I know you use GIS extensively in your work. I work with GIS at my job, and I'm curious if you have built any automation tools for identifying keyline features/dam locations/site plans.
Or is it easiest to do everything by hand? Can you tell me generally about your use of GIS tools at HD?
To be accurate I use GIS software (mainly MapInfo Professional) to do my plans however I don't really use the 'GIS' of that software strictly speaking, rather I just use its cartographic features as they are the easiest and most effective I know. Asides I've been using MapInfo since about 1995 and I'm very comfortable with it. I've tried others and I keep coming back 'home' to it! I like it because I can draw fences, make parallel offsets (great for keyline geometry), measure lines and areas very easily and generate scaled layouts and all the things that makes the output effective and professional. I see a lot of people are using sketch up and other freeware, CAD software etc. and do a great job. I'm happy with this 'hammer', its like my old ragged, leather-handled Eastwing: I'll reach for it every time even though there are new shiny looking ones on the rack too!
Our student and friend Jesus Ruiz of Spain (www.lineaclave.com) is a surveyor and he's been dabbling with automating the location of keypoints on his topographic surveys. I haven't spoken with him for a while about so I don't know where he's up to. Whatever the case you can simply ground locate them with the GPS and then transfer their location to the base map. Remember a 'map is not the territory' (Holmgren) and I've worked with some very sexy maps...Is possible though but give me a ground truth anytime...