Topographic surveys provide data that identifies man made and natural land features, including contours. They are often required before construction can begin and provide valuable information to contractors, engineers and architects.

Surveyors use specialized equipment such as robotic total stations and GPS to measure and create maps of the land’s surface. These instruments also identify the location of obstacles like fences, walls and structures.

1. Land Surveys Only Measure Elevation

If you are planning to build on a piece of land, topographical surveys provide the data you need to determine whether your plans are feasible or if there will be any challenges with the terrain. This is because a topographic survey measures the changes in elevation across a property, which are then marked on a map using contour lines.

This mapping is done by utilizing specialized equipment that pinpoints the distance above sea level at specific points on a property known as control points. These points are fixed with a metal “bench mark” that fixes the location and often indicates its elevation about mean sea level.

Land surveyors then use these turning point bench marks to find the locations of other nearby points, and they plot them on a topographic map using an algorithm called profile levelling. This procedure involves measuring the slope between each point and a specified reference line, such as a local road or a neighboring property boundary.

A topographic survey can include a variety of additional information, such as the location and dimensions of easements, trees, buildings, and other features, as well as indicating the location where improvements like driveways and septic systems can be constructed. Mortgage plot plan surveys are another common use for topographic surveys, as are monumentation surveys, which are used to verify that a fence or wall is located within property boundaries.

2. Land Surveys Only Measure Boundaries

While a land survey has a variety of uses, its main focus is to determine property lines, which helps with the development and sale of real estate. They also help local authorities grant building permits and ensure compliance with zoning laws.

A land survey includes a map that pinpoints the exact location of the boundaries. In addition to this, it also provides a written description and any monuments located at the corners of the property. This information is crucial for various professionals, such as engineers and architects.

Topographic surveys are a more in-depth version of a boundary survey, as they identify and describe the natural and man-made features of the land. These features include changes in terrain, bodies of water, structures and fences. They also measure the elevation on a piece of land and present it as contour lines on a plot. Engineers and architects use this data to plan their projects and speed up the construction process.

Boundary surveys are an essential tool for homeowners, ensuring they can build or expand their property without worrying about legal disputes with neighbors. They also help avoid encroachments, which occur when one property builds on or otherwise occupies the grounds of another.

3. Land Surveys Only Measure Contours

Topographic surveys detail the height, size, depth, and location of any natural or manufactured features on a piece of land. They also map the changes in terrain and contours of the land, which can be helpful for home builders who need to know the land’s surface conditions before beginning construction projects.

The data gathered in a topographic survey can also be used for identifying and labeling objects found on the property, such as trees, roads, buildings, drainage ditches, and more. It is important for architects, engineers, construction builders, and others to have this information before building structures or starting new projects on a property.

These surveys can be done using several different methods. One method is to stake out contour lines with a square-grid pattern and then measure distances between them from one point to another. This method is commonly used for contouring small areas of land and can be very accurate. Another way to measure contours is to use a cross-section, which involves determining elevations for points located on short lines laid out at right angles to a surveyed base line.

A topographic survey can be combined with a boundary survey to reflect both property boundaries and physical features, but it can also stand on its own. For example, a topographic survey can show you the best spot to build a drainage ditch so water can run away from your property instead of flowing into it.

4. Land Surveys Only Measure Distances

When people think of land surveys, they typically imagine a standard boundary survey that establishes property lines. However, there are many other types of land surveys that serve different purposes and industries.

A surveyor’s specialized equipment and software tools allow them to measure three-dimensional distances between points on a map. This is how land surveyors can determine the exact location and dimensions of a building, road, or other man-made feature.

These surveys are also useful for locating and mapping existing natural and man-made features, such as land contours, trees, waterways, and fences. The data collected by a topographic survey can help engineers, architects, and construction builders design infrastructure projects accurately and speed up site development.

The accuracy of a survey depends on the amount of information that the surveyor collects, how much detail they put into it, and the techniques they use. For example, skilled surveyors can achieve an accuracy of one part in 10,000 (1 centimeter per 100 meters) along slopes. In addition, they can ensure that the data on their maps is to scale by measuring the relative position of each point from a series of reference points called control stations.

5. Land Surveys Only Measure Height

A land survey is a way to determine the specific location of a property’s boundaries and features. These include natural and man-made elements like buildings, fences, trees, ponds and streams, and the terrain’s elevation as represented by land contour lines. This information is important to architects, engineers, construction builders and other professionals who rely on it for their projects and developments.

While most people associate a land survey with boundary surveys, there are actually many different types of surveys that may be conducted on a plot. Depending on your circumstances, one type of survey might be more suitable than another. For example, ALTA/NSPS surveys tend to be more appropriate for a purchase or sale of a piece of property because they provide details about the boundaries that surround it.

On the other hand, topographic surveys are often more appropriate for new construction and renovations because they capture detailed information about a site’s physical characteristics. This information is particularly useful for engineers and architects, who rely on it to design infrastructure projects accurately. The data can also be used for environmental assessments and resolving boundary disputes. So, if you’re planning on buying or building a new property, talk to a professional from South West Surveys about the best type of survey for your situation.

6. Land Surveys Only Measure Distances Between Points

Land surveys are a great way to find out more about the plot of land you are planning to buy or sell. They can tell you exactly where your property lines are, and prevent improvements from encroaching on neighboring properties. They can also give you an idea of how large a property is, which can help with pricing it for sale.

However, they aren’t the only type of survey that needs to be conducted in order to get a more thorough picture of your plot of land. Other surveys that can be very useful include topographic surveys, which are essential for construction projects.

Unlike boundary surveys, topographical surveys focus on elevation and the shape of the land. Using specialized equipment like GPS receivers and total stations, land surveyors can accurately measure distances and heights to create detailed maps of the landscape. This allows architects, engineers and builders to visualize their sites and speed up construction.

Topographical surveys are also used to determine the size, location and characteristics of natural features such as rivers, lakes and wetlands. Additionally, they can identify the position of both organic and man-made structures, including roads and buildings. This information is used to support applications for planning permission.