Challenger Innovation in Action: Depth of Cover and Site Selection Tools

The ‘i’ word (innovation) is casually thrown around in marketing material, almost as a nervous tick, but it’s all too often an aspirational reference to a vague notion. Lacking specifics or worse, showing off the latest and greatest gadget (made by someone else) that is purchased and displayed as innovative. Adoption of a new tool is hardly innovative, but developing a timely solution to a newfound issue is innovative.

Here are some specific examples of how Challenger is innovating, including a quick recap of key characteristics of successful innovation in action.

Clarity of Purpose (The Ask):

We’ve learned that for many reasons, our clients are not always specific in scoping the true nature of the problem as presented. This means we must be great at asking questions during the process to get it right. What use is the solution if the problem is not fully understood? Without asking the appropriate questions we could be developing the right answer to the wrong problem.

A Short Turnaround Time to get to the Minimum Viable Product (MVP):

Once we have a clear grasp of the issue, it’s time to hit the gas. Getting to the MVP as fast as possible by creating an effective solution that can be improved along the way. Whether it is ensuring projects are compliant with obligations and completed on time, or the velocity at which transactions occur can be increased, time always = money.  And the less time it takes to execute an effective solution the more valuable it is.  It does not mean the process is haphazard or shallow, but rather exquisitely focused on solving problems and addressing real needs most effectively.

Creating Value:

Time is always of the essence in business, in fact, the phrase “time is of the essence” is frequently incorporated into contracts, but what does it mean? Legally this means that timely performance is an essential obligation under a contract. We prefer to look at it as time = money, full stop.  This is at the root of how we innovate, rapid and effective discovery followed by quick development and implementation.



Rapid Site Evaluations for EV Charging Locations

Replacing costly site surveys, especially on sites that don’t proceed beyond early stages of evaluation.

The Ask = “Help us reduce costs and timelines associated with sites we rule out and ones we high grade for construction”. We understood the need for a rapid site constraint analysis to enable evaluation filtering, including land tenure, utilities, roadways, major power supply locations, satellite imagery, etc.

MVP = A semi-automatic desktop map product that incorporates public and proprietary information to enable decision-making results in 85% cost reduction for eliminated sites.

Time to MVP =  20 hours

Value: To the client, this automated desktop map allowed for more sites to be evaluated under budget with less variability and in a much shorter time frame.

tesla survey, renewable energy survey, site survey, renewables

Depth of Cover Now

Creating a reporting program that shows the depth of cover over a pipeline and reduces the risk of compliance and remediation costs.

Ask = “What is the true depth of cover on a pipeline in steep terrain at any given place? Is it in compliance with our commitment? We understood this to be a comparison problem between the design and as-built surface data. True depth-of-cover is measured at a right angle to the pipe, not by elevation. The problem is more evident in dynamic terrain with severe compound slopes. Can this be assessed quickly, allowing the client to make adjustments to the earthworks in real-time?

MVP= Challenger designed a compliance report program (Depth of Cover Now). This program is designed to compliance at time of observation with an output report for site upon completion followed by professional certification within 1 business day.

True DoC HTML reports overnight with dynamic graphics.

Time to MVP = 4 days

Value: Reduced compliance risk and reduced remediation cost until the time of backfilling.

oil and gas survey, pipeline survey, compliance report, depth of cover pipeline,


In summary, these two case studies show how Challenger Geomatics creates innovative solutions and how we apply them in real time scenarios to go well beyond the cost of the solution, transcending the project scope. Innovation is interesting work and helps us forge a relationship with our clients.  As surveyors and geomatics professionals, we are a small piece of the budget, but with the right approach we can be more than vendors. We are partners in success.

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