Meet the team: Dave Tucker

Continuing our series to introduce you to the hard-working individuals within OS and showcase the wide variety of work we do, meet Dave Tucker. Dave has been with us for a long time but has always worked out in the field. Here, he gives us an insight on his role in mapping Great Britain…

How long have you worked for OS?

43 years – I started at OS in April 1975 at 19 years old! I started as a basic grade 4 surveyor after a gruelling survey course lasting 9 months. I’ve since been sponsored for qualifications including an MSc in Surveying. Currently, I am the South Region Manager in Field Operations and have been in this role for 15 years. I have also been an RICS Chartered Surveyor (MRICS) since 2006.

Can you describe your working day?

In three words, each day for me is busy, varied and rewarding. I have daily responsibilities such as liaising with my fellow field managers, regional management team and the team of 40 surveyors working remotely across London and the South East (using Skype as appropriate).

In line with our Operations Capability Plan, I also spend time coordinating the annual Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) development programme. We have candidates currently working towards AssocRICS, the technical membership level for our surveyors, and others towards MRICS as part of their bespoke career development plan. I am privileged to have been involved throughout as the numbers of RICS members has grown – almost 100 of our 230 surveyors are qualified as AssocRICS!

I am part of the network of counsellors within Ordnance Survey who support the candidates and I am also a RICS qualified assessor for AssocRICS & MRICS. Additionally, I am a member of our Capability Opportunities Group that organises taster sessions for staff who want to find out more about working in other areas.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been organising the All Field Event taking place this week in Daventry. For the first time ever, all the field-based staff will be gathering in one place at one time. The event theme is ‘towards 2020 & beyond’. OS employees from senior teams will be present to demonstrate how the business actually uses the data that the surveyors collect.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Working with people who are passionate about working for OS.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in surveying throughout your career?

A snapshot of how we surveyed in the 90s.

In terms of data format, I would probably say the biggest change was the move from early digitisation of the data in the 1970s. This was solely for improved cartographic appearance through to today’s structured data including attributed polygons, the Geobase 04 specification and lines and points.

Regarding surveying methods, in the early days there was very limited automation and the survey methods were extremely labour intensive (e.g. 3 person traverse teams). The advent of GPS going through to GNSS along with the introduction of one-person operated Total Stations was significant. This was as well as the use of touch pads and web-based GIS for our intelligence and monitoring. These have all transformed the way we capture data, and we now produce more work more efficiently and to a higher specification.

What advice would you offer someone looking to become a surveyor?

Along with being part of a local team, they must be self-sufficient as a lot of time will be spent as a lone worker. They must be happy working outdoors in all weathers in a variety of locations and able to build professional business relationships with customers (including members of the public) and be fully competent with the technical aspects of their work. Surveyors must be fully competent with the technical aspects of their work and be willing to adapt to rapid change.

What is your OS highlight?

To date, it has to be when I managed the OS mapping update for the ground of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The pressure to deliver on such a high-profile task created a great buzz in the team. The surveyors did a brilliant job and mapped to a detailed Olympic specification at the main Olympic Park at Stratford and at other sports/training venues around the nation.

A map of the Tower of London from the 1800s.

By way of thanks, everyone in OS who was involved was invited to a very special celebration held at the Tower of London. It was a perfect location for us as it is the site of the very first OS office well over 2 centuries ago!

What are you excited to work on (or continue working on) in the future?

Doing my part in helping OS maintain its role as a world leader in mapping. I will do this by leading my team and working with my colleagues to continue delivering the best geospatial mapping for Great Britain.

Find out more about career opportunities at OS on our website.

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