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REG 232- Land Surveying

Field Measurement Method

Dr. Amin Akhavan Tabassi

1 2 3 4 5 6 Introduction to the Field Measurement Methods Coordinate Systems

Surveying System
Instruments and Techniques of Measurement Measurement of Distance Errors and Corrections in Measurement

Survey field measurements include of measuring the distances and angles.
Distance Measurement: Distances can be horizontal, slope, or vertical. Measured with tapes, or more commonly with Electronic Distance Measuring (EDM).
Horizontal Vertical

distances are always required for plan plotting purposes.

distances are most often measured with a surveyors level.

Angle Measurement: Horizontal and vertical angles are measured with a transit, or Theodolite. Theodolites are typically more accurate than transits.

Coordinate Systems
Coordinates are unique identifiers, which locate points of interest in space with respect to a reference frame. The point of interest may be a survey instrument station or a point of detail such as a land parcel corner on a map or a building feature in a CAD model. Once a point has coordinates associated with it, the location can always be recovered with respect to the reference frame.

Coordinate Systems


The reference frame, also known as the coordinate system, may be a simple rectilinear system or a more complex nonlinear system such as latitude and longitude on the surface of the Earth. Coordinate systems may be 2D, describing only the position of a point in a plane, like the location of grid intersections on a piece of graph paper. Alternatively, the reference frame may be 3D, defining the location of a point in terms of 2D position and height, such as engineering CAD model of a bridge design.

Rectilinear System

Latitude and Longitude

Coordinate Systems


The final products of plane surveying activities are generally maps or CAD models of the natural and built environment. Coordinate systems are a fundamental part in the creation of these final products as coordinates are used to describe the relationships between survey measurements and interest point locations.

Rectangular Cartesian System



Origin of system EA A NA NB

Rectangular coordinate system

Polar Coordinate System

r sin

r cos

Surveying System
FOR SURVEYING we use a slightly different form of notation. instead of r, we use : D (Horizontal Distance), (Whole Circle Bearing). N A(D, (

is always measured in a CLOCKWISE direction from North. is known as the WHOLE CIRCLE BEARING (WCB).




Any line has two bearings: Forward bearing (PQ ), and Backward Bearing (Qp) The difference between back & fore bearing is always = 180 True north: Through the geographic poles about which the Earth rotates. Magnetic north: Through which lines of magnetic flux pass. Arbitrary north: One adopted for a particular project.


The whole circle bearing (W.C.B) of a line is the horizontal angle measured clockwise from the North limb of the meridian. It varies from 0 to 360. In the figure, The whole circle bearing (W.C.B) of the line OA is 52 and that of line OB is 208.

For More Information

True north (geodetic north) is the direction along the earth's surface towards the geographic North Pole. True geodetic north usually differs from magnetic north (the direction a compass points toward the magnetic north pole), and from grid north (the direction northwards along the grid lines of a map projection). Geodetic true north also differs very slightly from Astronomical true north (typically by a few arc seconds) because the local gravity may not point at the exact rotational axis of the earth. The North Magnetic Pole moves slowly over time due to magnetic changes in the Earth's core. In 2001, it was determined by the Geological Survey of Canada to lie near Ellesmere Island in northern Canada at 81.3N 110.8W. It was estimated to be at 82.7N 114.4W in 2005. In 2009, it was moving toward Russia at between 34 and 37 mi (55-60 km) per year.

Anatomy of the Earth

Given the co-ordinates of two points, calculate the distance between them and the bearing of the line joining them. point P Q Easting (m) 1435.40 0935.02 Northing (m) 0885.80 1215.48





The distance PQ = [(EQ-EP)2+(NQ-NP)2]1/2 = 599.22 m

Forward bearing PQ = tan-1(E PQ / NPQ ) = - 56 37 15


( PQ ) is negative value we must add 360, Since

( PQ ) = 303 23 45

Instruments and Techniques

In surveying, measurements may be made directly, electronically, by the use of optical instruments, by computations from known lines and angles, or by combination methods. Instruments used for direct linear measurements include the Gunters chain (which is 20 m long and divided into 100 links); the tape, usually of steel.

Gunter's Chain
Gunter's chain is a measuring device used for land survey. It was designed and introduced in 1620 by English mathematician Edmund Gunter (15811626) long before the development of the theodolite and other more sophisticated equipment, enabling plots of land to be accurately surveyed and plotted, for legal and commercial purposes.

Taping involves measurement of the distance with tapes (steel/linen), either by placing it on the ground or sometimes by getting it suspended between points.

Tapes which made of Invar metal (an alloy of steel and nickel) are used for very precise work because of their low coefficient of thermal expansion.
*Invar is an alloy of iron and nickel having a low coefficient of thermal
expansion; used in tuning forks and measuring tapes and other instruments

Linen Tape

Metal Tape

In many situations electronic instruments, such as the geodimeter, which uses light waves, and the tellurometer, which uses microwaves, provide a more convenient and more accurate means of determining distance than do tapes.

Measurement of Distance
Linear measurement is the basis of all surveying and even though angles may be read precisely, the length of at least one line in a tract must be measured to supplement the angles in locating points. Methods of measuring a horizontal distance: Rough Measuring: Pacing, Odometer readings, Tacheometry* (Stadia), Taping, EDM, and Global Positioning System (GPS) Only the last three meet survey accuracy requirements Distance from stadia: (High wire-Low wire) * 100 = Distance (ft) More accurate measuring: taping, EDM (1966), GPS EDM and GPS are most common in todays surveys In pacing, one establishes the # of paces/100 by counting the # of paces over a pre-measured 300 line
*is a system of rapid surveying, by which the positions, both horizontal and vertical, of points on the earth surface relatively to one another are determined without using a chain or tape or a separate leveling instrument.

Types of Chains and Tapes

Before the ability to make steel rods and bands, sticks were cut into lengths of 16.5 (Rod) and they were laid end to end to measure. Gunters Chain 66 long with 100 link w/each link being 7.92 inches or 66 feet long Developed by Edmund Gunter in 1600s in England and made with individual wires with a loop at each end connected Chain had between 600-800 wearing surfaces which with hard use would wear and cause chain to elongate Measurements were recorded in chains and links 7ch 94.5lk = 7.945 ch = 7.945 X 66/ch = 524.37 1 chain = 4 rods; 80 chains = 1 mile

Types of Chains and Tapes

Engineers Chain
Same construction as Gunters Chain, but each link is 1.0 long and was used for engineering projects

Surveyors and Engineers Tapes

Made of to 3/8 wide steel tapes in 100; 200; 300 lengths Multiple types of marking and graduation:
Available in chains, feet, and metric Graduated:
Throughout feet and tenths marked the entire length Extra foot feet marked the length of the tape with additional foot at the 0 end graduated in tenths and hundreds of the foot

The table below gives a brief summary of relevant techniques and their respective accuracies. Method
Chainage Tacheometry Electronic Distance (EDM)

Relative Accuracy
1:10000 1:1000, 1:5000 1:10000, 1:100000

Rough Identification Surveys
Engineering Survey, Control Site Investigation, Mapping Plans Engineering Survey, Geodetic survey, Monitoring, Control

Surveying Metric Conversion

1 foot = 0.3048 meter 1 Meter = 3.2808 feet

Pacing- Accuracy: 1:100

Method : Don't try to pace out one meter with every step. Walk casually over 100m counting the number of steps. Work out the length of a casual step and use this instead. Example It takes 125 steps to walk 100(m) so 100/125 = 0.8(m) for the casual step. If the number of steps measured is 89 steps then the distance is 89 x 0.8 = 71.2(m).

Examples Of Usage

Used for rough identification surveys. Factors Which Influence The Use Of Pacing Low accuracy No equipment needed Unimpeded paths of travel required between survey points

Field Problems in Taping

During measurement of distance, various obstacles may be encountered in the field. Depending upon the type of obstacle, a suitable geometrical figure has to be framed and an equivalent distance has to be measured or computed. Obstacles encountered in the field can be divided into three broad categories. Type I : Ranging along obstacle is possible but not measurement such as pond, river etc.

To carry measurement along the type of obstacles where measurement round the obstacle is possible, perpendicular offsets are drawn from the line one at each side of the obstacle, as shown in Figure 1. Then, a parallel distance equivalent to distance along the obstacle is measured.

Figure 1

In some cases, the distance is being calculated either adopting basic principle of geometry and/or trigonometric relations Figure 2.

Figure 2

When measurement round an obstacle is not possible, similar triangles are established as shown in Figures 3 and 4.The unknown distance is calculated by solving similar triangles.
Figure 3

Solution :
PQ=900 +500 -2500900 cos (C)

Example: A survey line AB crosses a river. A line AP is run perpendicular to the survey line having length 200m. Another line PB is set at right angle to QP such that the point Q lies on the survey line at the extension of BA and at a distance of 50m from A. Compute the distance AB.

Solution :

Figure 4

Type II
Type II : Measurement along obstacle is possible but not ranging such as bush etc. In this case, random line method is being adopted to range a line between stations and subsequently measurement of distance is being carried out.

Type III
Type III : Both ranging and measurement along the obstacle is not possible such as building. In this case, two perpendicular offsets of equal length are erected from the line before the obstacle and a parallel line is ranged, as shown in Figure 5. The parallel line is extended and two perpendicular offsets, of same length as before, beyond the obstacle, are dropped from the line beyond the obstacle. Equivalent distance along a line parallel to ranged line is then measured to get the distance. However, depending on field condition surveyor can apply suitable geometrical /trigonometric concepts to find the unknown distance.

Figure 5

Assignment 1
A survey line AB crosses a river obliquely. P and Q are two points selected on the line one at each end of the river. Another line EPF is run parallel to the centre line of the river and point E is such that angle QEP is right angle and EP = PF = 200 m. A third point G is set at a distance of 280 m from F such that angle GFP is also right angle. Compute the distance PQ.

Referring to Figure 3 and the Solution

Answer=344.093 m

5 Steps of Taping

1. Shortest distance between two points is a straight line. 2.Horizontal distance requires tape to be horizontal. 3.Marking tape lengths each application of the tape requires marking using chaining pins to obtain total length. 4.Reading the tape the graduated tape must be read correctly. 5.Recording the distance the total length must be reported and recorded correctly.

Corrections for Taping

Listed below are several corrections that can be applied to taped distances to minimize systematic errors and to correct for the effects of the physical environment of the measurement process. Temperature Standardization Catenary (Sag) Slope Tension

L- true length , l - length as measured to- temperature of standardization t - temperature at observation , t = (t - to) M- mass per unit length To -standard tension T - Field tension , T=(T To) w weight of tape per unit length c - coefficient of linear expansion E Young s modulus, q - angle of slope in degrees L' - actual standardized length , L = correction to length A is the cross sectional area of the tape

Temperature correction
Most materials expand and contract with temperature change, and this effects taped distances. If a tape has stretched due to heat it will read shorter than it would at its normal (or standard) temperature. The corrected length is computed as follows: L = l + L = l + l c t

L- true length l - length as measured c - coefficient of linear expansion t = (t - to) to- temperature of standardization t - temperature at observation

to =20C (usual) , t =37C (hot) , t = 17C l =79.984m , c =1.15 x 10-5 m / C then: L =79.984 + 79.984 x 1.15 x 10-5 x 17 = 80.00 m So, if a distance of 79.984m was measured at this temperature, the actual distance would have been 80.000m. Conversely, if it was needed to lay out a line of 80.000m then a tape distance of 79.984 would be used.

Example 2
Tapes in U.S. are standardized at 68F (20C); the temperature difference above or below that will change the length of the tape Tapes have a relatively constant coefficient of expansion of 0.00000645 per unit length per F CT = 0.00000645(Temp (F)-68) Length Example: Assume a distance was measured when temperature was 30F using a 100 tape was 872.54 (68 30) X 0.00000645 X 872.54 = 0.21 error tape is short, thus distance is long, error must be subtracted and thus 872.54 0.21 = 872.33

The chain or tape being used may not be the correct length so it may always over or under read (a systematic error). This can be corrected by:

L= l

Actual tape length Assumed tape length


l = 226.20 m , assumed tape length = 30.00m , actual tape length = 30.005 m Then: L= 226.20 30.005 = 226.238 m 30.00

A tape is standardized by comparison with a "standard" tape or by measuring a definite "known" distance.

Catenary (sag) correction

If the tape cannot be supported for its length then it will hang freely under the influence of gravity. The shape of the tape will take is known as a catenary can be determined mathematically.

Catenary (sag) correction (Cont.)

The correction for sag is: W2 l3 W: weight of tape per meter L = T: Tension 24 T2
l: Measured Length

Example A steel tape 30 m long ,field pull (tension) of 16 kg , weight of the tape 0.8 kg, find the correction for sag ? (0.8/30)2 303 L= 24 (16)2 = - 3.125 mm

Slope correction All plan distances are always quoted as horizontal distances, therefore any distance not measured on the horizontal will need to be corrected for slope. Slope correction must always be considered, and either eliminated in the field or mathematically compensated.

Slope correction



The correction for slope is : L = ( l2 - H2) , L = l cos q

Tension correction
A tape is a given length when pulled with a certain tension. If the tension changes then so does the tape length. The correction is as follows:

l T L = EA
l= Measured Length T = Tension differences A = cross-sectional area of the steel, E= young's modulous of the tape

A line measured in the field and found to be 1242.823 m, with a steel tape with length of 30 m, and weight of 0.70 kg, the cross sectional area of the tape 0.03 cm2, the tape standardized at a temp 200C and under tension of 5 kg. Find the correction of the line due to tension, temp and sag - then find the corrected length of the line, if the distance measured in the field under tension force 10 kg and temperature 200C modulus of elasticity E = 2.10 107 kg/cm2.

Correction for tension:

l T CT = EA
1242.823(10 -5)100

CT =


= +0.986cm or + 0.00986 m

Correction for temperature: Ct = c l t Ct = c 1242.823 (20-20) = 0 m

Correction for sag: w = 0.70 / 30 = 0.023 kg/m 1242.823/30 =41.4274

(0.023)2 303 CS = -{41 24 (10 )2 + 1

CS =

W2 l3 24 T2

(0.023)2 12.8233 }= -.2445 2 24 (10 )

Corrected length= 1242.823 + 0.00986 + 0 0.2445 = 1242.588 m

Assignment 2
A 3000 m line measured at three steps, after measuring a distance of 800 m the tape was found to be 2cm too short, after measuring the total distance of 1800 m the tape was found to be 4cm too long, and after measuring the total distance of 3000m the tape was tested again and was found to be 8-cm too long. Find the correct distance measured.

+ 8 cm
+ 4 cm +


C - 2 cm D

800 m

1000 m

1200 m

3000 m