AllyCAD Showcase

Surveying Projects

City of Cape Town

The huge variety of projects that senior professional land surveyor Ken Snowball has had to deal with while working for the City of Cape Town range from measuring swimming pools for international competitions where the lengths have to be determined to the millimeter, to wading through the bustling crowds in the Golden Acre underground shopping Centre armed with a Total Station in order to determine whether erven boundaries coincided with the positions of the shops.

Most recently he has been involved in a number of cadastral projects entailing the subdivision of land in existing housing schemes in order to make property ownership possible. The projects have largely been based in some of the poorer areas of the Western Cape including Heideveld, Mannenberg, Mitchell's Plain, Delft and Belhar where the challenges of crime and lack of existing infrastructure cannot be over-looked.

Ken's benevolent approach is apparent as he describes the many times he has had to assist people beyond the scope of his job in settling boundary disputes and facilitating the Government's housing allocation processes.

"Typically a four-room unit house has had to be divided into two two-room units with an added toilet facility and in some cases these plots, which are no more than 3m wide and located in a semi-detached single storey building, are accommodating up to eight families, not including back-yard tenants" explains Ken. Where housing space is so precious Ken's work is vital to these families and Ken clearly works hard to ensure the best outcome he can for the people whose living conditions are far from ideal.

Ken and his colleague Thomas Reiner are currently busy with a pipe line project that stretches from the Western Side of the Tygerberg Hills down to the Potsdam treatment works. The pipe line servitude will eventually take treated sewerage water up to a reservoir on the hills which can be used for agricultural purposes.
  The project contains some interesting challenges as the pipe servitude runs directly through a number of private properties and a new property development. In addition an existing pipe line runs alongside the servitude area and a detailed survey still has to be completed in order to determine its validity. "A private surveyor contracted by the land owner had proposed that an extension of 4m would ensure that both pipe lines fell within the servitude boundaries. The City were then required to verify the legality of this alteration which is where we became involved" explains Ken.

Senior CAD operator Laura Brandt works closely with the Survey team and uses AllyCAD to prepare diagrams where necessary for the surveyors. AllyCAD is the ideal tool to assist with the distance and bearing dimensions required for survey applications and plans. "I find AllyCAD easy to use and a pleasure to work with and there's always more functionality available as I need it" notes Laura.

Surveying the future of his role at the City of Cape Town Ken acknowledges that it is a mixed bag. "While rates and water and other services bring in a direct income to the City, our services are often given a lower profile as they are not directly revenue generating. This, together with the fact that posts have not been refilled following recent resignations has results in an increasing trend to outsource much of the land surveying operations." he observes. While the allocation process may change the desperate need for experienced Land Surveyors in the process of meeting national housing demands remains, and Ken is upbeat about the vital role he plays and clearly still loves the associated variety and challenges.

Block I, The Terraces, Steenberg Office Park, 1 Silverwood Close, Tokai 7945.
Tel: +27 +21 701-1850 Fax: +27 +21 701-1822
Web: Email: