of-view, and an integrated 60 megapixel medium-format digital frame camera.

Digital Photogrammetry and LiDAR Aerial Mapping
SAM's fully digital Photogrammetry Department utilizes state-of-the-art workstations to develop Digital Terrain Models (DTM), Planimetric Mapping, and Digital Orthophotography. SAM's services include comprehensive LiDAR acquisition and data processing solutions. Using multiple data processing software systems, we tailor our LiDAR data processing to the specific need of clients. SAM provides aerial mapping services across North America to a wide variety of industries including infrastructure, pipelines, electric transmission, environmental, and rail.

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
We utilize multiple professional-grade UAS platforms, including both rotary and fixed-wind aircraft, to perform data acquisition tasks to meet a wide range of client needs in different market sectors. Our aerial platforms carry a variety of industry leading data imaging systems to capture high resolution photos, video, thermal images, LiDAR images, and other data types.

Geographic Information System (GIS) Services
As an Esri® Partner Network Silver Member, SAM provides complete turnkey solutions and custom purpose-driven applications developed for project planning, management, and implementation services. GIS application developers, analysts, and technicians utilize the latest in high-speed computational workstations, combined with high-resolution displays capable of 3-D visualization, and integrated with a high-capacity network storage system. All data products generated by the surveying, aerial mapping, SUE and utility coordination service divisions can be delivered in a variety of GIS and CAD formats. SAM also utilizes 3-GIS® software that enables a multi-user, browser-based interface for the management of GIS data by credentialed users, whether from the office, in the field, or on-the-go.

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)
SAM uses the latest Subsurface Utility Engineering technologies: radio frequency, acoustic, sonic magnetic sensing, ground penetrating radar (GPR) and non-destructive vacuum excavation equipment. These tools allow SAM’s SUE technicians to quickly and reliably designate, locate and accurately map underground utilities, as well as assist clients in utility coordination.

Terrestrial Laser Scanning
SAM provides experienced High Definition Surveying (HDS) data acquisition, project control, filtered data and complete schematic drawings and 3-D models for a variety of terrestrial laser scanning applications, including civil, mechanical, electrical, architectural, and archaeological. These services are performed using Leica C10, P20, and Leica P40 laser scanners for high-density data collection in the field. Each of these scanners can deliver highly-accurate data for different defined project parameters. These are backed by high-speed computational workstations connected to high-resolution displays and integrated with high-capacity network storage systems for data processing operations.

SAM-PRO™ and 360-Degree Video
SAM-PRO is software we've developed to provide access to spatially referenced image data through a user-friendly interactive interface. The GIS-based system delivers photos, video, and LiDAR images through a stand-alone application that operates in an Esri® software environment. The system can also utilize video from our proprietary camera array to deliver full 360-degree panoramic video in HD quality. For clients across several market sectors and project types, SAM-Pro has proven to be a very effective tool for navigating through large amounts of imagery and video data. Combined with SAM’s 360-degree video acquisition capabilities, we offer this exceptional new option to help manage your project assets.

Mobile Device Apps
SAM has developed its own proprietary mobile apps to support various client project information management needs. These apps are available for iOS and Android devices through their respective app stores. They enable SAM clients using mobile devices to access mobile forms and submit data pertinent to their projects. Built using an industry leading proprietary platform, they offer a cloud-based, paperless approach to field data collection, allowing our clients to utilize a workflow that maximizes speed, efficiency, accessibility of their project forms. SAM can customize mobile forms to meet our clients' unique project needs and all submitted data is stored in our own cloud with secure client access. With SAM mobile apps your project field data can easily be submitted and accessed using mobile devices you're already familiar with.

Corporate Network Operations
SAM recognizes the importance of data processing for surveying and mapping, and is committed to providing the highest quality tools to support our technology services. We own and operate a state of the art, high-performance, high-capacity computing environment and all of our services and operations are backed by an enterprise-class networked computing and data storage system. Both local and distributed computing systems are used, providing the best options for computing efficiency, with the security of redundant data management.

SAM has invested over $5 million in IT infrastructure to support data integrity, storage, and remote access, including secure offsite disaster recovery for complete data protection. Our solutions feature:

  • Data Backups & Offsite Replication
  • Disaster Recovery Plan and Procedures
  • Information Technology Security Policy and Controls
  • High Speed Redundant Networks and High Performance Computers
  • Mobile Rugged Devices for Field Data Collection
  • Cloud Data Storage Solutions

Our system meets comprehensive industry standards for data security and availability. We thoroughly understand the crucial importance of continuity for clients and are committed to ensuring data protection.

We maintain both a primary data center in our headquarters facility and a secondary, off-site disaster recovery data center, as well as eight smaller satellite data centers located in other cities. All data centers are interconnected in a WAN configuration via a redundant, carrier-grade MPLS fiber optic network. The primary and disaster recovery data centers employ multiple levels of environmental systems to support fault tolerance, including redundant air conditioning and UPS systems, diesel generators, water detection, and fire suppression systems, as well as automated monitoring and alerting systems. Additionally, the data centers are physically secured through the use of controlled access systems. Disaster Recovery processes and procedures are documented and reviewed on an annual basis.

The SAM network consists of redundant core switches and makes extensive use of 10 Gbps fiber links for the backbone and server connectivity with all end-user connections being at least 1 Gbps. Extensive security measures are deployed as well as automated monitoring and multiple layers including firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and anti-virus, malware, and anti-spam protection. Enterprise backup software is used for nightly backups, as well as offsite data replication.

The operating environment currently consists of 32 physical hosts and over 250 virtual servers as well as over 500 high performance workstations, and laptops. We also use over 200 ruggedized field tablets with cellular carrier diversity for data collection and submission. Our dedicated processing nodes includes over 160 cores in the primary data center. We utilize fully redundant 10 Gbps network storage for the bulk of operations and currently have approximately 4 petabytes of storage in service.

SAM software tools include a very broad range of applications. From common business applications, through enterprise management tools, and virtually every industry-standard application for surveying, geospatial and engineering practices, SAM can provide compatibility with all of our clients data needs.

The entire enterprise is managed with best-in-class tools and practices, to ensure the protection of all data. SAM employs our own team of expert IT professionals to support every technology in the company. From working with leading system integrators, to building workstations and virtual servers, to providing database programming and data collection hardware and software support, the SAM professional IT staff can support any of our clients computing needs.

"Bringing our multidisciplinary expertise to bear across a range of geospatial solutions is one of our biggest strengths. Not only do we maximize our value to clients with diverse capabilities, but our cross-disciplinary integration allows us to provide more knowledgeable solutions."

Sam Hanna, RPLS, CEO and President