types of surveying

Types Of Surveying (A Comprehensive Classification)

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Surveying is a branch of engineering that deals with determining the relative position of different features on, above, or below ground level. Surveying deals with both measurements horizontal and vertical.

Classification Of Surveying Could Be Done In Two Ways

There are two basic types of surveying.

  1. Primary Classification Of Surveying
  2. Secondary Classification Of Surveying

Primary Classification Of Surveying

  • Plane Surveying

    Plane surveying is used for small projects and small areas. We know that the earth is oblate spheroid in shape and hence while doing measurements we should account this feature into consideration.
    But, for small projects, we can neglect the spherical shape of the earth. As the error is negligible, it is reasonable to employ plane surveying.

  • Geodetic Surveying

    It considers the curvature of the earth in calculation and measurement. This is used for making the map of counties, locating topographical features of the earth, etc. Geodetic surveying is conducted by The Survey Of India department and is used for an area of more than 250 square kilometers.
    Geodetic Surveying is also called trigonometric surveying.

Secondary classification

Based on Instruments

  1. Chain Surveying

    In chain surveying, only linear measurements are taken. Chain surveying uses ranging rods, chains, pegs, arrows, and tapes.

  2. Compass Surveying

    Compass surveying is done by either the surveyor’s compass or prismatic compass. It is used to take angular measurements.
    At present, there are two types of compass used widely in the field.
    1. Prismatic Compass and
    2. Surveyors Compass.

  3. Plane Table Surveying

    In the plane table surveying, data is directly plotted on the drawing sheet. It is a very quick method of plotting the drawings though less accurate.

  4. Theodolite Surveying

    Generally, theodolite surveying is used for traversing. There are two different types of theodolite available, first is transit type and the second is non-transit type theodolite. The accuracy of angular measurements is higher as compared with compass surveying.

  5. Tacheometric Surveying

    Tacheometry is the branch of surveying in which the linear measurements are calculated by taking angular measurements. Theodolites are used for this purpose.

  6. Photographic Surveying

    This type of survey used the preparation of maps with photographs taken from a plane or a drone. It is also called photogrammetry and is used for preparing topographic maps.

Based On Methods

  1. Triangulation Surveying
  2. Traverse Surveying

Classification Based On The Objective Of Surveying

  1. Geological Surveying
  2. Mine Surveying
  3. Archaeological Surveying

    It is to study the monuments. Archaeological survey gives details about ancient structures. 

  4. Military Surveying

Based On The Nature Of The Field

  1. Land Surveying

    Land surveying is further divided into the following classes.

    • Topographical Surveying – It is done to determine the natural features of the country
    • Cadastral Surveying – This is carried out to determine the boundaries of field, estate, house etc.
    • City Surveying – It is done to locate streets, water supply pipes network and sewage pipe network
    • Engineering Surveying – It is done to prepare map of project.
  2. Hydrographic survey

    It is related to determining the features of the surface of the ocean. Buoys and sounding poles are some of the basic instruments used in this survey.

  3. Astronomical Surveying

    It is related to locating the position of ground points based on the position of stars in the sun. Many times the astronomical survey is used as a verification method.

Read Also-

Plane Table Surveying – An Explainer

Basic Principles Of Surveying | Fundamental Civil Engineering

Highway Alignment And Its Requirements – A detailed study


What is the principle of Plane Table surveying?

Parallelism is the principle of plane table surveying.

How many types of traverse are in surveying?

There are two types of traverse, namely the Closed Traverse and the Open Traverse in surveying.

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