Surveying, abbreviated SURV, is the process of determining and recording the three-dimensional positions of angles, distances and points. The next step is to analyze the information to create a detailed map or legal document to be used for parcel maps and construction.
Nomenclature & Symbols
- Geodetic Survey - Takes into account the true shape of the earth. These surveys are highly precision and extend over large areas.
- Plane Survey - A surveying in which the mean surface of the earth is considered as a plane, or in which its spheroidal shape is neglected, with regard to horizontal distances and directions.
- ALTA Survey - A boundary survey that adheres to a set of minimum standards established by the American Land Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Maping.
- Astronomical Survey - Gathers astronomical data over some portions of the sky.
- Boundary Survey - Determines property lines and defines the true property corners on parcel maps of a land description.
- Cartographic Survey - Map making from origional surveys.
- Construction Survey - Used to establish the desired position of building corners, roads, sidewalks, and utilities.
- Engineering Survey - Surveys performed for the location, design, construction, maintenance and operation of engineering projects.
- Geological Survey - An examination of an area to determine the composition, distribution, history, and structure of rocks.
- GPS Satellite Survey - Uses a satellite-based navigation system which communicates with receivers on the ground, collects and calculates data.
- Hydrographic Survey - Measures and describes the physical features of the navigation position of the earth's surface and adjoining coastal areas.
- Land Survey - Establishes or restablishes property corners, boundaries, lines, and monuments of property.
- Marine Survey - A person who conducts inspections and examinations of marine vessels, appraisal, assets, cargo, damage, and insurance.
- Mining Survey - Helps find underground resources and potential mining locations.
- Right-of-way Survey - A right of passage to another person's land and property. A boundary survey depicting the limits of private ownership.
- Topographic Survey - Gatheres data regarding the elevation points on a piece of land, also includes natural and man-made elevations.
- Obtain existing deeds and property information
- Read and understand the property documents
- Prepare a base boundary plan
- Locate a known corner
- Do the field survey
- Prepare the existing conditions plan
- Resolve any boundary issues
- Obtain any other requied survey information
- Prepare the connstruction stake-out survey
- Prepare the as-built survey
- Boundary map
- Climate map
- Flood map
- Geographic map
- Historic maps
- Oceanography map
- Parcle map
- Plat map
- Property survey map
- Record of survey map
- Resources map
- Road map
- Right-of-way map
- Topographic map
- Weather map
- Zip code map
Nomenclature, Symbols, and Units
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Surveying Engineering GlossaRy
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- Accepted Survey - A survey accepted by the official having cadastral survey approval authority.
- Adjoiner - To owner of land which touches the land of another.
- Adjoining - To be in contact with, touching or contiguous.
- Altitude - The height of a vertical angle from the horizon.
- Angle - Two rays sharing a common point.
- Angle Point - A point in a survey where the alinement of boundary deflects from a straight line.
- Arc Definition - The degree of the curve (D) is the angle formed by two radii drawn from the center of the circle to the ends of the arc.
- Area Cross-section - A two-dimension plane slice of a three-dimension plane.
- Asbuilt Survey - A survey that is done after the completion of a construction project.
- Assumed Meridian - On certain types of localized surveys, it may not be necessary to establish a true, magnetic, or grid direction.
- Azimith - A line on the ground is its horizontal angle measured from the meridian to the line.
- Backsight - A sight on a previously established survey point.
- Back Tangent - The tangent back to the curve.
- Baseline - The east-west line that divides townships.
- Bearing - An angle in degrees measured clockwise from north.
- Beginning of Curve, See (BVC, PVC, PC) - The point at which a straight line begins to curve, the point tangency to the curve.
- Beginning of Vertical Curve, See (BC, PVC, PC) - The point at which a straight line begins to curve, the point tangency to the curve.
- Benchmark - A relatively fixed point whose coordinates and elevation datum are used for leveling and construction.
- Blaze - A mark made upon a tree trunk.
- Boundary Line - A line of demarcation between adjoining parcels of land.
- Boundary Monument - An object placed on or near a boundary line to preserve and identify the location of the boundary line.
- Boundary Survey - A mathematically closed diagram of the complete outside boundary of a site.
- Bounds - A general description of buildings, property, roads, and etc. used in legal documents.
- Branch - Small stream.
- Broken Boundary - A series of line segments representing a boundary which is not a straight line.
- Brook - Small stream.
- Bug - A magnetic locator to search for an iron pipe.
- Cadastral Survey - A survey that is carried out to describe boundaries and land ownership.
- Call - Any feature, landmark, or measurement called out in a survey.
- Capped Rebar - A rebar 18" long, 1/2" diameter, with a cap having the company name and license number stamped into it.
- Celestial Meridian - The largest circle of the celestial sphere passing through the celestial poles and an observer's zenith.
- Central Angle - The angle formed by two radii drawn from the center of the circle (0) to PC and PT.
- Chaining - The measuring a distance using a chain or tape.
- Chord - A line segment on the interior of a circle.
- Clay - Particles ranging in size from 0.002 mm and smaller.
- Closing Corner - A corner established where a survey line intersects a previous fixed boundary at a point between corners.
- Collapse Slump - The fresh concrete collapses completely.
- Compass - A magnetic compass has a magnetic needle that points north.
- Closed Joint - A joint that is invisible or barely visible between two adjacent slabs or stones.
- Compass Bearing - Uses magnetic north as a reference point.
- Concrete Monument Found - A permanent marker set by a land surveyor to reference controll points or property corners.
- Construction Survey - Surveying measurements made before or while the site is under construction.
- Contour Interval - The difference in elevation between adjacent contours as shown on a map.
- Contour Line - An imaginary line on the ground having all points on the same elevation.
- Contour Map - A map that illustrates relief by means of contour lines.
- Contours - Lines joining points of equal elevation as shown on a topographic map.
- Control Points - Fixed points of known coordinates.
- Coordinate System - A grid where the axes are apart 90 degrees.
- Coordinates - Two lines, latitude and longitude that intersect creating a point.
- Corner - The location of intersecting boundary lines.
- Cotton Spindle - A 6" to 8" spindle used where you would typically use an iron pipe or rebar as a momument.
- Creek - Small stream.
- Culvert - A pipe or tunnel that carrys a stream under a road or highway.
- Data Collector - A handheld electronic field notebook.
- Datum - An abstract coordinate system used to reference a known location.
- Decision Sight Distance - The distance for a motorist to decide.
- Declination - The difference between geographic north (true) and magnetic north.
- Deed - A document that transfers title to real property.
- Deep Well - A well that draws water from beneath an impermeable stratum.
- Deflection Angle - The angle between a tangent and the ends of the chords from the PC.
- Deflection Circular Curve - The deflection angle for a full circular angle measures from tangent at PC or PT.
- Degree of Curve - The flatness or shapeness of the curve.
- Easement - The legal right to use another persons personal property.
- Easement Survey - Prepared between parties to allow the use of part of an allotment.
- EDM - Electromagnetic Distance Measurement device.
- Egress - The right to go on the land of another.
- Elevation - A vertical distance up or down from a fixed point.
- Elevation Survey - Used to determine the elevation of a structure and it's relationship to the floorplan.
- Ellicott's Control Survey - The meridian northward from the point of beginning of the United States cadastral survey. A point established on August 20, 1785on the north bank of the Ohio River.
- Encroachment - An unlawful and adverse intrusion within the boundary of a property.
- Encrumbrance - Any right to or intrest in land which makes it subject to a change or liability.
- End of Curve, See (EVC, PVT, PT) - The point at which a curved line ends and the point tangency to the curve begins.
- End of Vertical Curve, See (EC, PVT, PT) - The point at which a curved line ends and the point tangency to the curve begins.
- Entry - An application to acquire title to public lands.
- Entry Allowed - An application to acquire title to public lands which has been approved, either as an origional entry or a final entry.
- Entryman - One who makes an entry of land under the public land laws of the United States.
- Erosion - The natural wearing away of the earth's surface by rainfall and surface runoff.
- Expert Witness - A person who testifies as what he has observed by sight, sound, etc.
- External Distance - The distance from the PI to the midpoint of the curve.
- Federal Land - All classes of land owned by the Federal Government.
- Fee Tail - An estimate limited to one class of heirs.
- Field Notes - A permanent record of field procedures and data collected in those procedures.
- Final Certificate - A document which evidences that an entryman is entitled to a patent provided that no irregularities are found in connection with his entry.
- Final Entry - When an application to acquire title to public lands has been filed in the proper manner and all the requirements of law and government regulations have been complied with.
- First Station - Point of beginning (POB)
- Found Corner - An existing corner on a public land survey found by a field survey.
- Furlong - A distance of 220 yards or 40 poles.
- Geodesy - The science and mathmatical calculations of the shape and size of the earth.
- Geodetic Survey - A percise survey that takes in long distances showing shape of the world.
- Geometry - A branch of mathematics that
- GIS Mapping, See (LIS) - Geographic Information System is used to locate items like utilities.
- Gore - A thin triangular piece of land.
- Grade - A rise or decline in elevation.
- Gradient - The rate of rise and fall.
- Grid - A group of parallel lines that run perpendicular to another group of parallel perpendicular lines.
- Grid Azimuth - Measured from grid north.
- Grid Bearing - The northwards direction along the grid lines of a map used as a reference point.
- Grid Distance - The distance between two points using mapping coordinates.
- Grid Meridian - In plane surveys it is convenient to perform the work in a rectangular XY coordinate system in which one central meridial concides with a true meridian.
- Grid North - The direction of the north-south grid lines on a state plane coordinate system.
- Grid Position - The grid coordinates of a point.
- Ground Distance - The horizontal distance with curvature between two ground points.
- Gunter's Chain - A distance of 66 feet or 4 poles.
- Half Section - Containing more or less 360 acres.
- Head - The source of a stream.
- Headwaters - The smallest streams that combine to make a larger stream.
- High Water - The maximum height reached by rising water.
- Horizontal - Parallel to a flat or level surface of the earth.
- Horizontal Distance - The distance horizontally between two points.
- Horizontal Line - A line extending left or right but not up or down.
- Horizontal Position - A point with horizontal coordinates only.
- Hydrography - Features including lakes, rivers, streams, swamps, and other water features.
- Ingress - The right to enter a tract of land.
- Intersecting Angle - The deflection angle at the PI.
- Intersection Sight Distance - The distance a motorist should be able to see other traffic in the intersection in order to enter safetly.
- Iron Pipe - A pipe 18" long, 3/4" outside diameter, with a plastic cap set inside having the company name and license number stamped into it.
- Junior Rights - Subordinate to the senior rights.
- Junior Survey - A survey made subsequent to an earlier survet.
- Laches - Failure to do something which should be done or to claim or enforce a right at a proper time.
- Landmark - A marker made on a permanent feature of the land like rocks, trees, etc.
- Land Court - A tribunal established for the purpose of administering legislative statutes relating to land boundaries and titles.
- Land District - The area administered by a particular land office.
- Land Office - A government office, subordinate to the General Land Office.
- Land Survey - The act of surveying to establish the correct property description or establish land boundaries.
- League - A marine measure of distance.
- Legend -
- Length of Curve (Horizontal) - The distance from PC to PT.
- Levee - Artificial embankment confining a channel, stream, or body of water.
- Leveling - Using a graduated rod to establish difference in heights of the terrain.
- Licensed/Land Surveyor # -
- LiDAR (Aerial Survey) - A survey using remote sensors of light reflected by lasers to measure distances.
- Limited Boundary - The boundary of lands actually surveyed.
- LIS Mapping, See (GIS) - Land Information System is used to locate items like utilities.
- Long Chord - The cord from PC to PT.
- Magnetic Bearing - The direction toward the magnetic north pole as a reference point.
- Magnetic Concrete Nail - Stamped on top of nail. Makes them easier to be found by metal detectors.
- Magnetic Meridian - Lies parallel with the magnetic lines of force of the earth.
- Magnetic North - The direction in which a magnetic needle of a compass points.
- Map - A representation of the earth's surface.
- Map Scale - A relationship between the distance on the map compared to the distance on the earth's surface.
- Meander - Meander of something. A line follows the twists and turns of a stream.
- Mean Sea Level - The average height of the surface of the sea.
- Merestone - A stone that marks a boundary.
- Meridian - Imaginary north-south lines converging at the north and south poles.
- Metes - A boundary defined by the measurement between terminal points of each straight run used in legal documents.
- Metes and Bounds - The boundary lines of land with angles and points used in legal documents.
- Middle Ordinate - The distance from the midpoint of the curve to the midpoint of the long chord.
- Minimum Building Setback - The minimum requirement for a building limits.
- Monument - A permanent marker set by a land surveyor to reference controll points or property corners.
- Mouth - A place where a stream enters another larger stream.
- Offset - Right angles to the survey line measured horizontal to locate a point off the line.
- Parcel - An area of land defined by measurement.
- Passing Sight Distance - The distance a motorist should be able to observe the trafic in order to pass safetly.
- Percolation & Soils Testing - A field test measuring the rate water moves through soil and helps evaluate the ability of the soil to absorb.
- Photogrammrtry Surveying (Aerial Survey) - A survey that takes photographs from elevated ground stations.
- Plane Coordinates - Coordinates that represent the location of points on a plane.
- Plane Survey - A survey in which the effect of the curvature of the earth is not relevant.
- Plat - A drawing that represents the survey area such as section corners, bearings and distances, parcel numbers, mineral rights, etc.
- Point of Beginning - In a survey it describe the point at which a meets and bounds description begins.
- Point of Circular Curve - The point at which a straight line begins to curve, the point tangency to the curve.
- Point of Compound Curvature - A point where curves of different radii meet.
- Point of Curve, See (BC, BVC, PVC) - The point at which a straight line begins to curve, the point tangency to the curve.
- Point of Ending - In a survey it description to describe the point at which a meets and bounds description ends.
- Point of Intersection, See (VPI, PVI) - The intersection of two tangent points or where two non-parallel lines intersect.
- Point of Reverse Curve - The point in an S-type compound curve where two curves of different polarity meet.
- Point of Tangent, See (EC, EVC, PVT) - The point at which a curved line ends and the point tangency to the curve begins.
- Point of Rangent Curve - The point at which a curve ends and a straight line begins.
- Point of Vertical Curve, See (BC, BVC, PC) - The point at which a straight line begins to curve, the point tangency to the curve.
- Point of Vertical Intersection, See (VPI, PI) - The intersection of two tangent points or where two non-parallel lines intersect.
- Point of Vertical Tangent, See (EC, EVC, PT) - The point at which a curved line ends and the point tangency to the curve begins.
- Point on Line - When the endpoint can not be seen from the transit.
- Prime Meridian - The initial or zero meridian of imaginary north-south lines converging at the north and south poles.
- Prime Vertical - The largest circle at right angles to the celestial meridian of imaginary east-west lines.
- Property Line - Defines the line where properties begin and end.
- Public Drainage Easement - Allows public utilities to acces a persons property to make any improvements to drainage as necessary.
- Pythagorean Theorem - The hypotenuse is the sum of the squares of the other two sides in a right triangle.
- Quarter Corner - A corner halfway between the corners of a section.
- Quarter Section - Containing more or less 160 acres.
- Radius of a Circular Curve - The circle of which the curve is an arc.
- Radius Point - All points are the same distance from the center.
- Rebar and Cap - A rebar 18" long, 1/2" diameter, with a cap having the company name and license number stamped into it.
- Right of Way - The legal right to cross the property of another person.
- River - large stream.
- Rodman - A person that holds the rod with an EDM.
- Section - Containing more or less 640 acres, a division of a township.
- Section Corner - A corner at the extreme section boundary.
- Silt - Particles ranging in size from 0.002 mm to 0.05 mm.
- Simple Circular Curve - Simple circular curve is a curve that does not cross itself.
- Site Plan - A prepared plan used to get approval to construct some type of structure on a piece of property.
- Slurry - The measurement of the height loss from a compacted cone of fresh concrete.
- Spring - A pool or other sourceof water that feeds a stream.
- State Plane Coordinate System - A coordinate systen having perpendicular lines going north to south and east to west. It is only used in the US.
- Stopping Sight Distance - The distance traveled by a vehical from the time it is observer to the time it comes to a stop.
- Subdivision Survey - This survey that is used to divide a parcel into smaller parcles.
- Survey - The field note record of measurements and observations of the work performed.
- Swamp - Wetlands that features permanent large areas of land with shallow bodies of water that include a large amount of trees.
- Tangent - A line that touches a curve at just one point such that it is perpendicular to a radius line of the curve.
- Tangent Distance - The distance along the tangents from PI to PC or PT.
- Thermal Expansion Coefficient - The percentage change in the length of the material per degree of temperature change, heated solid or liquid.
- Tie Line - A survey line that connects a point to other surveyed lines.
- Tie Point - The point where the survey connection is made.
- Topographical Map - A detailed map that represents graphically the earth's features.
- Topographical Survey - A survey to determine land structure along with the variation in land heights.
- Township - A quadrangle having sides approximatelly 6 miles in length with parallels and medians.
- Township Corner - A corner at the extreme township boundary that also falls on a section corner.
- Township Lines - Boundary lines that run north and south and stop at range lines.
- Traverse - A sequence of randomly located distance and angles between measured survey lines and points in order to locate something or set property corners.
- Triangulation - A survey using numerous triangles are inter-connected and overlapping to measure angles.
- True Bearing - The direction toward the geographic north pole as a reference point.
- True Meridian (Astronomical) - A plane passing through a point on the surface of the earth and containing the earth's axis of rotation.
- True North - A direction parallel to the earth's axis pointing to the north pole.
- Turn Angle - Using an instrument to measure or set an angle.
- Turning Points - Temporary points of a known elevation.
- Unsurveyed Lands - Lands not yet surveyed.
- Upland - Ground elevated above the lowlands along rivers.
- U.S Survey - A metes and bounds survey excuted to comply with one of various regulations for entry of public lands.
- Vertical Point of Curve - The point at which a straight line begins to curve, the point tangency to the curve.
- Vertical Point of Intersection, See (PVI, PI) - The intersection of two tangent points or where two non-parallel lines intersect.
- Warrant - A promise that a statement is true.
- Water Course - A visible channel for water such as a channel, ditch, streambed, or etc.
- Way - A road, street or other passage.
- Wildlife Refuge - A reserve for the protection of wildlife.
- Witness Corner - When a property corner can not be set at a corner, a witness corner is set, usually on the line at a measured distance.
- Witness Tree - A tree close to a section corner used as a reference to the section corner normally on public lands.
- X - A latitude or distance along the east-west axis in a coordinate system.
- Y - A latitude or distance along the north-south axis in a coordinate system.
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Tags: Equations for Surveying