It looks like the gear surveyors traditionally use, but civil engineering students at Georgia Tech's Savannah campus take advantage of global positioning technology to get the most accurate readings they can.
Of course, they use old-fashioned calculations as well, and were pleased to find out recently that those can be as accurate. Student Kandice Herald used a measuring tape to find out flags planted along a line earlier were exactly 100 feet apart as intended.
"We got it by calculations last week but this time it was actually measuring it out, and we were just excited," she said.
Herald is excited about the field she's chosen, and grateful for some help she got from a local group.
The Coastal Business, Education and Technology Alliance, or Coastal BETA, holds an annual technology awards gala to honor local business, government and educational organizations for innovation. They routinely sell out Savannah Station, and the money raised by the gala benefits educational programs and funds scholarships for students like Herald.
"They take great pride in this area," she said of Coastal BETA. "Savannah's come so far, and so many great things have happened in this area, so they want I guess to make sure they get the people that will benefit this area."
Older than a lot of his peers, working student Charles Jones studies information technology across town at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Coastal BETA scholarship money is also helping him get his degree while balancing work and family.
"In my situation, every penny counts, and any help I can get in school might free up money elsewhere and help make this possible to follow this through until I do graduate," he told us.
At Georgia Tech, students can learn to use the tools of the trade, but Herald says the scholarship application process itself is also real-world experience.
"It's almost kind of like the work process," she said. "You have to interview or answer questions, you have to get references. It just helps you with the way of life in different areas."
And helps these engineers-in-training lay out their futures. Which futures, Coastal BETA would be pleased to know, are looking like they'll take place in and around Savannah.
"I'm set to graduate in May of next year," Jones said, adding he'll "start looking around, get my name out there, you know, knocking on doors and get something lined up in the Savannah area."
If you'd like to apply for a Coastal BETA scholarship this year, you'll have to hurry. The deadline is Friday, March 30, at 5pm.
If you'd like to contact the group, Coastal BETA managing director Jamie Wolf can be reached at:
131 Hutchinson Island Road
P.O. Box 128
Savannah, GA 31412
(912) 447-8450 :office