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Working in Costa Rica
Topographical Engineering


Meeting up with a friend, Freddy Alvarenga - I was wondering what it was like... working in Costa Rica, as a topographical engineer and land surveyor.

A job that for the past so many years, has taken him quite literally - all over the country...

Working in Costa Rica on River
Freddy Alvarenga - Somewhere in Costa Rica...

No question - it was definitely going to be something interesting to write about, here at ThisisCostaRica.com.

And we discussed all sorts of different things.

Working in Costa Rica Flood
The 2007 Flood, in Filadelphia - Source

Past projects, for example...

In response to the flooding that took place in Filadelphia, Guanacaste, back in 2007...

Freddy joined forces with the C.N.E. (National Emergency Commission) - responsible for overseeing the planning and construction of a raised area of land - something known as a dyke.

Stories like this one, and others...

Please read on to learn more about Freddy and the unique line of work he practices, here on the Rich Coast!








Working in Costa Rica

So Freddy...

"What's it like - working in Costa Rica, as a topographical engineer and land surveyor?"

This was the question that some x hours later...

Working in Costa Rica
Bird's Eye View - with Freddy Alvarenga in Cobano, Costa Rica

...had taken our discussion into all sorts of different areas.

And what a learning experience it was!

It was clear too, just how much Freddy enjoyed his work.

Working in Costa Rica People
Freddy, with Team S.S.T.

From the planning and construction of a new house, hotel or golf course...

...to helping a client with questions related to things like investments and appraisals...

He was describing how no one job is ever the same.

Each presenting a brand new challenge - always working with numbers...

It's a trade that requires critical thinking from the starting point, out in the field...

To the finishing point, back at the office.

...

One thing Freddy mentioned - something that continues to be the deal-maker... is meeting, working with, and helping - a variety of people along the way.

Given a problem to solve - and then, through persistence and determination, seeing a project right through to the very end...

Working in Costa Rica River
Freddy Alvarenga, On Site in Liberia

It's a great feeling - delivering a solution that helps put someone's mind at ease. And not to mention - you, yourself... are learning something new - each little step of the way.

This is invaluable.

Working in Costa Rica CNE

...

Well, our talk kept right on going.

Like for example - about the time when in 2008 - Freddy joined forces with the C.N.E. in Filadelphia.

The year prior, during the winter months (September through November) - a time when Costa Rica sees most of its rain...

...residents had found themselves waist-high in water, from an overflowing Tempisque River.

With the town desperate for a solution - Freddy and his team at S.S.T. (Servicios y Soluciones en TopografĂ­a)...

Working in Costa Rica Argo ATV
Argo Six-Wheelers, Sending Aid in Filadelphia

...were tasked with the planning and construction of a dyke (an area of raised land, installed to stop flooding) - one that continues to hold strong...

...improving life for everyone in the region.

...

What an incredible and rewarding thing to be apart of - playing such a large role, in helping so many people in need.

As Freddy himself put it -- it's one of the most significant contributions he's made, through his work to date.

However, it's definitely not the only one...

Our discussion continuing - next we talked about another important project here on the Rich Coast, one that Freddy was commissioned to work on - by the Costa Rican government.




Re-Mapping the Rich Coastline

Commissioned by the I.G.N. (Institut Geographique National) - in three separate areas along the Costa Rican coastline...

Working in Costa Rica IGN
Institut Geographique National

Freddy explained, how walking on foot -- he used high-tech GPS and other devices...

...to re-map some 150 km of the Pacific Ocean boundary line.

Describing each area of coastline from west to east, there was...

An area between Santa Rosa National Park and Playa Hermosa - way up in the province of Guanacaste...

An area stretching from Pachote to Playa Blanca, located along the Gulf of the Nicoya - just north of Tambor...

Working in Costa Rica Jaco Parrita
A New Boundary - Jaco to Parrita

...and again flanking the Pacific Ocean...

An area extending from Jaco all the way to Parrita - part of the drive on your way out to Manuel Antonio.

...

But of course, the question remains...

Why re-map? What's the significance?

As Freddy went on to explain... it's a pretty big thing going on. Costa Rica, along with 4 other countries: Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Guatamala...

Is in the process of going digital.

Current maps are long outdated (like in the image below), and although it's a very expensive and time consuming task...

Working in Costa Rica Old Map
Tambor & Pachote - Circa 1971

An eventual switch, to country-wide digital maps - will without a doubt, help to streamline various processes, things that would normally (and still do!) - take a very long time to accomplish.

Working in Costa Rica Google Earth
Google Earth

It's likely to see a complete digital Costa Rican mapping system down the road, one that functions seamlessly with the likes of Google Earth, and Google Maps.

...

OK - so back to the official boundary line that Freddy helped to determine an entire 150 km of...

In designating such a boundary - a 200 meter zone is established, one that begins at a point where the water meets the land...

...tides taken into account.

Working in Costa Rica Welcome
Open to the Public

The first 50 meters of this zone - often an area that includes some very nice beaches!...

Is public.

And yes - this is true, throughout all of Costa Rica. All beaches are public, within this first 50 meters of the zone.

...

On to the remaining 150...

It's this part of the zone, that the Costa Rican government deems 'municipal' - an area where business owners (of hotels, restaurants, etc.)... may obtain a permit for - one that lasts 20 years, can be sold within that time...

And that may be extended thereafter.

...

So again, there's certainly a lot going on.

A project that holds quite some importance here on the Rich Coast, it was especially interesting discussing this with someone as directly involved as Freddy.

Well more on the subject of digital now...

Next - let's take an even closer look - at the work of a topographical engineer and land surveyor, here in Costa Rica...




From the Field to the Office...

Yet another interesting part of our meetup, turning on the computers - Freddy went on to offer an even closer look at the kind of work he does.

Working in Costa Rica Freddy Alvarenga
Working in Costa Rica

It's a process that begins with collecting data out in the field...

...later to be analyzed back in the office.

And the end result - is a full-on *to scale* working 3D model - one that effectively depicts the project at hand.

Best described with a real example, he mentioned a job he'd worked on - not too long ago.

His client, located on the Nicoya Peninsula - was eager to have his land assessed. His goal was to determine the number of lots (his original guess was 2)... information that would help to assess its overall value - as well as well as to how to best develop it.

And so it was, armed with some pretty high-tech equipment...

Working in Costa Rica Equipment
Total Station, GPS, AutoCad... Topographical 'Tools of the Trade'

...Freddy and his team at S.S.T. took to the field - collecting information on the client's property - hundreds of various data points...

Working in Costa Rica Data
Raw Data is Configured into a 3D Working Model, of the Property

...later to be analyzed and converted in the three-dimensional digital world, of AutoCad - a popular computer software program that he uses.

Numbers converted to something more recognizable - here's what the end result looks like...

Working in Costa Rica Colors
The Red Areas Depict 6 Different Lots on the Property

Color-coded and all, it's the red areas that are of particular interest. These zones depict not only 2 (as the client had originally thought existed) but 6 lots in total, on the property.

Guaranteed - this was one happy customer!

And yes, over and above this 3D computer model - depicting the various slopes and elevations of the client's land - Freddy also delivers, a carefully designed *master plan*...

Working in Costa Rica Colors Final
Information on Your Property - It's All Right Here.

...a blueprint offering a bird's eye view - helping to better understand anything and everything (roads, waterlines, trees, where to put a pool!, etc.)... with respect to any sort development plans, you may have.

Talk about interesting work!




Well Freddy if you're reading this... thank you again for taking the time to talk, and sharing so much about your line of work - and Costa Rica - in the process.

Working in Costa Rica Horse
In Costa Rica, Sometimes You Need a Horse!

I learned quite a lot in this conversation - much more than am able to recount - here on this page!

...

And so wraps up yet another interesting meetup, here on the Rich Coast.

I hope you enjoyed the read.





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