AllyCAD Showcase

Surveys to Upgrade Eastern Cape

Preston & Medcalf
Eastern Cape

With a new office opening in Umtata during August, NzeleNzele, Preston & Medcalf, is continuing to display the strong growth that they have experienced over the last few years. Now with offices in Port Elizabeth, East London, Queenstown and Port St Johns, partner Mike Medcalf says that they are ready to service the entire Eastern Cape region.

"We would like to expand further," he said adding that in the past three years the company has grown from just five to 43. Although this is largely due to the merging with Nzelenzele and a change in the practices' vision, he points out that this represents massive growth in a very short time.

"Most of our work is to do with transport, schools, clinics, subdivisions, sectional title and of course housing developments. We are involved in about 6 000 housing subsidies per year. What makes us somewhat unique, particularly in the Eastern Cape, is that in addition to land surveying and the actual subdivision of properties, we also do town planning," he said adding that all their surveyors are currently using AllyCAD and CIVIL DESIGNER software from Knowledge Base.

"We have pretty much standardised on Knowledge Base products. Eighty percent of our staff are using Knowledge Base products representing about 12 workstations across all our offices," he said explaining that CIVIL DESIGNER is used for their survey work, whilst AllyCAD is used on town planning projects.

Formalising unregistered land tenures
In fact AllyCAD has been instrumental in a contract that the company has been undertaking on behalf of the Department of Roads and Public Works who are busy with a project to upgrade many of the connector roads in the old Transkei.

"We are investigating the effect of the new alignments on informal land tenure rights," he said. This is achieved by superimposing the ground surveys that have been done for the road onto digital orthophoto mapping to ascertain where the informal rights are being affected.

According to Mike these informal rights in the former Transkei and Ciskei fell outside the jurisdiction of the Land Survey Act and the Deeds Act of the cadastral system of the old republic and are governed by something akin to a common law situation. "The bulk of the land units there are unsurveyed and unrecorded in terms of the Deeds Registry Act and Land Survey Act," he said adding that this is now being addressed within their contract.

The superimposed image is then used to create a diagram showing the effect any proposed road upgrades will have on the land right. "In other words if they are going to reduce the occupant's extent of the land then we define how much is going to be affected," he said.
  According to him this land rights enquiry process is progressing well and, although land occupants may be affected by a slight shrinkage in their land, they will be benefiting from increased accessibility to the area through the upgrading of these mostly gravel roads that link the villages in the area. The plan is to re-align and surface certain gravel roads to tar road standards.

"Very few land rights are being affected, but obviously those that are need to be identified so that they can be compensated in the appropriate manner."

Land survey maps area for rail upgrade
In another very interesting contract for the National Department of Transport (NDOT), the company has used AllyCAD to complete a 290 km survey and facilitate the area mapping for the upgrade of the railway line between East London and Umtata.

Describing the project as "quite a challenge", Mike said that a team of two surveyors from the company literally walked the entire length of the almost 300 km line to complete a survey control on which the area map was based. "This required us to spirit level the entire route," said Mike who adds that 300 benchmarks were built and 400 photo control points were established to control the aerial mapping during the four month project. In what can only be described as a massive project, the project entailed aerial mapping of an 800 metre wide strip along the predetermined route.

Rural housing project
Similarly to the government's RDP housing developments in urban areas, Port St Johns will soon play host to a housing project aimed at the rural community. Mike believes that this is one of the first of its kind for rural communities in this province. "The intention is to provide housing for rural people in a similar way to housing for urban developments."

Once again, with the extensive use of AllyCAD and CIVIL DESIGNER, Nzelenzele is involved in the marking up of erven as well as roads to this area that will comprise of about 1000 sites.

It is for projects like this that Mike is particularly pleased with new developments within the AllyCAD software. "Part of our task as land surveyors when creating these townships is to produce something called a general plan which gets registered in the surveyor general's office. Now we can generate all these plans quickly and easily using the general plan function in AllyCAD," he said adding that this relatively new function is "absolutely wonderful and represents a huge timesaving".

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