With the current explosion in technology, there is a continuing hunger for accurate mapping and measurement of the world around us, so the world of geomatics is ever evolving. According to Ray Murphy, the geomatics surveyor harnesses the most innovative technologies to accurately capture data for clients: “Geomatics surveyors are entirely comfortable working with smart 3D data. For this reason, they are the default professionals in the area of 3D data capture, analysis and delivery, and a vital conduit in helping clients to make informed decisions. Murphy Surveys’ core business is geomatics surveying; however, we work in markets as diverse as CGI (special effects in the film industry), BIM, and the AEC and Pharma sectors”. Ray’s father was the founder of Murphy Surveys and a fellow of the Institute of Surveyors at that time. Ray’s first experiences in surveying were spent on summer holiday working on his father’s projects: “I remember manually logging observations on a survey notepad and hand drafting to produce a hard copy map in the required scale. It was a great foundation for me (even at 13 years of age, though I didn’t think it at the time) and helped me to gain a deep understanding of surveying and a drive to challenge our methodology and seek continuous improvement”.
When his father passed away suddenly in 1995, the family had to adapt quickly: “It was very much a case of rolling up our sleeves in whatever needed to be done. My mum always had a good appreciation for finance and kept what was essentially a lifestyle business running while I completed my studies”.
Ray graduated from DIT Bolton Street in 1999, receiving the accolade of top student, and has been instrumental, in partnership with his three brothers, Colin, Niall and Diarmuid, in a growth strategy that has transformed the business to the largest geomatics company in Ireland and the UK. He is now Managing Director.
“Exercise is really important to me. My first choice is my passion, cycling with my club, but that’s not always possible mid week so I generally start the day with a spin class or a session in the gym. It sets me up for the day,” Ray says.
“I work between our Head Office in Kilcullen and our Innovation Centre on Pembroke Street in Dublin 2.
I am always in the office by 8.00am. I spend time in the mornings reviewing progress with our staff, measuring performance and ultimately helping take care of client needs, with all of our offices and service divisions. It is all consuming as we offer a wide range of high end and bespoke services, from airborne, ground to sub-surface solutions, allowing our clients to get full visibility on their projects from a single reliable source.
As Managing Director, I get great insight into all strata of our company. It helps me to continually enhance our services, and to understand what our clients’ needs are. Ultimately, I’m responsible for both the strategy and vision for the company. I work very closely with our R&D department, constantly refining our next offering to the market. I have learned over the years to trust my gut and it has seldom if ever let me down. I suppose, at my very core I am a surveyor – it’s in my DNA.”
Every day is different
The team at Murphy Surveys has been involved with many major projects both domestically and internationally. Projects such as Cross Rail in London, Grangegorman redevelopment in Dublin and servicing the large number of international companies that are locating in Ireland could not have been delivered without an amazing team. Ray says that every day is different and certainly keeps life interesting.
“One of the great things about this industry is that it provides the surveyor with a commercial reason to play with ‘tech’. Honing and trailing technology is part of our wiring so if you like gadgets, if you are the archetypal early adaptor and you have to have the newest version of whatever gadget, then this could be the industry for you! Our early adaptor attitude to technology has certainly been a crucial part of our service offering; however, the real differentiator for us has been the capacity and bandwidth to deliver solutions that answer our clients’ needs in a timely and cost-effective way.
Most recently, our team has integrated Oculus rift headsets to 3D laser scanning as bespoke client offerings. Every day is exciting, and with the demand for more informed 3D data the future is bright for geomatics surveyors.”
Days are long, and that’s before the family commitments.
“My day usually ends with a measure of normality, making lunches or checking spellings with my three children. My wife and I normally juggle our calendars as she also has a demanding career, so there tends to be a little (a lot) of figuring it out. As a general rule we try to make sure that one of us is home in the evening. I’m not exactly sure how we manage it but we do.”
Geomatics surveying is at a very exciting stage, with new technologies changing the way surveyors work. Ray singles out developments in building information modelling (BIM) for special attention.
“This is a major opportunity for geomatics surveyors to show their skills in the area of 3D, data management and analysis. We at Murphy Surveys have been capturing in 3D for over a decade and have developed bespoke workflow to handle big data. We believe strongly in applying the best technology and workflows to ensure efficiency and accuracy. This also improves the safety of our staff by reducing the need to visit difficult locations and being informed almost in real time of potential hazards on site.”
Murphy Surveys was the first company in Ireland to introduce laser scanning almost 15 years ago. Since then, the company has continued to invest in this technology and as a result is well positioned to support retrofit design, CGI, heritage and infrastructure projects.
Ray, a former IIS president, is also delighted with developments on the professional side, in particular the recent transition of members of the IIS to membership of the SCSI.
“I see great opportunity for collaboration with other professional groups within the SCSI. The requirements of today’s industry are for informed collaborative design and construction, and I believe that the SCSI is perfectly placed to set and maintain the highest standards of competency among the profession to cater for this. Of course, like every industry we have challenges, particularly in encouraging new blood into our profession. In particular, gender balance is something that I believe should be addressed. I would love to think that when my daughters graduate and are making their career decision, surveying could be a real option in a more female-friendly industry. This will need work over the coming years and I am completely committed to helping facilitate and drive that.”