Hannah Pearce wins prestigious surveying award
Recent UNSW engineering graduate (BE (Surveying)) Hannah Pearce has won the NSW Excellence in Surveying and Spatial Information University student of the year award for 2018. This award recognises the best undergraduate thesis project from all students in surveying degrees across NSW.
Hannah’s thesis analysed a new method for calibrating a total station (common surveying instrument) without a known baseline; the traditional method used by surveyors. The strengths and limitations of this method were analysed and improvements to increase redundancy and provide an indication of the error in the estimation were presented. She also looked at the Topological Grid Search (TGS) method of adjusting survey networks, again a new innovative method. Finally, Hannah provided a step-by-step explanation of the Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) process, nowadays used widely in mobile laser scanning. SLAM relies upon an Extended Kalman Filter (EKF), and this thesis steps through the mathematics of the EKF, comparing it to the Least Squares adjustments with which most surveyors are familiar. Overall, this thesis was recognised as a significant and technically challenging contribution.
This award is the culmination of a very successful academic career at UNSW where in 2018 Hannah was the recipient of the Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc. Prize as the best in her final year class. Previously in 2016 she won the Maurice Maughan Prize for survey computations and the George Bennett Millennium Prize for the best performance in all Year 1 courses in 2014. Hannah is also a past President of the UNSW Student Surveying Society SurvSoc. All of the surveying academics who were lucky enough to have had Hannah in their classes would like to extend their hearty congratulations.