800.591.8907 M-F 8-5PM EST

19 Years Serving Customers Like You. Buy With Confidence.

How Are Land Surveys Conducted?

Blog how are land surveys conducted You have probably seen people on the side of the road looking through some piece of survey equipment mounted on a tripod — someone of which you will most likely recognize. Surveying is the science of taking large measurements, and it's the start of almost every civil engineering project. It determines the legal boundaries between different properties. But it can also be used to measure the location of existing structures, as well as the topography and slope of a piece of land. People have always had a desire to build large objects, so surveying has a long-standing history and tradition. Behind every ancient structure was someone who laid out the angles and alignments during its construction. Not only is it used to aid in the development of large buildings, but it can also be used to create accurate maps of continents and other pieces of land.

Types of Equipment Used in Surveying

blog how are land surveys conducted

There are several types of survey equipment on the market today, but the oldest (and perhaps the most widely used) is the theodolite. Its primary job is to measure horizontal and vertical angles between points. And when you combine these angles with distances from a tape measure or some other measuring tool, you can “triangulate” the location of any point through the use of trigonometry. Modern theodolites (called total stations) can measure both angles and distance, and they have an onboard computer system that can perform calculations (which can be recorded and stored for later use). If you see a surveyor looking through a funny-looking telescope, it’s most likely a total station. And this person is probably looking at a reflector to record the location of a particular point.

There are other types of survey instruments (such as GPS equipment and unmanned aircraft) that can do more complex operations. But there are other ways you can do your own topographical mapping. You might have a drainage problem on a piece of land that you need to develop, or you might want to measure things so you can write them down. For this type of task, a sight level can be a useful type of survey equipment. It’s a telescope and spirit level wrapped into one, which can be operated by looking through the sight at a particular survey rod and raise or lower the end until the bubble is centered. That way, you’ll know that you’re looking at a point that’s exactly level to your line of sight. Just subtract the height of your eye-line with what’s measured on the rod, and this will be your elevation. It’s not a precise technique, but it’s a simple and inexpensive way to get topographical information so you can complete any home improvement project.

Because of the emphasis we place on land, surveying is one of the oldest and most important professions in the world. And here at Engineering Supply, we have a broad selection of surveying tools that are designed for the working professional. Feel free to look at what we have in stock, so you can find the right tool for your specific needs.
Please Wait... processing