Tools of the Trade: Conducting a Baseline Survey Guide - EngineerSupply

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Tools of the Trade: Conducting a Baseline Survey


Surveyors can serve a wide range of functions and each one requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Historically speaking, one of the largest projects a surveyor can participate in is a baseline survey, which measures a line between two points on the Earth’s surface. Once the distance and direction along this parallel are established, it can be used to triangulate the area of a given region when analyzed along with other lines. Here’s a look at some of the surveying tools used to complete these large-scale tasks. 


Surveying Instrument

TOOLS FOR BASELINE SURVEY When Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon performed their historic survey to settle the border dispute between Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware, they used a device called a transit to measure angles. While this tool could give relatively accurate measurements of the area being surveyed, today’s surveyors have access to equipment that provides much higher levels of precision. Instead of using a transit or another similar device called a theodolite, the total station combines the same functionality with electronic distance measurement technology. The output of this tool can be instantly imported into a computer for immediate analysis. 


Since surveyors are measuring the distance and direction between two fixed points, it’s important to conduct measurements from a steady platform. You might have used a tripod when taking photographs, but when carrying surveying instruments, tripods need to be a lot sturdier. Instead of sitting on the surface, the legs of a surveyor’s tripod anchor into the ground using stakes to avoid accidental repositioning. For the most accurate measurement, it’s important that this device maintains its level and doesn’t vibrate, which is why there’s a large bolt to secure the total station in place. 

Safety Equipment

While the instruments used to conduct the survey are important, it’s equally crucial to keep the surveyors safe during the project. A bright vest is useful to increase the visibility of workers, especially when vehicular traffic is nearby. A surveyor often has to deal with difficult environmental conditions, which is why a brush ax can come in handy. Not only can it be used to clear back briars or defend against wild animals, but surveyors can also use it to make marks on trees to denote boundaries. 


Get the Right Gear

No matter if you’re working on a baseline project or any other surveying task, proper equipment is essential. When it’s time to purchase survey supplies, turn to the experts at Engineer Supply and let our 20 years of experience help steer you in the right direction. To learn more about our surveyor’s equipment and other engineering tools, call us today at 1-800-591-8907.
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