BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A group of Ferris State University Surveying Engineering students won first-place in this year’s National Society of Professional Surveyors student competition. The competition was held on Thursday March 30, and Friday, April 1 in Washington, D.C.
The group included: Michelle Abramson (Iron Mountain), Nicholas Belka (Hopkins), Zachary Bemben (Grand Rapids), Dylan Dankenbring (Peck), and John Vary (Plymouth). The team’s advisor was Bob Burtch, adjunct instructor of Surveying Engineering.
“The exercises our students faced were developed by the Young Surveyors Network, within the National Society,” said Burtch. “Our team showed great initiative that first day by choosing to secure bicycles for a surveying monument scavenger hunt. They felt this approach would yield better results than the Metro light rail system and then walking to the desired monument. It turned out they made an excellent choice.”
On the first day of the competition, the students were able to locate all the markers by traveling approximately 25 miles point-to-point. This put them in the lead of 12 teams.
On the second day, teams were asked to triangulate to an unknown control point. The Ferris students used the top of the Washington Monument and a monument near the World War II Memorial. The competition also included a three-level wiring exercise. It also featured completing a traverse, using a compass and chain. In the 1800s, this was the method used in land surveys.
“Our team had great preparation, having practiced with some of the equipment,” said Burtch. “The accuracy of the student’s work solidified their lead in the competition.”