Engineering Team Places Third in National Competition

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 3, 2019

Surveying and mapping students put skills to the test

A team of Kennesaw State University surveying and mapping students recently put their skills to the test in the National Society of Professional Surveyors’ (NSPS) annual student competition, placing third nationally among institutions in the baccalaureate degree division.

The team, composed of students Nicholas Gianella, Justin Collum, Addie Thornton, Dustin Smith and Colin Bottoms, was challenged to prepare a technical report and deliver a formal presentation to a panel of judges as part of the competition, now in its 18th year. The event featured 13 colleges and universities tasked with using remotely sensed data, such as that collected from laser scanners and drones, to supplement or enhance traditional data collection methods currently used in mapping. The Kennesaw State team chose to collect data via drones as a basis of comparison on their project.

Surveying team

Daniel Branham, lecturer of surveying and mapping in KSU’s Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, said the competition provides students with an opportunity to apply their studies on projects similar to those they would encounter in industry. KSU students spent nearly two months surveying the soccer fields on Marietta Campus in order to collect data for the technical report and presentation.

“This is the type of equipment our students will be expected to use when they enter the field,” he said. “By participating in competitions such as this, they got to see the benefits of the entire procedure and receive results that would be similar to those they would share with a client.”

KSU is one of few universities nationwide to offer a four-year degree program in surveying and mapping. A regular competitor in the NSPS student competition, the University has consistently placed among the top institutions, winning the event in 2014 and notching top-three finishes in 2013 and 2016.

The Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University offers students hands-on learning experiences and produces Georgia’s next generation of work-ready engineers. It is the second largest engineering college in Georgia, serving more than 4,000 students and offering 20 undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and engineering technology led by industry-expert faculty in the University’s state-of-the-art facilities.

– Travis Highfield

Photo submitted

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit