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One of the advantages with working with the partners at Builterra is their extensive domain experience in the civil and utility infrastructure space.  The creation of the Builterra platform was not limited to simple data collection and display in a map.  Builterra is a “data-driven” platform that can be used for custom reporting, meta-data analysis and Autodesk AutoCAD drafting automation.  The Builterra API is used to deliver bespoke post-processing to meet the needs of the client and project owners.  One example of the kind of customization delivered to T2 was the complete automation of the standard “Test Hole” report.  This is a typical investigation that every utility engineer is required to deliver on infrastructure projects where the buried utility needs to be exposed by hydrovac, precisely measured and identified for the purposes of construction design and damage prevention. 

Using the Builterra mobile app, the field crews can quickly enter the exposed utility attribute data and take required pictures using standard cell phones.  If the test hole is surveyed using precision GPS, the coordinates from the survey point file can be “merged” with test hole location datasets for precise map location.  Based on this precise XYZ, all measured depths and calculated elevations can be automatically calculated within the Builterra database using pre-configured embedded equations. 


When it come time for generating the report, it’s 100% automated and touchless. 

 The custom, bespoke format has all required data, location map, photos and even a “schematic” cross-section of the exposed utility test hole.  This is one of the Builterra innovations implemented by the long time AutoCAD Civil 3D guru, Jeff Lyons.

“Everything in my career has touched the AutoCAD design world, so why not have cell phones directly provide data which can be used within the AutoCAD environment?” says Lyons.  

Using the Builterra API from with AutoCAD, any collected data can be imported directly from the cloud into CAD, instantly drafted using the post-corrected survey XYZ.  The cross-sections created are simplified blocks with attributes that are created in real-time and posted to the final report with no human interaction. 

From a Building Information Modeling aspect, test hole data can also be automatically projected in 3D using pre-assigned custom 3D blocks with attributes or exported to GIS file formats for use in products like Autodesk Infraworks. 


Like any database, the same testhole data can be used in summary reports exported to Excel and progress tracking for billing clients at the end of month. 

Builterra is literally built for this kind of project work and based on the organic growth of the product in North America, is bound to be part of the civil engineers toolbox for years to come. 

Written by Angus Stocking who is a former licensed land surveyor who has been writing about infrastructure since 2002.


Jeff Lyons

With over 20 years of experience in the municipal and land development sector, Jeff Lyons is dedicated to creating innovative civil engineering software solutions. As a founding partner and Director of Platform Innovation at Builterra, Jeff is a sought-after instructor and guest speaker who regularly engages with clients and associations to share insights that drive the industry forward. Jeff received his diploma in mining engineering technology from the Haileybury School of Mines (Northern College), and his diploma in geological technology (geophysics) from Sir Sandford Fleming College.