From The Trenches: Real Stories From Our GIS Engineers

This article was written by Taylor McMaster from the MGS team and originally appeared in our Q1 2020 email newsletter. Not receiving the newsletter yet? Click here to join the list!

Out in the field, you never know what to expect.

Not too long ago we received a field assignment to review a few handholes that we couldn’t locate from satellite imagery – three handholes to be exact. The project area was in the eastern part of Madison, WI along I-90. Knowing that we had to pop open a few handholes, I needed to find some help to lift those heavy things.

I tapped our most seasoned intern, Austin, to assist. The first handhole we found ended up having its own little ecosystem hiding inside:

See them? Look closely…

The second handhole had its own surprise in-store. It wasn’t actually a handhole, but rather an exposed manhole:

We searched for the third handhole, but could not locate it. We noticed an orange marker post off in the distance. After walking up to the orange post, we still didn’t see the handhole the marker is supposed to highlight. Then I noticed a piece of barbed wire sticking out of the ground. 

I yanked and yanked on the barbed wire and discovered the wire was anchored to something. It was wired to the handhole grip and the handhole was camouflaged with mud. The last person to open that handhole used barbed wire to lift it…

Out in the field, you never know what to expect.

Taylor McMaster in an Engineering Manager at Millennium Geospatial. Connect with him on LinkedIn. Austin West is a Geospatial Engineer in the MGS Intern Program. Interested in joining the MGS team? Contact us!