Creating A Control Network. Let’s take a look at the old methods vs. the new methods, shall we?

What is the PGM Manager App and how is it used? The PGM Manager app is used to capture the data of permanent ground markers installed as control points. Creating a control network is fundamental to most land surveying activities such as:

-Topographical Surveys

-Measured Building Surveys

-BIM Modelling

-Railway/Highway/River surveys

-Monitoring Surveys

-Boundary Surveys

-Setting Out


The app can be used to capture data of every control point installed and store it in a central location providing an asset management type service that can be used by company employees to review and edit the information, search by location and so on to keep track of all their installed markers.

If, as part of their client requirements they must create witness diagrams, then these can be created at the click of a button. Common scenarios for this is when the work is for Network Rail, the Environment Agency, or Historic England, who have their own standard templates.  Other clients (including other survey companies) may also require witness diagrams in which case the surveying company will probably have their own design that they use.

TWO main categories of user for the PGM Manager App

1.     Surveyor –These are the people who are physically out on-site installing the markers and recording the information, taking photos, creating the diagrams and uploading the data to Kulla.

2.     Survey Manager –These people are more often office based, although still qualified surveyors in their own right. They will be in charge of allocating company resources and managing the delivery of the required work.  They will commonly monitor the information sent back by the surveyors on the ground, check it over and create the witness diagrams required for the client.

What kind of data is collected on a typical job?

             1.     Job number

2.     Description of job

3.     ID of the ground marker (each will be unique)

4.     Type of marker

5.     Status (primary/secondary/tertiary)

6.     Who installed the marker

7.     Who recorded the data (can be the same as who installed the marker or not)

8.     Location information so a name and description if required

9.     Coordinates. The sub 10mm accuracy coordinates used for measurements are usually added in afterwards in the web portal as there are various post-processing calculations to do but 5 – 10m accuracy coordinates from the phone’s location hardware can be added to help somebody to locate the marker in future if required. Format is either in decimal GPS coordinates or eastings/northings on various grids

10.  A map showing the location of the marker

11.  Photographs showing the marker and surrounding features

12.  A diagram showing the distance from the marker to surrounding features and land marks in the vicinity of it with the direction of north marked from the vantage point

Various organisations may have their own requirements bespoke to them e.g. Network Rail require Access Point information and the location in miles/yards/chains for surveys on the railway.  The Environment Agency requires OS grid references and so on.

Ok so now that we know what the job requires how do we tackle it? If we didn’t know about the App we might use the Old Method, what does this look like?

First of all there is no fixed methodology so information tends to be documented however the surveyors personally want to do it. Spending hours scribbling in unreadable handwriting in a notebook that later takes hours to decipher, that does not sound good. However instead of writing by hand they might use some sort of note app on their phone which would be an improvement perhaps. A laptop might be taken to the job site and some information will be stored in equipment such as total stations. They will also use phone and digital cameras to take photographs. It is then either physically taken or sent/emailed back to the office. But let’s be honest, the information collected is all over the place.

Somebody then has to collate it all into a format that can be used for whatever they need the information for, and if witness diagrams are required, create them by hand. As you might imagine, this is a long drawn out process full of traditional methods that just stink.

And what about when someone needs to go back to site in a year’s time and wants to find out what control was installed?

Let’s have a look at the new method and see if we can improve this workflow.

The app provides a standardised way of collecting the ground marker data on-site, and makes it as easy as possible for the users by using drop down menus etc. This allows them to duplicate job details and just alter the relevant parts and quickly create diagrams of where the marker is by allowing the overlaying of lines and labels over photographs. Magic.


The data is stored on the user’ s device for as long as they want, and gets uploaded over the internet into the web portal called Kulla.

The photographs and diagrams are saved along with the data so everything to do with a given marker is kept together in the same central location, instantly accessible to whoever needs it.

Need a witness diagram? We can make whatever template you need, and you can produce PDF station descriptions with the click of a button. Best news ever!

Guides for how to use the app can be found at


“Speeding up the data capture and storing it in a central location.” 

We like the sound of that.


As you can see the app not only saves a whole lot of time but it also saves you that splitting headache when trying to document and compile information from a job site. Using the app really is a great tool to get you moving forward more efficiently with your daily workflow, and allows for more time to get on with your day.

Main Benefits


•  Standardised data capture methodology

•  Faster data entry with being able to copy job information etc

•  Photos automatically tagged to PGM data

•  Quick diagram creation of marker in relation to surrounding landmarks

•  Works offline and data can be stored on device until an internet connection found

•  Audit trail of who uploaded/edited/exported what when


Web Portal

•  After upload, data is immediately available to managers etc

•  Data for all markers installed by the company in one central location

•  All data captured on site is editable within the web portal

•  Control points can be viewed on a map, either searchable by postcode/place name or by job number

•  Batch update information that is the same for every marker within a certain job number

•  Data can be transferred between companies if required e.g. if using subcontractors

•  Witness diagrams can be created at the click of a button