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FIG FAO Seminar

Seminar Presentations

PCC Budapest, 2011

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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The entire geodetic measurement technique has changed significantly during the last 30 years. In former days the observations were tedious and cumbersome; the quality of the measurements depended directly on the capabilities of the observer. Today our surveying instruments are automatic measuring devices; their results no longer depend on the sharp eyes of users. “Measurements are so easy – just push the button.” This is one important advertising slogan used by all the manufacturers. And it describes the reality: we do not know what is going on inside our instruments, the flow of our data is automatic, as is the entire process of data treatment and calculation. So is there any “art of measurement” left or still needed?

This question was taken by Prof. Dr. Ing Rudolf Staiger, the president of FIG Commission 5, in his paper presented at the FIG Working Week in 2009.
In order to answer this question the different eras of surveying will be described and analyzed carefully. Data acquisition has become much  easier, but this does not mean that our measurement results are error-free. Nor does it mean that we control the entire measurement process! Are there still mistakes in our data? How do we have to control our measurements in order to prevent undetected outliers or significant systematic deviations? Can we estimate our overall precision and accuracy? 
 The art of measurement still exists, but it is different from the traditional one. It consists, very generally speaking, in the successful design and control of the entire measurement process. What this means will be explained in detail. And it will certainly be much more than just “pushing the button”.

Push the Button - or  -  Does the "Art of Measurement" Still Exists?

Prof. Dr. Ing. Rudolf Staiger 
FIG Working Week, Eilat, Izrael, 3-8May, 2009.

The presentation can be downloaded in English in pdf format:
Push the Button - or - Doesthe "Art of Measurement" Still Exists?

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