here are many ways to map the Earth around us, each method having their own benefits. One type of method is a topographic survey, which are used for a variety of purposes.
What is a Topographic Survey?
Topographic surveys are a type of survey that measures the elevation of a particular piece of land at various points. These points are then illustrated as contour lines on a map/plot.
Contour lines are curved or straight lines on a map that join points of the same elevation together to indicate the elevation and steepness of a particular area of land. For example, a very steep mountain on a survey will have lots of very close-together contour lines, whereas flat land will have very spaced out contour lines.
The survey shows the relative positions and elevations of both natural and man-made features on a property. These features can include rivers, streams, roads, buildings and lanes. These surveys are very graphical in nature and are one of the most universally understood types of land surveys in the world.
What are they used for?
Topographic surveys are widely used around the world for a variety of reasons. The three main categories their use can be classified into include development, planning and land use. These surveys can be drawn to appropriate scales to suit the purpose it is for.
Many construction projects start by using a topographic or land survey to help with the initial design stage of the building – including the best area of land for it to be built, and what features may get in the way. They are well known for their use in orienteering and hiking. They are also the easiest types of maps to understand and navigate from. It is important for serious hikers to know the elevation and steepness of their surroundings, particularly in very hilly areas.
Process of creating one
They generally cover large areas of land and can be quite time consuming to gather the data. However, with the advancement of apparatus and tools to assist in surveying the methods are becoming much faster and more accurate. The first step to creating a survey is to establish the horizontal and vertical controls, followed by the surveyor locating the different features (both natural and man-made) within the control area that will be included in the topographic survey.
Next the data collected needs to be formatted to meet the design criteria, and finally the topographic survey needs to be drawn up and completed – often alongside a detailed report.