Topographic Surveys: Everything you need to know

What is a topographic survey?

A topographic survey is a type of map that shows the elevation of features on the earth’s surface. These surveys are used to create maps of the earth’s surface that can be used for navigation, engineering, and land management purposes.

Topographic surveys require information to be collected from topographical features. This topographical information is accomplished by measuring angles in the field or using electronic distance measurement equipment. Usually, topography data is collected at regular intervals across a piece of land to create topographic maps.

What are topographic surveys used for?

One of the primary purposes of topographic surveys is to map out the features of a particular area of land. This includes everything from the contours of the terrain to the location of water bodies and man-made structures. By mapping out these features, topographic surveys help planners and engineers create accurate plans and designs for land projects.

For example, topographic surveys can be used to determine the best location for a new building or road. They can also help engineers figure out how to minimise the effects of erosion on a particular stretch of land. Additionally, topographic surveys can be used to track changes in land use over time, which can be helpful for studying the effects of climate change, among other things.

How are topographic surveys created?

Topographic surveys are created with topographic maps. A topographic map is made using aerial photography to show the topography of an area through contour lines, spot heights, and special symbols that represent artificial structures like buildings or roads.

The topography of a landscape is not always easily read, so topographic surveys are created to make it easier to understand. Topographic surveys are also used to measure the height of objects in an area and calculate the slopes of hills and valleys.

What equipment do you need for a topographical survey?

To capture all of the required data, you will need specialised equipment. An essential piece of equipment is the Total Station, used to measure the distances and angles between points on the landscape. You will also need a GPS receiver to record the coordinates of the points.

Additionally, topographical surveys usually require professional computer software to create 3D BIM models from all of the topographical data collected. This can be used to

create a topographic map and provide information about how high or low different parts of the landscape are relative to each other.

With the right equipment and software, you can conduct a topographical survey to create a detailed map of your surroundings. This can be handy for various purposes, from planning construction projects to exploring the natural landscape.

Who would request a topographical survey?

One of the most common reasons for a topographical survey is to determine the feasibility of a construction project and to plan its execution. As such, construction professionals who would ask for a topographical survey include civil engineers, architects, and construction managers. The survey can help them understand the site conditions and identify topographical features that could affect what is built on top of it.

When do you carry out a topographical survey?

Some topographical surveys are done before the construction starts to map out the area and identify topographical features that should be considered during construction. More detailed topographic surveys are done after the start of a project to update topographical information, especially when significant changes have been made since the planning stage.

In topographical surveys conducted before starting a construction project, engineers and architects might want to know if any topographical features could cause problems during construction, such as a steep slope or a large drainage area. With this information, they can decide whether it is better to avoid building on top of these topographical features or find a way to work around them.

In topographical surveys conducted after the start of a construction project, engineers and architects might want to know if the topography has changed since the planning stage. Changes in topography can happen when natural features are affected by the construction process or when artificial features are built. For example, after building a road on top of the landscape, the topography may differ due to new drainage patterns. These topographical changes can affect how well the construction is carried out and its effects on the surrounding environment.

Because topographical surveys help engineers and architects understand topographical features like slopes and drainage areas, topographic maps created from topographical surveys are also used to determine if construction is safe, what the topographical impact of a project will be, and how it can affect the topography of an area. This information helps civil engineers make informed decisions about which construction projects are feasible and how they should be carried out.

Looking beyond traditional survey & measurement techniques, TruMetric offers our clients the benefits of using the latest technology. As well as Topographic Surveys, we can also provide Measured Building Surveys, 3D Laser Scanning, Drone Surveys, Title & Boundary

Plans, Area Referencing, Construction Verification Surveys, Progress Monitoring Surveys, Heritage Surveys, and Rights To Light.