Surveying is a process which allows the Surveyors to measure certain dimensions which occur on the surface of the Earth. Surveying represents a process of analyzing as well as recording the relative position of various features on, above or beneath the earth’s surface through means of direct and indirect measurements. Surveying also include the technique of establishing points through predetermined linear and angular measurements. Among the common definition of survey is the determination of vertical and horizontal position of features as well as the establishment of marks to indicate land boundaries or control construction. The origin of survey is believed to be ancient Egypt. Equipment like theodolites are used for accurate measurement of angular deviation, horizontal, vertical and slope levels.
Tools used in Surveying
- Total stations
- GPS receivers
- Dumpy levels
- Digital levels
- Radio communicators
- 3D scanners
- Prisms e.t.c.
Categories of Survey
- Geodetic survey: these are surveys which are carried out on a large scale basis and usually use the control networks which span over long distances.
- Cadastral survey: these are basically surveys carried with high precision and they usually help in defining the land ownership and boundaries.
- Topographical surveying: these represents the type of survey carried out to determine the position of points as well as their elevation and present the same as contour lines on a plot.
- As built surveying: these usually represents surveys which are carried out after the completion of a construction project. It mainly serve to check the variance from the proposed design.
- Aerial surveying: also referred to as photogrammetry, this represents surveys which are carried out by taking photographs from elevated ground stations.
- LiDAR surveying: These are usually surveys which are carried out using the remote sensors. The light is usually reflected by the lasers which helps in measuring distances.
Principles of Surveying
- Working from whole-to-part.
- Making survey conform to the desired result of application
- Provision of checks.
Errors in Surveying.
There are various errors which are common in the survey computations. These include the gross errors, the systematic errors and the random errors.
- Gross errors- these represents the mistakes or blunders which individuals make when performing several computations. These may include reading errors and punching the wrong functions when using the calculators. These errors are usually reduced through provision of checks either in the computation or in observation.
- Systematic errors- these are usually governed by physical laws or mathematical relationships. They can easily be reduced through the application of mathematical checks. These errors can also be connected to the equipment or the observer.
- Random errors- these are errors which remain in observation after the gross and systematic errors have been removed. They are normally distributed around the mean and are known to occur randomly. These types of errors can be reduced through taking several measurements and then getting the mean to find the most probable value.
Accuracy – closeness of a group of measurement to the true value.
Precision – closeness of a set of observations or measurements to themselves.
Fundamental Techniques Used in Surveying
There are various techniques which are used in surveying as will be discussed.
- Triangulation: this represent the determination of points’ location through the measurements of angles from known based lines.
- Trilateration: this represents a surveying approach whereby the lengths of the triangle’s sides are measured through electronic means which makes it easier to compute angles.
- Traverse: this is an approach in survey field which serve to establish the control networks. It entails the placement of survey stations along a line and using the previously surveyed points as a base for observing the next point.
- Levelling: this is a technique used to determine the height of one level relative to another. It is applied in surveying to establish the elevation of a given point relative to a given datum.
- Radiation: in this technique, the radiating lines are usually drawn from a focal point to defined boundaries converted to a small scale surveying sheet.
Importance of Surveying
- It is used in preparation of plans considered critical in projects design.
- Surveying is applied in planning and designing all the civil engineering projects.
- Applied in the measurement of land as well as the fixation of its boundaries.
- Used in assessing the economic feasibility of engineering projects.
- Applied in the execution of oceanographic and hydrographic charting and mapping.
- Used in preparation of the topographical map of a land surface of the earth.
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