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Surveying is concerned with the accurate measurement and position of points on the Earth's surface, and to the establishment of boundaries. It basically achieves this by measuring the relative horizontal and vertical position of points on the ground, aided by a theodolite or a similar optical instrument.

Surveying has been an essential element in the development of the human environment since the beginning of recorded history and it is a requirement in the planning and execution of nearly every form of construction. Its most familiar modern uses are in the fields of transportation, building, apportionment of land, and communications, all of which depend on surveying's more fundamental functions of measuring the earth and boundaries upon it.

Table of contents
1 Origins
2 Types of surveys
3 Modern surveying
4 Surveying as a career
5 See also
6 Famous surveyors
7 External links


Surveying can be traced back even before the Egyptians, who, every year after the Nile River overflowed its banks and washed out farm boundaries, would re-establish the boundaries by surveying. The nearly perfect squareness and north–south orientation of the Great Pyramid of Giza, built c. 2700 BC, affirm the ancient Egyptians' command of surveying.

Types of surveys

Modern surveying

Modern surveying utilizes an instrument called a total station, a small telescope equipped with an electronic distance-measuring device and set up on a tripod, although the modern use of satellite positioning systems, such as GPS, is also well established.

Surveying as a career

Surveying has changed little over the ages but the tools used by surveyors have evolved tremendously. Engineering, especially civil engineering depends heavily on the surveyor. Whenever there are roads, dams, retaining walls, bridges or residential areas to be built, surveyors show the way. They determine the boundaries of private property and the boundaries of various political divisions. They also provide advice and data for geographical information systems (GIS), computer databases that contain data on land features and boundaries.

Surveyors must have a thorough knowledge of algebra, basic calculus, geometry, and trigonometry. They must also know the laws that deal with surveys, property, and contracts. In addition, they must be able to use delicate instruments with accuracy and precision.

See also

Famous surveyors

External links