Character Spotlight ‘RIPRO Corporation’

Company name:  RIPRO Corporation , Japan

Location: Okayama city, Japan. The head office is located about 600 km from Tokyo and about 150 km from Hiroshima.

Why did you participate in Get Kids into Survey?

We want to tell the world’s kids about the importance of survey markers. To help them understand why survey markers exist and how they help protect everyone. To encourage kids to explore and find survey markers… You can even come across them as you walk to school! 

What do you do?

Survey markers have been protecting our lives since the days of your grandfather and grandmother; as well as your great-grandfather and great-grandmother, going back hundreds of generations to ancient Egyptian times. Survey markers have long watched over the past history and future of time. They will spend their lives at their installation point and will stay there forever, watching over you. RIPRO manufactures survey markers that provide support for your life and to help land surveyors.

How long have you been in the survey industry?

RIPRO is nearly 50 years old, founded in 1973. Looking at the plastic trash that was thrown away 50 years ago, we started thinking that we could recycle waste plastic into something useful. That was when the idea came to light, before this survey markers were mostly wooden stakes, but we thought in the future people will eventually run out of natural resources! 

It was said that they should be changed to a recycled plastic stake marker that can be used for a long time, is light, easy to carry and stronger. Plus the discarded plastic was regenerated cleanly to re-invent the surveying stake. These days, we are working to develop a new survey marker for the future by evolving to an information ECO stake marker. An information survey marker with IT technology which will talk to you through smart phones in the near future.

How did you get into the industry?

The trigger was the emergence of environmental pollution problems in the 1970s in Japan. We came up with a survey stake marker with the consideration of the utilization of discarded plastic. In Japan surveyors were pleased that they were light and easy to carry and difficult to pull out. We entered the market by using earth-friendly recycling and introducing earth-friendly surveying!

Interesting fact about the you

There was a big earthquake in Japan in 2011. At that time, a big tsunami swallowed the city and a lot of other things, it was a very sad time for us. What the tsunami swallowed arrived as garbage on the American west coast 5000 miles away. An American whale-sighting captain found a small 1 foot long survey marker stake floating alongside his dock. There was a Japanese character on the stake marker, and we were impressed that it had crossed 5000 miles from Japan due to the tsunami. I was able to visit him and take the marker he found back home to Japan. 

The news about the Japanese plastic survey stake marker was seen by a Seattle TV station and they broadcast a story about it on TV. Our American friend saw it, recognized it as a RIPRO stake marker and contacted me. Why does the stake that keeps an eye on everyone’s feet for many years swim to America? !! We were surprised. We immediately went to America to pick up a stake marker. The American Orcas Island captain was very surprised we came and kindly said for me to return to Japan safely. The tsunami is a sad time in history. However, this swimming stake marker that crossed over pacific ocean connected the United States and Japan, creating friendship beyond the earthquake and tsunami sadness. One Survey stake marker connected people and brought peace. It is a really interesting small survey marker adventure story which has been made into a book. You can read the story HERE which is called ‘LITTLE ORCA’S 5000 MILE ODYSSEY’.

Favourite piece of kit and why?

Information stake marker. For the future, we are developing and manufacturing an information stakes marker that adds information to an ordinary stake marker. Many people can see the information about the land through the stake marker on their smartphones, passively and actively. From the stake marker it can tell you about the history of the land, the history of people’s lives, maybe even point out delicious nearby shops too.

Favourite Survey technique and why?

Recently, due to weather climate variability problems, especially in Japan, there have been landslides in the mountains due to heavy rainfall. The stake marker that conveys active information monitors the movement of the mountain, by inserting a sensor in the head of the stake marker and alerts people to protect them from a landslide disaster. The monitoring measurement technology is from high-tech information stake markers made from recycled plastic waste. These contribute to disaster prevention and sustainable life in the sustainable development goals (SDGs).


How did you choose your character and what does it represent?

The character represents a conversation between a survey stake marker and a person. I (Kengo Okada/CEO) was born in a stake marker factory. When I was a kid, I was surrounded by many stake markers in the warehouse and they entertained me in the night when I was lonely. 

So, the person’s name is Kui- Japanese language for Stake Marker. I am very happy that the stakes have information and will be useful for disaster prevention and environmental activities. The stake marker name is Orcas! That is the stake marker that swam across the Pacific Ocean. 

I hope that one day the stake marker and people can talk to each other all over the world!

The ‘LITTLE ORCA’S 5000 MILE ODYSSEY‘ book by RIPRO is available to read, click on the title name.