Constructive Candor

Navigating in the Digital Age

The Evolution of Not Asking for Directions

fj_web_smallI was cleaning out my car the other day.  It’s normally a fairly tame task, in fact the only time it can get a little exciting is when cleaning out under the seats. There’s something about not being able to see what you’re doing, reaching up at awkward angles, rooting around in the wiring and seat railings never knowing what long lost treasure, or trash, you may find. Amongst the spare change and a leaking ink pen, I fished out an old mainstay – a road map. I got a little nostalgic thinking about how things have changed from the last time I pulled out a road map, which is getting close to a decade ago.  It was my tool for driving back and forth across the country while changing duty stations when I was in the military.  The last line of defense from getting lost, and perhaps the only thing worse than getting lost….having to stop and ask for directions.

Now more than ever I find myself driving into new areas and needing to get from point A to point B.  At MacKay Sposito, our work in the energy sector spans multiple states with projects that are well off the beaten path and can stretch over a hundred miles.  Having the right tools to navigate while out in the field performing work is critical for a number of reasons:

  • Safety – most often the decision about whether a route is safe to use is a call made in the field. However, if certain routes are known to be hazardous it needs to be identified up front so the crews know what to avoid or at least what to expect.  Also, the ability to reliably navigate can play a part in safety by being able to plan your day.  You need to be able to complete you work within a time frame that allows you to be out of certain areas before it gets dark.

  • Landowner Relationships building and maintaining relationships  is an important task and the routes you choose to take play a huge factor. Make this a positive interaction with stakeholders by knowing where easements are located and if certain land owners want advance notice.

  • Project Constraints – the three fundamentals constraints of any project are cost, schedule and quality.  The extra time it takes to get to where you need to go can affect all three.

  • Not having to stop and ask for directions – aside having a hardwired desire to never stop and ask for directions, it is often not an option.  Much of this work is remote where you won’t cross paths with anyone else…even having cell phone coverage is often a luxury.

In a follow-on post I’ll get into some more details about the tools MacKay Sposito is using to navigate our way while performing field work.  Chances are you may already have access to these tools.  But for now, I’d like you to do a poll.  Please select your preferred method of navigation from the list below.  I will share the results in my next post!


Topics: Transportation & Public Works, Energy, Energy Transmission & Distribution