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“Tomorrow morning we will repair the top of Berth M6 at Bollard 42.”

If you don’t know what a bollard is, then you might be late for work! Its location is extremely precise.

You might not know a bollard by its name but you’ll know one to see one. They exist in all ports throughout the world. They’ve even become a symbol. A bollard is a squat vertical post with two short arms around which a docked ship’s mooring lines are attached.

More than 900 bollards are lined up along the Port of Montreal’s berths. While they are used to tie up ships, they also serve as landmarks for the port’s operations personnel. The port’s geomatics team has the location of each bollard pinned down to almost the centimetre. As a vertical benchmark, bollards assist with land surveying operations. Each year anchors with GPS antennas are attached to bollards in order to measure port berths and determine if they may have shifted. This helps verify infrastructure stability on a periodic basis. Indeed, they’ve become smart bollards.

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