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Technological University of the Philippines

Ayala Blvd., Ermita, Manila

College of Engineering

Civil Engineering Department


Elementary and Higher Surveying

Assignment No. 1

Introduction to Elementary and Higher Surveying

Abayon, Juvin J.


November 25, 2013

Engr. Jesus Ray M. Mansayon


Various definitions had been established for surveying, and some are those presented below.

 According to Grolier’s Encyclopedia of Knowledge, “Surveying is the practice of

determining large dimensions with a high degree of accuracy, either to measure existing
relationships (preliminary surveying) or to provide the means to build according to
designers’ plans (construction stakeout).”

 According to the 2012 Edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Surveying is the art of
applied mathematics which teaches the art of determining the area of any portion of the
Earth’s surface, the lengths and directions of the boundary lines, the contour of the surface,
and of accurately delineating the whole on paper.”

 According to Rayner and Schmidt, “Surveying is the art of determining the positions of
points on or near the Earth’s surface, by mans of measurements in the three elements of
space, namely, distance, direction and elevation.”

 According to Anderson, Davis, Foote, and Mikhail, “Surveying is the art of measuring
horizontal and vertical distances between objects, of measuring angles between lines, of
determining the direction of lines, and of establishing points by predetermined angular and
linear measurements.”

 According to Clarke, “Surveying is the art of making such measurements of the relative
positions of points on the surface of the earth that, drawing them to scale, natural and
artificial features may be exhibited in their horizontal or vertical relationships.”

 According to Bone, Breed, and Hosmer, “Surveying is the science or art of making such
measurements as are necessary to determine the relative position of points above on, or
beneath the surface of the Earth, or to establish such points.”

However, the growth of the complexity and usage of classical surveying methods is
exponential so as to meet the demands of the changing world, from the reestablishment of the
obliterated boundary marks and the construction of pyramids of the ancient Egyptians, to its
applications to space exploration. Whence, it is indeed customary to revise the definition of
surveying with respect to the contemporary world.
 According to La Putt, “Surveying is the art and science of determining angular and linear
measurements to establish the form, extent, and relative position of points, lines, and areas
on or near the surface of the Earth or on extraterrestrial bodies through applied mathematics
and the use of specialized equipment and techniques.”


The history of land surveying is very interesting and diverse and it is in fact one of the
oldest professions in the world.
 About Land Surveying
The history of land surveying dates back thousands of years and forms of land surveying
have been around since ancient man in all major civilizations across the globe.
Ownership of land has and still is a very significant part of the lives of everyone in the
world. Whether it was finding out which tribe owned which forest or the boundaries of major cities,
the history of land surveying is incredibly interesting.

 Where did the History of Land Surveying Begin?

The first examples in the history of land surveying date back to the ancient Egyptians
during the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza in 2700 BC. There is evidence of the Egyptians
using basic geometry to redraw boundary lines when the Nile overflowed its banks.
The Romans were the next civilization to advance on the initial land surveying techniques
of the Egyptians. Historical evidence shows that the Roman Empire was the first civilization to
employ an official land surveyor within their Empire. They used simple tools to create straight lines
and angles. The land surveyors had a range of jobs in the Empire and some of their work is still
evident today.
The Domesday Book, created by William the Conquerer in 1086 in England is another early
example of the history of land surveying. The amount of information about the land was very
impressive for the time, however the quality of land surveying was very poor and accuracy was
Possibly one of the best known characters in land surveying history was Napoleon
Bonaparte – who was very enthusiastic about accurate land surveying. He always ensured that he had
very precise maps, which were obviously very important when he was trying to conquer the world.
He had maps produced that were drawn down to scale both at 1:2500 and 1:1250. The cadastres he
had were used widely and spread quickly, however problems were encountered in built-up areas
where things changed quite rapidly.
 History of Land Surveying Techniques
As new technology and theories have become available, the techniques and methods used in
land surveying have evolved.
Hundreds of years ago land surveyors would use all sorts of means for measuring distances
– such as using chains with links that have a certain known length for example. Additionally land
surveyors have to measure horizontal angles which in most cases was done using some form of
compass. The quality and accuracy of compasses have increased as time has gone by.
In the past land surveying results were a lot less accurate – not due to the inabilities of the
land surveyors themselves – but due to the inaccuracy of the tools that they had access to.
These days land surveyors have access to much more accurate tools such as GPS (global positioning
 Modern Land Surveying
As time has gone by, land surveying tools and techniques has advanced and the role of land
surveyors is much broader than it was in the past. Below we shall look at how the history of land
surveying has evolved into modern land surveying.
Although the fundamentals of land surveying haven’t changed, and the purpose is still the
same – the techniques and methods have evolved drastically since the beginning of the history of
land surveying.
One of the key changes in land surveying is the accuracy of the tools that are available to
land surveyors. While in the past (up until the early 1900’s) most land surveyors had access to little
more than a level, tape measure and a theodolite – modern land surveyors have access to some of the
most advanced tools in the world.
Total Stations are very commonly used in modern land surveying. These include an EDM
(electronic distance measurement device) which allows for more precise land surveying.


 Plane Surveying – the type of surveying for which the exact shape of the Earth is
disregarded; that is, the Earth is considered to be a flat surface, all distances and areas are of
limited extent, a level line is considered mathematically straight, the direction of the plumb
line is assumed to be the same for all points, and all angles are considered plane angles.

Plane surveying is of wide scope and application, for which various methods are
being employed in engineering, architectural, scientific, commercial, geographical, navigational and
explanatory works.

 Geodetic Survey – the type of survey that accounts for the spheroidal shape of the Earth.
Such surveys employ the principles of geodesy, are of high precision, and the related
calculations involve the solving of equations derived from the calculus, spherical
trigonometry, and the theory of least squares. The latter is a consequence of the concepts of
analytic geometry and/or the calculus.


The planning and design of all Civil Engineering projects such as construction of highways,
bridges, tunnels, dams, etc. are based upon surveying measurements.
Moreover, during execution, project of any magnitude is constructed along the lines and
points established by surveying.
Whence, surveying is a basic requirement for all Civil Engineering projects.
Other principal works in which surveying is primarily utilized are the following:
 To fix the national and state boundaries.
 To chart coastline, navigable streams and lakes.
 To establish control points.
 To execute hydrographic and oceanographic charting and mapping.
 To prepare topographic map of the surface of the Earth.

Several hundreds of types of surveys have been established to suit the needs of a specific
kind of work. However, majorities of such classifications are the derivatives of the general ones.
Whence, the host of the general types only are shown below.

 Cadastral Surveys – usually closed surveys which are undertaken in urban and rural
locations for the purpose of determining and defining property lines and boundaries,
corners, and areas. These surveys are also made to fix the boundaries of municipalities,
towns, and provincial jurisdictions.

 City Surveys – surveys of the areas in and near a city for the purpose of planning
expansions or improvements, locating property lines, fixing reference monuments,
determining the physical features and configuration of the land, and preparing maps.

 Construction Surveys – surveys which are undertaken at a construction site to provide data
regarding grades, reference lines, dimensions, ground configuration, and the location and
elevation of structures which are of concern to engineers, architects, and builders.

 Forestry Surveys – type of survey executed in connection with forest management and
mensuration, and the production and conservation of forest lands.

 Hydrographic Surveys – refer to surveying streams, lakes, reservoirs, harbours, oceans, and
other bodies of waters. These surveys are made to map shore lines, chart the shape of areas
underlying water surfaces, and measure the flow of streams. They are of general importance
of in connection with navigations, development of water supply and resources, flood
control, irrigation, production of hydroelectric power, subaqueous constructions and

 Industrial Surveys – sometimes known as optical tooling. It refers to the use of surveying
techniques in ship building, construction and assembly of aircraft, layout and installation of
heavy and complex machinery, and in other industries where very accurate dimensional
layouts are required.

 Mine Surveys – surveys which are performed to determine the position of all underground
excavations and surface mine structures, to fix surface boundaries of mining claims,
determine geological formations, to calculate excavated volumes, and establish lines and
grades of other related mining work.
 Photogrammetric Surveying – a type of survey which makes use of photographs taken with
specially designed cameras either from airplanes or ground stations. Measurements are
obtained from the photographs which are used in conjunction with limited ground surveys.

 Route Surveys – involves the determination of alignment, grades, and earthwork quantities,
location of natural and artificial objects in connection with the planning, design, and
construction of highways, railroads, pipelines, canals, transmission lines, and other linear

 Topographic Surveys – those surveys made for determining the shape of the ground, and the
location and elevation of natural and artificial features upon it. The figures shown include
such natural objects as hills, mountains, rivers, lakes, relief of the ground surface, etc; and
works of man, such as roads, buildings,, ports, towns, municipalities, and bridges.


Surveying is not only limited to engineering students, but also in certain types of work
related to construction and topographic charting. It is widely employed to other areas, whence would
be convenient to cite some of them.

 Commercial Agency Surveyor - provides professional expertise in the valuation,

management, letting and sale of commercial property, eg shops and offices.

 Valuation Surveyor – provides professional expertise in valuations, acquisitions, disposals,

investments and rent reviews for all types of property.

 Residential Agency Surveyor – provides professional expertise in the valuation,

management, letting and sale of residential property.

 Property & Facilities Management Surveyor – provides professional management services

for residential and commercial multi-unit developments and facilities

 Quantity Surveyor – advises on the costs of developing all types of buildings and

 Building Surveyor – carries out building surveys, identifying defects and solutions, and
provides management and design consultancy services.

 Project Management Surveyor – manages complex building and infrastructural projects.

 Rural Surveyor – values, manages and sells agricultural land including forestry.

 Planning & Development Surveyor – manages the proposals to develop new or refurbish
existing buildings

 Arts & Antiques Surveyor - provides professional expertise in the valuation, and sale of arts
and antiques.
 Geomatics Surveyor - maps the built and natural environment to provide accurate spatial
data which facilitates planning, development and conservation.

 Minerals Surveyor – provides expertise in the full life cycle of mineral development.


Elementary Surveying, 3rd ed. by Juny Pilapil La Putt, pp. 5-7.

Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge, Vol. 18, pp. 43-45.

Applications/Soft wares

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2012 ed.