Crew Case Study: How Mobile Maps Helped A Road Construction Project Avoid Utilities and Improve Communication

A quick note:

Lendlease, The Northern Road Stage 3 is a Trimble customer. Trimble, the global leader in positioning technologies, was an early partner of Propeller. Our teams work closely together to deliver Trimble Stratus survey-grade drone data solutions for the heavy civil industries.

Lendlease, The Northern Road Stage 3, is a complex road reconstruction project underway in Sydney. It involves, among other things, adding lanes to existing roads, replacing a bridge over a major roadway, and installing new everything from traffic lights to retaining walls. 

In a project like this where you’re synchronizing so many moving parts, fluid communication between the office and the field and well-defined processes make all the difference.

That’s why Lendlease, The Northern Road Stage 3 Propeller’s, new mobile maps add-on, Crew.

We recently checked in with Wayne Vella, senior project engineer and Sean Joseph, utility engineer, to see how Propeller and Crew are helping them get work done faster and more efficiently.

The Challenge 

The suburban area where The Northern Road Stage 3 project is taking place is dense with utilities. Lendlease is planning work around electrical lines that feed a major hospital, a “backbone” of phone lines within close proximity to a substation, and water lines that supply the entire town. 

construction site

Normally, having to circumvent these obstacles would slow operations. Construction is slowed by having to work around, or relocate, these utilities. To make sure the project stayed on track and minimize the possibility of utility strikes, Lendlease realized they needed a better way of distributing survey data to everyone on site, regardless their location.

What were the major pain points?

• Crews on site weren’t getting the information they needed quickly enough, slowing progress.

• Lack of visibility on utilities left construction teams vulnerable to utility strikes.

• Sean Joseph, the utility engineer for the project, had become an information gatekeeper. Maps, models, and measurements that multiple parties relied on needed to be generated and shared by him.

How Crew Bridged the Communication Gap

Crew has offered Joseph and Vella an effortless way to distribute the data they’re analyzing in the office, among their colleagues in the field. It provides a more seamless, efficient tool for communicating with their people out in the field. They are now better able to explain plans and deliver maps based on the most recent surveys to those on site who need them.   

construction workers looking at phone

Previously, they relied on printed plans, which could easily be lost or ignored, quickly become outdated, and generally packaged the data they needed in a less convenient, usable format. 

Being able to send highly accurate maps with annotated plans and design layers to their field teams’ phones, means they’re supplying everyone with more relevant, actionable information than they had access to before.

“We’re able to, almost in real time, communicate something that we’ve got in our heads to the heads of those people standing out on site.”

Wayne Vella

Senior Project Engineer

Crew allows for the creation of unlimited mobile-optimized maps that can be customized for the end user’s specific role. In addition, on-site personnel can turn overlays on and off, giving them further power to hone in on the information they need and ignore the rest. 

What Crew features are they using?

What Crew features are they using?

Drawing tool
Allows anyone to annotate or mark up a map
Designs, utility line locations, and more can be turned on and off 
QR codes
Can be sent to anyone to direct them a Crew map


No more miscommunications or data silos. Because of Crew, Joseph and Vella are giving their teams the confidence they need to do their jobs more quickly and without fear of a utility strike.

Propeller’s Lasting Impact   

In addition to the communication issues Crew has helped resolve, the Northern Road Stage 3 project has benefitted from integrating Propeller’s drone surveying workflow into their workflow as a whole.  

In particular, having Propeller turn drone-collected survey data into accurate, realistic 3D models of their site has saved their surveying team time they were previously using creating their own models in CAD platforms. 

Propeller has definitely been there to help me. They’ve tried to understand my problems and how I think they could make the product better.”

Sean Joseph

Utility engineer

The Propeller Platform has also given Joseph a way to keep managers and other stakeholders informed, so that he no longer serves as a roadblock to the essential measurements and data. Anyone with access to the platform is able to log on and get the information themselves without checking in with him.

Where’s the ROI?

• By arming on-site teams with the knowledge they need to do their jobs correctly, they are able to do their work more quickly, with improved accuracy.

• Having visibility on linework at all times enables them avoid utility strikes, saving money in repairs and rework. 

• With data more accessible to everyone in the company, office personnel like Joseph and the surveying team are able to spend less time bridging information gaps and more time performing other tasks.

Ready to give your on-site teams the tools they need to do their jobs right—the first time? Let’s talk about adding Crew to your arsenal.

Related Resources:

Crew Case Study: How Mobile Maps Helped A Road Construction Project Avoid Utilities and Improve Communication

What’s New and Improved in 2020? Here’s How We’ve Applied Your Feedback

Elder Corp’s GPS Manager on the Benefits of Integrating Drone Surveying Into His Technology Stack

2020 Earthwork report by Propeller

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