Online exclusives

Because great stories can’t always wait for next month’s issue of CE News, we’ve added “Online Exclusives” to our already ample websites. You can expect all of our websites to offer the types of stories you’d expect to find in a folio like the one you are holding now. Here’s a recent example from

Preconstruction photo documentation just got better

By Solomon Lieberman

After 15 years working as a civil engineer, Brian Long has managed to marry his personal passion — photography — with his professional expertise, as owner and operator of JB Long Photography in South Carolina.

Long takes excellent photographs, but his eye might be better suited for recognizing powerful trends, because his innovative work in preconstruction photo documentation is likely a (if not the) model for the future.

Geotagging on a waterline project in Charlotte

By connecting a GPS antenna ($150) to his Nikon digital SLR camera ($900), each and every photo that Long takes of a site is “geotagged” with latitude and longitude coordinates. While some of the technology used is inexpensive — and Long should be lauded for his application of relatively simple and accessible tools to create something elegant — it’s the customized presentation that his clients will truly appreciate. In other words: There are a lot of people who can buy gear and take photos, but very few people who can make those photos truly useful. After uploading the files to his website and using his custom programming script to overlay them on a Google Map, each photo can be located quickly, and viewed with just one click.

According to Long’s website, geotagging “saves you time when you go searching for a photo of a specific property. You simply click on the marker in Google Map and it takes you right to it. No more wasting time searching through a directory of photos.” Depending on the site in question, the implementation of geotagging could save a significant amount of time, particularly if the site is largely residential.

“I haven’t seen any others doing this,” Long said. “You could use an iPhone, but the photos won’t be as high-res.”

But Long’s work will impact more than post-project conflict resolution: He’s currently developing a programming script so that the geotagged map can be viewed in CAD, as a separate layer that can be turned on and off if and when a designer wants to verify a specific element at the site.

For more information about Brian Long, and to view his work, visit

James Rumsey Potomac River Bridge near Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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Posted in Uncategorized | January 29th, 2014 by

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