In the United States, Labor Day is well-known as the last hurrah of summer. But the holiday itself means so much more than that. Labor Day became a federal holiday in the U.S. in 1894. It was created by the labor union movement, which explains why international versions of this holiday are often called International Workers’ Day.
In the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, in order to earn a livable wage. Children as young as five went to work in factories and mines, and people of all ages faced unsafe working conditions.
Today, Labor Day is a celebration of workers and their achievements.
Here at Propeller, we want to honor these workers by tipping our (virtual) caps to the people who build the world we live in. Here are a few recent highlights we can’t help but brag about.
Deakin University is monitoring Australia’s shorelines
For the past two years, a team of researchers led by Deakin University professor Dan Ierodiaconou has been using Propeller to track and monitor shoreline degradation along Australia’s coast.
At the end of 2020, they were awarded the equivalent of an Oscar in Australian science—the Eureka Prize, which celebrates excellence in research and innovation.
This team of creative citizen scientists uses drone photogrammetry to create digital 3D models of the coastline. They are using those models to predict how beaches will respond to storms and rising sea levels. These models are so accurate, they can even include footprints.
“Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of our volunteers, we’ve gathered masses of data that’s available to all and making a real difference . . . from citizens using the data to better inform themselves of coastal change to government agencies using it to improve coastal monitoring, and consultants using it for coastal hazard assessments,” says Ierodiaconou.
Family-owned Fiore is moving 5 million cubic yards of dirt in a year—for a single project
In March 2020, Fiore broke ground on a 300-acre earthwork project called “Red Rocks,” a substantial undertaking for any self-performing earthmover. Since breaking ground—in the middle of a global pandemic, no less—they haven’t stopped work. They even moved over 5 million cubic yards of dirt in one year on this project alone.
A site this size would take days to survey manually, but Head of Survey Justin Russell has been using Propeller’s drone surveying solutions to fly the site every week.
“Accuracy is everything,” says Russell. “Most of the time, it’s way more accurate than a tenth of a foot.”
Russell is an excellent example of the kind of worker we want to honor this Labor Day. He’s 100% self-taught as a surveyor and learned everything he needed to know on his own. Now, he’s streamlining processes and making life better for his whole team using tech. With reliable, up-to-date 3D models and material quantities, Fiore can track and share progress, catch mistakes as soon as they happen, and keep projects on time and on budget.
McConnell Dowell is improving safety across the board
One of the biggest achievements of the 19th-century labor movement was improving working conditions and worker safety. Australian construction contractor McConnell Dowell is carrying on that tradition in 2021, using drones to document worksites from a safe distance.
“Imagine you’re walking throughout the site and you need to navigate yourself through all this machinery. That, for us, is a big safety risk. Instead, I can safely launch the drone, do a quick flight, come back, and upload the information,” says Senior Digital Engineer Alex Wong.
Improving worksite safety was a huge reason McConnell Dowell chose to invest in drone technology, and it’s paid off for them. They’ve been able to keep internal and external stakeholders off their busy job sites by sharing access to their digital platform and 3D mapping instead.
Propeller is empowering our customers to do their work faster and better than ever before
Earthworks is a critical industry, and the work our customers do can go underappreciated by those who use it (read: everyone). The ultimate goal of earthwork is to make the final product work the way it’s intended. It’s excavating and moving earth to create something people need.
Our customers create neighborhoods, build roads, and solve complex problems as if by magic.
If not for them—the essential workers—the modern world could not function. Their work is that important.
It’s why we’re proud to come to work each day and build a product that serves the earthworks industry in a way that makes their work easier, safer, and more fun. Demand for this work never ceases—and, in fact, is expected to boom over the coming years. In all seasons, boom or not, Propeller will be there to support our customers, enabling them to do their best work.
To our customers and all earthworks professionals across the globe, we say in closing: Life as we know it wouldn’t be possible without you. Thank you.