We’ve another Q&A session for you, this time its with Chris Burnett our BlomOBLIQUE Production Manager, here at Blom UK. Let’s see what Chris has to say…
When and what brought you to work for Blom?
I joined Blom (then Simmons Aerofilms) in September 2003 as a Land Surveyor, after graduating from University with a Cartography degree. I had always wanted to work in the industry and Simmons was local to my home county of Devon, so it seemed like the obvious choice.
I had previously visited the old Axbridge office during a visit in my college years back in the late 1990’s and I came away from the trip with a good impression of the office and staff and applied for a job there some 4 years later.
How has your role developed since joining Blom?
I started out as a Land Surveyor working around the country for a year, mainly completing field verification on the Ordnance Survey Rural Towns contract, and also became involved with small and large topographic surveys, including the M25 widening project. I then moved inside to the warmer office working on the positional accuracy improvement projects for the Ordnance Survey before moving to the oblique department in 2006.
I worked as an image processor in the oblique department, and also worked overseas in Norway and Greece for a few months at a time until being promoted to Production Manager in 2009, where I am now responsible for acquisition and production of BlomOBLIQUE datasets. I am in regular contact with Blom offices overseas to keep them updated on the state of their projects.
What do you find most inspiring working for Blom?
Maps and aerial photography have interested me ever since I was at school, so to get the opportunity to work in this industry is something I have always strived for. Every day really does bring something new with a variety of projects that must be flown all across Europe.
I also find the people at Blom great to work with, and I have been lucky enough to have worked overseas in Athens and Oslo on Blom’s oblique projects.
What is a typical day for you working in Blom?
Besides reading and responding to emails and answering the phone, I will assess and monitor our oblique data acquisition and keep in touch with our air operations team to keep on top of priorities and see how the weather is influencing projects with regard to acquiring the aerial imagery.
I also regularly provide cost quotations to our sales team across the Blom group, and I am still involved in production, ensuring that projects are on course for delivery, and assisting and troubleshooting production issues with the production team.
I talk to a lot of colleagues across all of our offices. This is very stimulating as I get a good feeling of being part of a larger group.
What are the stand-out changes have you seen in the industry during your career?
It is also interesting to see the change in attitude and approach towards the way we now collect data at Blom. 9 years ago I was outside in all weather surveying with a tape measure – nowadays, in the comfort of the office, I use BlomWEB’s (Blom’s data hosting site) oblique images to measure a porch on a building that would previously have been impossible to capture from vertical photography!
There is a vast wealth of geospatial data available to users nowadays that is easy to access and allows us to plan our routes, check out a house and the neighbourhood before we consider moving, and connect with areas that we have not actually visited before.
What predictions do you have for the industry in the next 12 months?
I expect additional multi-camera systems to be developed that will aid the prospects of acquiring aerial photography in congested airspace. Due to the increase in commercial air traffic and tightening airspace restrictions it is becoming increasingly difficult to complete aerial survey over highly populated areas, which are normally of most interest to clients. Some system developers are already recognising these issues, with the A3 camera developed by VisionMap, being able to acquire large areas extremely efficiently, and at higher altitudes.
Given the current economic climate, new ideas are constantly being developed that are made attractive due to being economical whilst providing companies with a fast turn-around on projects. This trend will continue for a few years I think!
Quick fire questions – one word answers
TV or book?
Football or rugby?
Restaurant or take-away?
Theatre or cinema?
Club or gig?
Slopes or sand?
Lager or Ale?
Ferrari or Mercedes?
BBC or ITV?
Connery or Moore?
F1 or MotoGP?
Rock or chill-out?