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Engineering Consulting

Streamlining Workflows

CBBEL leverages aerial data to identify hazards, habitats, and environmental impacts throughout design processes.

“You’re just in the middle of a forest, so to help you position where you’re at in relation to everything else, it was required to have good aerial photography to help us with that.”

Dave WaltersGIS manager, CBBEL
Founded in 1986, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL) is a full-service consulting, engineering, and surveying firm that specializes in civil, transportation, municipal, traffic, construction observation, water resources, environmental, structural, and mechanical engineering.

The Challenge at a Glance

Paving a Path

CBBEL undertook the task of connecting urban areas with a large, multi-use path project that intersected with a forest preserve.
The path crossed environments that had different grade levels and habitats that needed to be preserved or rebuilt. Seventy percent of the original path was a floodplain, which meant that the path was constantly under the threat of closure as water levels rose and made stretches of it unusable.
“I think there were five or six different variations of where the path should go,” said Dave Walters, GIS Manager at CBBEL, “and we gave numbers of what kind of impacts each path would have and how much it would cost.”

The Solution at a Glance

Capturing the Vision

CBBEL always tries to include imagery when submitting a proposal. This involves using base aerial imagery to exhibit existing conditions, the impact to wetlands, and Environmental Survey requests. However, adequately capturing the pathway proved difficult.
“One of the challenges we had early on was the tree coverage," said Walters. "That’s where Nearmap is nice because [they] have so many flights per year that we can pick an April or May flight path for our aerials and you can actually see the path through the trees. We can cross reference GPS points with the trail and get a little more accurate view that way versus other companies that will just do leaf-on aerial photography where you can’t see a thing.”

Business Impact

See the Way Forward

“Nearmap was intended to be used as needed, but it has turned into the only source we use now." In addition to being able to map out the path, CBBEL leveraged oblique aerial imagery to identify bridges, overpasses, underpasses, and culverts along the trail.
Being able to do onsite work without going onsite helped to improve CBBEL’s efficiency by enabling their Field Collection and remote teams to simultaneously update the project area. With the ability to streamline workflows, CBBEL delivers their projects on-time and on-budget without compromising quality.

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