Land surveying - types and methods

in Survey

There are numerous types of survey available for measuring land and land features. Here are some of the most common types:

An archaeological field survey is an assessment of archaeological sites or finds, where their locations are plotted in a landscape. GPS, GIS, aerial photography, literary resources and remote sensing can all help to establish the archeological field. Laser surveying can produce 3D computerised models of artifacts.

Another type of survey is an as built survey. These are used during a construction project, or once one has been completed. It will evaluate the location of the constructed elements, and is often drawn in red or redline on an overlay. This means it can be placed over design plans to compare a project during its build or completion to its original plan.

A bathymetric survey will map the bed of an ocean, lake, river or other body of water. Bahymetric surveys are used to measure the depth below sea level at certain points, whereas a hypsometry survey measures the height of the land above sea level. They depth measurement is likely to be carried out with the use of sound measuring such as sonar, and global positioning (GPS) will measure this position on the earth’s surface.

A boundary survey is used to establish the legal boundaries of land, and may have to be completed on purchasing a property or land, subdividing land or building on it. Boundary surveys will ascertain the corners of a ‘parcel’, and may involve the setting or restoration of monuments or markers to mark these boundaries.

Deformation surveys determine and measure the change in structures and objects.

They use geodetic measuring devices, geotechnical measuring devices and other techniques such as radar measuring devices. This type of survey can be used to measure dams, roads, mining sites, volcanoes, settlements and earthquake-prone areas, and how they have changed over time. Laser scanning is one method which can achieve an accurate measurement of deformation.

Engineering surveys may use topographic, layout or as-built surveys, but feature more detailed data. Laser surveying is one way to achieve such accurate and detailed information.

A foundation survey is carried out to collect the positional data of construction foundations. It will be used to assess whether foundations of a structure or building have been laid at the correct depth and location.

Geological surveys are general recordings of the geologically significant features of an area. This is a general term, and can describe other types of survey.

Hydrographic surveys map the coastline and seabed, and are used in navigation and engineering.

A building survey or ‘as-built’ survey are types of measured survey, which is a general term to describe the survey done to produce plans of a building. This can include almost any surveying method of data collection, occasionally including laser surveying.

Mortgage surveys are also called physical surveys. They will determine land boundaries, such as in a boundary survey, and also building location. Sometimes one of these surveys may be required before a lender will approve a mortgage loan.

Structural surveys are a common step in the house-buying process. Structural surveys inspect the structural stability of a building or structure, and will make note of their condition and what work may need doing.

Topographic surveys will mark the elevation of points on a piece of land, presenting them as contour lines. These can be carried out in a number of ways including triangulation and laser surveying techniques, and may or may not include surface features such as trees and plants.

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John Riley has 113 articles online

SUMO Services provide land surveying nationwide, with a comprehensive list of services. SUMO can provide measured building surveying, plan collation, utility detection and mapping and topographic surveying.

Measured building surveying

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Land surveying - types and methods

This article was published on 2012/02/24