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Introduction to Surveying

It is the art of determining the relative positions of different object on the surface of the earth
by measuring the horizontal distance between them and by preparing a map to any suitable
scale. Thus, in this process, the measurements are taken only in the horizontal plane.

Types of Surveying [Classification]:


Primary Classification or Primary Division :


Plane Surveying :
The shape of the earth is spherical. Thus the surface is obviously curved. But in plane surveying the
curvature of earth is not taken into account. This is because plane surveying is carried out over a small
area, so the surface of the earth is considered as a plane. The degree of accuracy required in this type
of surveying is completely low. Plane surveying is done on an area of less than 250km 2.


Geodetic surveying :
In geodetic surveying the curvature of the earth is taken into consideration. It is extended over a large
area greater than 250km2. The line joining any two points considered as a curved line. Very refined
methods and instruments are used in this type of surveying. IN this method very high precision or
accuracy is required.


Secondary classification:
Survey can be classified on different bases.

1. Based on instrument:

Chain Survey It is the simplest method of surveying. In this survey only

measurements are taken in the field by the help of necessary requirements for field work
are chain, tape, ranging rod, arrows and sometime cross staff. In chain survey we use
1) Chain There are three types of chains
a. Metric surveying chains: The chains are made in lengths of 20 and 30 meters. To enable
the reading of factious of a chain, tallies (tags) are fixed at every five meter length and small
brass rings are provided at every meter length. To facilitate holding of the arrows in position
with the handle, a groove is cut on the outside surface of the handle. The handle joints are
flexible. The tallies used for marking the distances in a metric chain are marked with letters
Me and m.
b. Steel Band Chain: It consists of a ribbon of steel with bras handle at each end. It is 20 or
30long and 16 mm wide. It is wound on an open steel cross or on the metal reel in a closed
case. The graduations are etched as meters decimeters, centimeters on one side and 0.2 m
links on the other. Brass tallies are fixed at every 5 m length of the band.

c. Gnters Chain: It is 66 fit long and is divided into 100 links. Each link is 0.66 ft long. It is
very convenient for measuring distance in miles and furlongs. Also for measuring area and
when the units of area is an acre. It is 66 Ft. long & has 100 links
d. Revenue Chain: It is commonly used for measuring fields in cadastral survey. It is 33 ft
long and divided into 16 links. Each link is 2.0625 ft long. It is 33 Ft. long & has 16 links
e. Engineers chain: It is 100 ft long and it is divided into 100 links. Each link is 1 ft in a
length. Used in all Engineering surveys.
2) Measuring tapes

A tape measure or measuring tape is a flexible form of ruler. It consists of a

a. Cloth or Linen Tape: Used for taking subsidiary measurements, such as offset. It is very
light and handy. It is easily affected by damp. If wet it shrinks. It stretches easily and likely to
b. Metric Woven Metallic Tape: They are available in 2, 10, 30, and 50 meters. The tape is
made of yarn and metal wire. A metal ring is attached to the outer end of tapes. The length
of the tape includes the metal ring. At every centimeter a black line 8 to 10 mm in height is
drown. Every 5 centimeters is marked with an arrow in black. Every decimeter and meter is
marked with a back line extending over the full width of the tape/ the graduation marks at
every decimeter and meter are numbered with black and red figures, respectively.
c. Metric Steel Tape: Tape is available in 1, 2, 10, 30, and 50 meters. The tape is of steel or
stainless steel. The outer end is provided with a ring. The length of the tape includes the
metal ring. The tape is marked with a line at every five millimeters, centimeters, decimeters,
and meter. Every decimeter and meter shall be marked with Hindu Arabic numerals in bold.
When the button release devised is pressed, the tape automatically rewind in to the case.
d. Invar Tape: For highest precision work the invar tape in used. It is made of an alloy of steel
and nickel (36%). It is 6 mm wide and may be obtained in length of 30m and 100m. It is not
calibrated through its length but has terminal lines. Each terminal division has ten 1 mm
division. It is very expensive.
e. Synthetic Tape: The tapes are manufactured of glass glass fiber having PVC coating. They
are graduated every 10 mm and figured every 100 mm. Meter, figures are shown in red.
They are convenient for measuring shorts lengths.
3) Ranging rod Ranging rods are used to range some intermediate points in the survey line .The length
of the ranging rod is either 2m or 3m.They are shod at bottom with a heavy iron point.
4) Arrows these are made of good quality hardened steel wire of 4 mm diameter. The arrows are made
400 mm in length, are pointed at one and the other end is bent into a loop or circle. They are also
called as marking or chaining pins and are used to mark the end of chain during the process of
5) Plumb bob while chaining along sloping ground, a plumb bob is required to transfer the points to the
ground. It is also used for testing the verticality of ranging poles.
6) Pacing: In this method surveyor walks along the line to be measured and counts the number of steps.
Then the distance measured is equal to number of steps average length of a step. Average length
of a step can be found by walking along a known length. A normal man takes a step of length 0.75 m
to 0.8 m.
7) Passometer: A passometer is a watch-like instrument which is carried vertically in the pocket of shirt
or tied to a leg. It records number of steps taken. Thus the problem of counting number of steps is
eliminated in this approximate method of linear measurement.

Pedometer: This instrument is similar to passometer but it can record the distance instead of
number of steps. In this, zero setting and setting of step length is made before walking.
9) Odometer: This instrument is attached to the wheel of a cycle or other vehicle. It records the
number of revolutions made by the wheel. Knowing the circumference of the wheel, the distance
travelled may be found.
10) Speedometer: Odometer calibrated to give distance directly is called speedometer. This is to be
used for particular vehicle only. All automobiles are provided with speedometers. By running the
vehicle along the line to be measured distance can be found.


Compass survey


Plane Table survey Plane table is a graphical method of surveying in which the field
works and the plotting is done simultaneously. It is particularly adopting in small mapping. Plane
table surveying is used for locating the field computation of area of field


Theodolite survey it is done by commonly used instrument for measuring horizontal

and vertical angles. It is used for prolonging a line, levelling and even for measuring the
distances indirectly


Tachometric Survey The ordinary methods of surveying with a theodolite, chain, and
levelling instrument are fairly satisfactory when the ground is pretty clear of obstructions and not
very precipitous, but it becomes extremely cumbersome when the ground is covered with bush,
or broken up by ravines


Photographic survey

2. Based on methods:
(i) Triangulation: In this method control points are established through a network of

(ii) Traversing: In this scheme of establishing control points consists of a series of
connected points established through linear and angular measurements. If the last line
meets the starting point it is called as closed traverse. If it does not meet, it is known
as open traverse.


Based on Objects:

On the basis of object of survey the classification can be as engineering survey,

military survey, mines survey, geological survey and archeological survey.

(a) Engineering Survey The objective of this type of survey is to collect data for
designing civil engineering projects like roads, railways, irrigation, water supply and
sewage disposals. These surveys are further sub-divided into:
Reconnaissance Survey for determining feasibility and estimation of the scheme.
Preliminary Survey for collecting more information to estimate the cost of the project,
and Location Survey to set the work on the ground.

(b) Military Survey:


This survey is meant for working out plans of strategic

(c) Mines Survey: This is used for exploring mineral wealth.

(d) Geological Survey: This survey is for finding different strata in the earths crust.
(e) Archeological Survey: This survey is for unearthing relics of antiquity.
4. Based on nature of field
A. Land Survey

land survey is divided into

1. Topographical Survey To determine natural features of a country such as valleys, rivers and
artificial features such as road, railways, etc.

2. Cadastral Survey: To determine boundaries of field, estate

3. City survey: To locate premises, streets, water supply and drainage systems
4. Engineering survey: To collect detailed data for the design for of projects involving roads,
railways, etc Engineering surveys are sub divided into
(1). Reconnaissance Survey (2). Preliminary Survey (3). Location Survey

B. Marine survey
C. Astronomical survey
Object and uses of surveying
As stated in the definition, object of surveying is to show relative positions of various
objects of an area on paper and produce plan or map of that area. Various uses of
surveying are listed below:

Plans prepared to record property lines of private, public and government lands help
in avoiding unnecessary controversies.
Maps prepared for marking boundaries of countries, states, districts etc., avoid
Locality plans help in identifying location of houses and offices in the area.
Road maps help travelers and tourist.
Topographic maps showing natural features like rivers, streams, hills, forests help in
planning irrigation projects and flood control measures.
For planning and estimating project works like roads, bridges, railways, airports,
water supply and waste water disposal surveying is required.
Marine and hydrographic survey helps in planning navigation routes and harbors.
Military survey is required for strategic planning.
Mine surveys are required for exploring mineral wealth.
Geological surveys are necessary for determining different strata in the earth crust
so that proper location is found for reservoirs.
Archeological surveys are useful for unearthing relics of antiquity.
Astronomical survey helps in the study of movements of planets and for calculating
local and standard times.

Survey Station:
Survey stations are of two kinds

1. Main Stations:
Main stations are the end of the lines, which command the boundaries of the survey, and
the lines joining the main stations re called the main survey line or the chain lines.

2. Subsidiary or the tie stations:

Subsidiary or the tie stations are the point selected on the main survey lines, where it is
necessary to locate the interior detail such as fences, hedges, building etc.
Tie or subsidiary lines: A tie line joints two fixed points on the main survey lines. It helps to
checking the accuracy of surveying and to locate the interior details. The position of each tie
line should be close to some features, such as paths, building etc.
Base Lines: It is main and longest line, which passes approximately through the center of
the field. All the other measurements to show the details of the work are taken with respect
of this line.
Check Line: A check line also termed as a proof line is a line joining the apex of a triangle to
some fixed points on any two sides of a triangle. A check line is measured to check the
accuracy of the framework. The length of a check line, as measured on the ground should
agree with its length on the plan.
Offsets: These are the lateral measurements from the base line to fix the positions of the
different objects of the work with respect to base line. These are generally set at right angle
offsets. It can also be drawn with the help of a tape. There are two kinds of offsets:
1) Perpendicular offsets
The measurements are taken at right angle to the survey line called
perpendicular or right angled offsets.
2) Oblique offsets
The measurements which are not made at right angles to the survey line
are called oblique offsets or tie line offsets.
Procedure in chain survey:
1. Reconnaissance:

The preliminary inspection of the area to be surveyed is called reconnaissance. The surveyor
inspects the area to be surveyed, survey or prepares index sketch or key plan.
2. Marking Station:

Surveyor fixes up the required no stations at places from where maximum possible stations
are possible.
3. Then he selects the way for passing the main line, which should be horizontal and clean
as possible and should pass approximately through the center of work.

4. Then ranging roads are fixed on the stations.

5. After fixing the stations, chaining could be started.
6. Make ranging wherever necessary.
7. Measure the change and offset.

8. Enter in the field the book.

The process of establishing intermediate point on a straight line between two
end points is known as ranging
Ranging must be done before a survey line is chained. It may be necessary to
establish a number of intermediate points prior to chaining when chain line is much longer.
Ranging may be done by direct observation by the naked eye or by line ranger or by
Theodolite. Generally, ranging is done by naked eye with the help of three ranging rods.
Ranging is of two kinds:
1. Direct Ranging:

When intermediate ranging rods are fixed on a straight line by direct observation from end
stations, the process is known as direct ranging. Direct ranging is possible when the end
stations are inevasible.
Assume that A and B two end stations of chain line, where two ranging rods are already
fixed. Suppose it is required to fix a ranging rod at the intermediate point P on the chain line
in such a way that the points A, P & B are in same straight line. The surveyor stands about
two meters behind the ranging rod at A by looking towards line AB. The assistant holds
ranging rod at P vertically at arms length the rod should be held tightly by the thumb and
forefinger. Now the surveyor direct the assistant to move the ranging rod to the left or right
until the three ranging rods come exactly the same straight line. The ranging will be perfect,
when the three ranging rods coincide and appear as a single rod. When the surveyor is
satisfied that the ranging is prefect, he signals the assistant to fix the ranging rod on the
ground. By following the same procedure, the other ranging rods may be fixed on the line.
2. Indirect or Reciprocal Ranging:

Indirect ranging is used when the end stations are not inevasible due to high ground or a hill
or if the ends are too long. In such cases, intermediate points can be fixed on the survey
line by a process known as reciprocal ranging.
Let A & B be the two stations with rising ground or a hill. Let two chainmen with ranging
rods take up positions at M and P, such that, chainmen at M1 can see both rods at P1 and B
and the chainmen at P1 can see the ranging rods at M1 and A. The chainmen at P1 directs
the chainmen at M1 to shift the ranging rod at M2 in line with A and then chainman at M2
directs the chainmen at P1 to shift the ranging rod to P2 in line with B, by successively
directing each other to be in line with the end points. Their positions will be changed until
finally they are both in line with A & B exactly on line AB. Now the four ranging rods at A M

P & B are on same straight line. This method may also be used in ranging a line across a
valley or river.
Measurements of Areas:

There are two methods of measuring areas.

1. in Triangulation: The lines of survey form a network of triangles. (It is the systems of

surveying in which the area is divided into simple geometrical figures and the work is
carried out by taking its measurements.)

It is one in which the frame work consists of a series of connected lines, the
length and directions of which are measured by chain or tape and angular instruments
2. A Traversing: