Application of surveying in civil engineering – Principle and Importance

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There is a huge application of surveying in civil engineering. There is no point in expecting the work of construction to be well managed and safe without surveying. The first step for civil engineers to do for any design and construction is surveying.

The survey provides the whole background and clearance about how, when, and where constructional work to be done in a safe, efficient, and economical manner. I have provided almost all the applications of surveying below.

What is Surveying?

Surveying is a process of determining, analyzing, and recording a point on, above, or beneath the surface of the Earth. This can be done directly or indirectly by measuring distance, direction, and elevation.

Surveyors work with the elements such as.

  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Regression analysis
  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Meteorology
  • Programming languages, and
  • Law and many others.

Surveyors use equipment like Total Station, Theodolite, 3-D scanners, Digital levels, Drones, GIS, and other surveying software for different purposes.

Application of surveying in civil engineering

There are various areas where surveying comes in handy. Some of them are presented below:

  • Surveying is in the preparation of topographical maps which includes hills, valleys, villages, towns, forest, and many others.
Application of surveying in civil engineering - Principle and Importance
Topographical maps
  • Surveying is also used for preparing an engineering map in which engineering works are shown in detail such as roads, railways, bridges, irrigation canals, dams, and so on.
Application of surveying in civil engineering - Principle and Importance
Engineering map
  • Surveying is used to prepare cadastral maps that show the boundaries of the land, houses, and other properties.
  • Surveying is used to prepare the military maps which show roads, railways, and communications with different parts of a country.
Military maps
  • It is used to prepare contour maps which help to determine the capacity of the reservoir, to find the best possible transportation routes and so on.
  • It is used to prepare geological maps showing areas of natural resources.
Application of surveying in civil engineering - Principle and Importance
Geological maps
  • It is also used in preparing archaeological maps showing ancient places and design aesthetical, religious, and residential structures.
  • It is also used for preparing political maps to catch the weakest and strong parts of the boundaries, as well as ways to show territories of different countries.
Political maps
  • It helps to plan and execute engineering projects like bridges, buildings, irrigation canal, and so on. This field uses highest application of surveying in civil engineering.
  • It helps to set out and transfer details from map to realistic view to ground.

Beside this further there are many application of surveying in civil engineering in the field of medical and air ways etc.

Types of Surveying/Classification of Surveying

Generally, survey is classified into two types:

Primary Classification

  1. Geodetic survey: This is a type of survey done in an area of more than 250 square km with considering the curvature of the Earth.
  2. Plane survey: This is a type of survey done in an area of less than 250 square km without considering the curvature of the Earth.

Secondary Classification

This is further classified into different types as mentioned below.

Classification based on instrument used

  • Tape survey/Chain survey: This type of survey makes use of tape or chain for taking measurements.
  • Compass survey: It is a branch of the survey in which compass is used for angular measurement and tape is used for linear measurement.
  • Theodolite survey: This type of survey makes use of theodolite to perform measurements.
  • Tachometry survey: In this type of survey, a tachometer is used for observation and the use of tape is completely eliminated for linear measurement.
  • Total station survey: In this type of survey, the total station is used for taking an observation.

Classification based on method

  • Traversing: This is the basic detailed survey done in a full area like college premises.
  • Triangulation: This type of survey is used when high accuracy is needed. It is done by making numerous triangles that interconnect and overlaps with each other to measure the angle. It is one in specific structures like a bridge.

Classification based on object

  • Engineering survey: This type of survey is done by an engineer to plan and execute certain development, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of different projects.
  • Military survey: Military surveys are done to provide maps to the Army, Navy, and Air force.
  • Geological survey: This type of survey is done beneath the surface of the Earth. The purpose of such a survey is to prepare geological maps or models.
  • Mine survey: Mine survey is a survey done to prepare a map that can be made use while mining which will help to protect the lives of miners.

Classification based on nature of field

Land survey

  • Topographical survey: This type of survey is carried out on land to determine its structure along with variation in heights.
  • City survey: This type of survey is carried out in cities and towns which include roads, rivers, buildings, bridges, and so on.
  • Cadastral survey: This type of survey is carried out to define land ownership and boundaries.

Hydrographic survey:

This type of survey is conducted in water to determine different aspects needed for the construction of certain structures.

Principles of surveying

  • Working from whole to part
  • Fixing a point in reference of two points
  • Accuracy of work
  • Consistency and economy of work

Importance of Surveying

Surveying is a great method that helps us to collect the information. It is the main tool for conducting research in many scientific disciplines. Surveying is the first step that needs to be done before launching a new product or project.

It is necessary for each and every planning and execution of construction. Various fields such as transport, communication, industrial, aircraft mapping make use of surveying. The identification of legal boundaries for land ownership is also done with the help of surveying.

I hope this article on “Application of surveying in civil engineering” remains helpful for you.

Happy Learning – Civil Concept

Contributed by,

Civil Engineer – Sushmita Niraula

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