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Straightedge: the BergerABAM blog

Surveying: from the Past into the Future

A total station is an electronic/optical instrument used in modern surveying.

Long before he delivered the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln had a brief career in surveying. He set out with a compass, stake ax, marking pins, and a Gunter’s chain to tackle government and private survey projects. Naturally, when he was employed in this centuries-old profession, the world was very different from today. While the lay of the land has changed over time, the basic principles of surveying have essentially remained the same. When Abraham Lincoln worked as a surveyor, he measured the form, boundaries, and position between two points of land, just as a surveyor would do today in the twenty-first century. Surveying tools, however, have changed drastically; and the emergence of technology and its rapid progression has transformed the way we survey the land. Read more about Surveying: from the Past into the Future

What is cloud computing?

Storing data with cloud computing.

What is cloud computing? According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, “cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” A much easier way to think about cloud computing is to imagine the clouds in the sky, only instead of being composed of small droplets of water or ice crystals, cloud computing is composed of services accessed over the internet. Read more about What is cloud computing?

Death of a Flood Insurance Salesman?

As the central character of Arthur Miller’s 1949 play, Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman charts a path of delusional self-destruction that ends in his own demise. Like Willy and his doomed flirtation with insanity, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is now locked in a precarious dance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the two now appear headed for darker, murkier waters. Read more about Death of a Flood Insurance Salesman?

2012 APWA Washington Chapter Spring Conference

Plans are underway for the Washington Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) spring conference! Mark your calendars for Tuesday, 3 April through Friday, 6 April 2012. It’s an event you won’t want to miss!

This 3-day conference will take place at one of the premier resorts and conference destinations in the Pacific Northwest, the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, Washington. The only Washington resort casino awarded an AAA Four Diamond rating, the facility provides an exciting backdrop to workshops, technical sessions, scholarship events, wine tasting, golf tournament, tours, and an exhibitor-hosted social. Read more about 2012 APWA Washington Chapter Spring Conference

Olmsted Dam Gantry Crane – Literally Lifting Tons

This crane was designed to transport heavy concrete shells. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District.

Transporting nearly 4,800 tons from Point A to Point B is a daunting feat. Many of us cannot even comprehend such a tremendous amount of weight, let alone the massive undertaking of understanding how to move it. But BergerABAM’s engineers are an exception. The example, one of the largest civil works project undertaken, the $2.1 billion Olmsted Locks and Dam project near Peducah, Kentucky. The project replaces two older locks well past their design life. Read more about Olmsted Dam Gantry Crane – Literally Lifting Tons


Viable means for accelerating construction of monorail guideways will be available within the next few years.

The International Monorail Association held its first U.S. conference on 14 to 16 December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founded in 2009, the association’s mission is to organize the global monorail sector, promote the application of monorail, publish information, and establish performance standards for monorail for public mass transport infrastructure.

BergerABAM project manager, Brian Garrett, presented a session at the MONORAILEX 2011 conference on elevated guideway and facility design for advanced transit systems. Since joining BergerABAM in 1982, Brian has focused primarily on transit projects. Read more about MONORAILEX 2011

What is RSS?

Screenshot illustrating how to add an RSS feed to Microsoft Outlook.

What is RSS? RSS, Really Simple Syndication, is a technology that allows web users, like you, to keep track of your favorite websites. Before RSS feeds, you would ‘bookmark’ websites in your browser and manually return to them on a regular basis to see what had been added. By subscribing to an RSS feed, you can receive updates from your favorite web sites whenever new content is published. Read more about What is RSS?

New Design Guidelines for Precast Concrete Parking Garages

Catrina Walter marks cracks on the back of a slender spandrel beam following completion of one of several tests.

When driving to any urban city, a typical concern is where to park your car when you get there. Fortunately, many options abound in the form of precast concrete parking garages. Built solely for the purpose of automobile parking, these multi-level structures present many factors that must be considered by the engineer responsible for their design, such as safety, efficiency, and the economic aspect during construction. To keep up with the rapid growth of urban areas, engineers must also seek ways to improve the design process through simplification so that parking garages can be built with greater speed and efficiency, but with consistent accuracy and quality. Read more about New Design Guidelines for Precast Concrete Parking Garages

Use of Precast Bent Systems in High Seismic Regions

Exploded view of the bent system.

Lee Marsh, PhD, PE, a senior project manager in BergerABAM’s Federal Way office, recently coauthored a webinar presentation on a “Precast Bent System for Use in High Seismic Regions.” Joining him in this presentation were John Stanton, PhD, PE, a professor of structural engineering and mechanics from the University of Washington (UW), and Bijan Khaleghi, PhD, PE, SE, the bridge design engineer at the Washington State Department of Transportation. The presentation was funded by Federal Highway Administration’s Highways for LIFE Technology (HfL) Partnership Programs. Read more about Use of Precast Bent Systems in High Seismic Regions

The Holy Grail of Public Involvement

In our line of work, we know our clients’ planning, design, and construction projects affect the lives and livelihoods of people in the communities we serve. We have developed a set of outreach tools that do a pretty good job of informing most people about projects, and creating opportunities for questions and feedback. But we also know we sometimes are unable to reach segments of the community that should be aware and involved. Read more about The Holy Grail of Public Involvement