Daily Challenge Day 44

… and the words came tumbling down.

Project Status

Around 2:26am this morning, finally sorted my survey points out in terms of location. This afternoon added the levels to the set out points in CAD. Then extracted the data to comma delimited file, imported back into Excel. Then manipulated the levels. Initial adjustment was for the common link point mentioned in earlier post, to get all the points relative to the common point. Once adjusted to common point, further adjusted to make positive by finding the minimum level and the maximum level. This gave values from the dumpy level sightings comparable with those levels incrementally measured with staff and spirit level. Then further adjusted by setting the value of the permanent survey mark to 100, and used CAD scripts to put the values back into CAD. Then modified my structural drawings, raising my finished floor level. So looks like will require either a ramp, steps, or to slope the floor. Also decided to swap my bearers and joists around, which in turn also changes the orientation of the decking. Changing the orientation of the decking boards I don’t like. Anycase I now have a better view of the structure and its fit to its surrounds.

Meandering Thoughts

Anycase earlier this morning after locating my points in space, I started thinking about my 5km cells again. Not sure why, but thoughts were about Engineers without Borders (EWB) being sent to India, and India’s training of some 1 million engineers a year, and recent articles about closing down some of the programmes. Based on the 5km cells, there are 167,419 cells, which I previously equated to number of custodians or guardians required, but in this instance can equate to engineers. Which with 1 million engineers, roughly equates to at least 5 engineers for each cell.

The other week I was also messing around with block sizes for farms to be worked by combined harvester, and suitable for walking around: which came up with a grid around 5km square. I noticed we have a map on the wall in the office which shows minor roads on the Yorke Peninsula, these roads form a square grid, and the dimensions are typically less than 5km, there are a few longer but these tend to get narrower.

So assigning one civil engineer, environmental engineer, or agricultural engineer to each 5km cell doesn’t seem like a big ask. There shouldn’t be any need for EWB’s going to India.

Africa having around 1.6 million cells, would therefore need around 1.6 million engineers or surveyors. It is not a question of population it is a question of land area which has to be developed. China has 488,769 cells, so around 500 million engineers needed. Whilst the USA has 500,817 cells and the UK has 12,350 cells. Some countries produce fewer graduates in engineering than the number of cells would indicate, however they already have large populations so they only need to achieve replacement level.

With respect to the world would need around 7.6 million surveyors, with a population of around 7 billion, each cell can be assigned near 1000 people. Of which I suggest at least one: surveyor, cartographer, civil engineer and environmental scientist.

Most, some 80% of, surveying, engineering and architectural consultancies in Australia are considered very small business, that is they employ less than 5 people. So for every 5km cell, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to assign a small consultancy team to survey and develop the land.

In short its seems like there shouldn’t be any problems with:

  1. water supply
  2. food supply
  3. supply of housing
  4. supply of health care (hospitals)
  5. supply of education (schools)

So why do we have problems in these areas? I hazard a guess it has to do with concentration of resources in megacities, instead of locally where people have lived historically.

Then there is proclaimed shortages of engineers. I don’t agree with these claims. The claims seem to neglect, that we can design once and then build many times. So rather than a shortage of engineers, more likely a shortage of engineering trades. Engineers can come in, do the design and then go elsewhere, its why some of the largest engineering consultancies are international and chase projects around the world. Unfortunately they have a bias for megaprojects rather than appropriate technology suited to local needs. The problem with megaprojects is they strip resources from local communities, leave barren waste lands behind, to reap short lived benefits for the unsustainable growth of megacities.

We need the barefoot doctors and barefoot technicians which were promoted in the 1980’s, people who operate at the grassroots rather than the occupational elite which we are currently generating. Get heads out off the clouds and get back to the basic adaptation and implementation of proven technologies to achieve required objectives.

If all that is required is a tent and water tank, then design and build tents and water tanks, rather than multistorey apartment blocks and national water reticulation system.


  1. [29/05/2017]: Original
  2. [30/05/2017]: Added some subtitles