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There are variety of survey & mapping techniques to be learned by a civil engineer.
Though; some of these survey and mapping techniques are already known to a civil
engineer. However it is necessary to understand how different authors explained these
techniques, because the survey & mapping techniques are always subject to refinement
during the course of development & planning. Therefore let us look at different authors
how they perceived the issue of survey & mapping.
At first let us discuss what Mr. John RatCliffe, defined about survey preparation &
techniques of analysis in his book An Introduction to Town & country planning. He
says that; In order understand the society, for which planning is to be done, to identify
the nexus of needs & problems, to have comprehensive understanding of city elements &
their effect upon each other, to formulate policies & choose between them or adjust them
in practice; a town planner must be equipped with variety of tools & techniques. Because
the planning is based upon knowledge; the knowledge depends upon information &
information depends upon survey. Now the survey of many components from the built
and natural environment is the main concern in this respect. Here the big question is
that, what are those many components for which the survey is required? According to Mr.
RatCliffe; at first we survey about physical characteristics, then utilities, then population,
then employment, then housing, then shopping, then education, then leisure & recreation,
then movement & management, & finally for evaluation. In this way he defined eleven
types of surveys. Now the big question is that, what are the available sources of
information to carry out these surveys? Ideally the first hand information should be
collected by specifically designed survey forms related to specific problems in a precise
time. However due to ever existing constraints of time & money this is not always
So what do we do in such situation?
In that case the researchers, the student concerned with thesis or project work are usually
compelled to depend on existing sources of information. The existing sources of
information are mostly, published statistics by the government institutions. There are also
other information database such as individual researches & surveys carried out by some
non governmental institutions. Now the information sources are various, such as each
state department & ministry has the facts & figures. Then there is census of population,
housing statistics. The department of trade & industry will have census of distribution &
census of production.
Then there are different library sources, currently there is internet. Then there are
professional journals & researches, business & economic reviews. Then there are

different resource centers available such as Urban Resource Center (URC) in Karachi.
Finally there are some international institutions which keep the records and statistics of
major countries and their urban centers. These include United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), World Band for Development, Asian Development Bank & other
United Nation institutions.
Mr. G K Hiraskar defined in his book Town planning that; Survey means collection of
data & information through site visit & personal observations. Similarly there is a
principle developed by Sir Patrick Geddes (one of the pioneer of modern town planning)
that always survey before plan. The survey leads us to information or knowledge which
is used by all planners to prepare a mind map of the region before drawing a plan of
town. The collected data & information through survey is analyzed & presented in the
form maps, charts, tables & models. At present there emerged digital maps, aerial
photography & computerized models of surveys which have enhanced the understanding
of planners with accurate information of the site. However there are certain ground
realities which can only be understood through personal site visit by the planners. This
survey of site before planning is also known as diagnosis before the treatment or
diagnosis approach of planners that lead them to make correct decisions about the city.
Types of Survey:
Mr. G. K. Hiraskar also classified surveys in four broad types.
i) Towner city survey
ii) Regional survey
iii) National survey
iv) Civic survey
Town Surveys:
These surveys are conducted to prepare a base map for the Town planning scheme.
Basically these surveys are of three types; i.e.
i) Physical survey
ii) Social survey and
iii) Economic survey
Physical survey:
These are conducted in two ways i.e. through land survey and aerial survey. In physical
survey four types of information or data are collected.
i) Natural Features survey i.e. location in respect to existing towns & region, topography
& soil conditions, climatology etc.
ii) Land Use survey i.e. use of land for residential, commercial, or social purposes, public
& semi public spaces, open spaces, transportation networks, agriculture, water elements,
vacant lands & other uses.
iii) Building Conditions survey i.e. buildings are in very good, good, poor, or in bad

iv) Communications survey i.e. highways, roads and its network & railway junctions and
its network, availability of parking facilities in the city, origin & destination (O&D)
survey, accidents survey; and future trends of traffic surveys etc.
Social survey:
These are of three kinds, i.e. I) Population II) Housing and III) Community Facilities
i) Population: Trends in population growth for last 50 years, present population
characteristics, future population growth by considering survival, urban Migration &
development of new industries. Demographic survey i.e. classification of population &
town density.
ii) Housing: Housing stock, per annum need, current housing conditions, accommodation
density, building height, material use & tenancy status, rented or owned.
iii) Community facilities: Education, health & recreation
Economic survey:
Occupational conditions, survey of industries, survey of commerce, financial position of
local authorities, utility services.
Regional survey:
The larger scale surveys carried out in different town & villages to obtain general
information about their physical, economic & social conditions is termed as regional
survey. These regional investigations are carried out to develop whole region in a
coherent manner. These include regional transport, highways & regional water supply
National survey:
This survey is conducted at national level which includes different regions. This survey is
conducted to obtain information about, natural resources, potential for locating industries,
fixing railways alignment, hydroelectric works etc.
Civic survey or Socio-Economic survey:
This is local level small scale survey conducted for redevelopment scheme, slum
improvement scheme and master plan development. The socio-economic survey is the
foundation stone of planning structure. Because it is the detailed house to house survey
which helps a town planner to diagnose the core problems & issues to develop its
remedies through planning. There are eleven types of aspect covered in socio-economic
i) Physical Features:
ii) Communication:
iii) Traffic Problems:
iv) Open Spaces:
v) Industrial Survey:
vi) Housing Survey:
vii) Population:
viii) Health Conditions:
ix) Landscape Survey:

x) Land-cultivation:
xi) Public Services:
The socioeconomic survey is the key survey and foundation stone of Town Planning, in
which a Town is divided into union councils or wards & blocks, and then each block
further subdivided into streets and each street has number of houses. This survey is
conducted through a survey Performa or questionnaire. The sample Performa for
socioeconomic survey is as follows:
i) Surveyors name: ____________
ii) Supervisors name:___________
iii) Ward number: _____________
iv) Block number: _____________
v) Street number: ____________
vi) Unit number: _____________
vii) Date of survey: ___________
There are five issues addressed in a socio-economic survey:
i) Housing condition:
House Number: _____________
Address: __________________
House Conditions:
Poor _________
Good _________
Very Good _____
Number of Floors: ___________
Age of house: _______________
Plot area: __________________
Tenancy Status:
Rented ______
Owned ______
Rent per month ________
ii) Family Structure:
Total family members: __ Male __ Female __
Literacy of Male & Female: _____________
Marital status: ______________________
School going children __________
College going children __________
Age groups:
5 & below____
5-10 _______
10-25 ______
25-50 ______

50 & above ___

iii) Economic characteristics:
Total number of Earning Members _____
Occupations _______________
Monthly Income_____________
Expenditure ________________
Savings ___________________
Mode of Transport ___________
iv) Community Facilities:
Nurseries ______
Primary Schools _______
Secondary Schools _______
College ______
Shopping Center _________
Park and Open Space _________
Club Theaters _________
Religious Building _________
Post Office _________
Police Station _________
Dispensary ___________
Clinic ___________
Hospital _________
Any Other _________
(In each category find out the Distance from Residence)
v) Utility Services:
Water Supply _____
Electricity _____
Gas _____
Telephone _____
Water Closet ______
(In each category find out the type of connection as Legal, Illegal, Private, Public etc)
Remarks: ____________________