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Impact of technology on modern land surveying techniques

Blog impact of technology on modern land surveying techniques

Surveying land for construction or for city planning is deceptively complicated. While it is easy to take for granted the carefully orchestrated order of modern towns and cities, the ease with which this order is maintained depends entirely on survey equipment that has undergone massive changes in its history. Though ancient builders somehow managed to erect impressive structures, such as the pyramids or the parthenon, surveying has never been as simple or straightforward as it is today.

Blog impact of technology on modern land surveying techniques

Distance Measuring

The traditional method of measuring horizontal and vertical angles, the theodolite, is centuries old. Today, electronic distance measuring (EDM) surveying tools based on the theodolite have all but eliminated the need for multiple measurers and detailed manual recording. EDM devices measure distance with a laser to precisely calculate the length of a beam and record calculations in an electronic database.

Global Positioning and Mapping

The use of global positioning systems (GPS) has eliminated the need for surveyors to measure objects only within line of sight of one another. Where surveyors in the past had to climb to the highest point on a plot, they can now manage their data from any point on the ground. GPS technology also facilitates mapping for visualizing areas after a survey has been made. Though mapping is currently not used for creating precise surveys, it will likely be incorporated into future developments in the field of surveying.

Robotic Instruments

The invention of robotic theodolite stations has allowed for a substantial increase in the amount of calculations and inspections that can be performed by a single operator. Since robotic stations can dramatically improve calculation accuracy and efficiency, they can speed up projects and eliminate the need for troublesome reworks.

3-D Scanning

While EDM devices are capable of measuring distance in a straight line, new 3-D scanning devices can scan the inside of structures and model interiors to a stunning degree of accuracy. 3-D scanners are especially helpful for certain construction uses in which the exact state of a structure needs to be captured. Surveying and tools for surveying aren't just used for construction, and 3-D scanning is also useful for historical preservation, crime scene forensics, and disaster relief. 3-D scanning is also excellent for accessing areas difficult or impossible for humans to traverse and is far more accurate than any known method of modeling spaces.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What survey equipment does a surveyor use?

Blog impact of technology on modern land surveying techniques

Today, the theodolite is used for measuring angles between two visible points, the total station distance and angle computer is used for multiple survey functions, and the real-time kinematic is used to enhance the precision of GPS.

How much does survey equipment cost?

The cost of survey equipment depends on your prior knowledge of your survey area, as well as your personal needs. Typically, surveying equipment ranges from around $200 to several thousand dollars. Minor items and more traditional survey equipment tend to cost less while highly computerized equipment is usually more expensive.

How does global positioning system survey equipment work?

Global positioning surveying requires the use of two GPS receivers. As the receivers are held in the same location for an extended time, satellite computations pinpoint their exact location. Software is then used to calculate the difference in the locations of the two receivers. Both real-time kinematic and continuously operating reference techniques build upon this process.

Can I survey my property myself?

If you are a non-professional, you can survey your property yourself, but doing so can leave you vulnerable to making problematic errors. Always make sure to educate yourself before conducting your own survey, and be aware that amateur surveys cannot be used in court.

Is it worth getting a property survey?

A property survey is very worthwhile in a number of different circumstances. When buying a house, building a house, or beginning any other construction project, surveying can help you to avoid building on the wrong property or purchasing property that is zoned improperly. A land surveyor can help you avoid significant stress later.

Surveying has come a long way in the past several decades. If you are an amateur interested in conducting your own survey, the right equipment can ease your learning curve dramatically. If you are a professional, you probably know what to look for. No matter your needs, Engineer Supply has you covered.
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