Mention surveying to most people and they’ll likely picture a solitary figure bent over a tripod, fiddling with a mysterious gadget while the chaos of the world roars around him. Understanding what a surveyor does is one thing—for the most part, the concept of determining the lay of the land is straightforward enough. But the question of how a land survey is conducted is quite a bit more difficult to answer, particularly if you have zero understanding of the equipment used in land surveys in Floresville, TX.
Fortunately, a basic understanding of how surveying works can be gleaned from learning a little bit about the most common equipment used in the industry. While dozens of instruments may be used by surveyors in their work, here are some of the primary tools, along with brief descriptions of their functions:
- Theodolite: This is a telescope used for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. Among their many uses, theodolites are commonly used in civil engineering, especially on road and tunnel projects. Their design allows for extremely precise measurements.
- Total station: A theodolite is often incorporated into what is called a total station, which combines the theodolite with an electronic distance meter. This allows the surveyor to measure slope distance from the total station to another specific spot. Typically, a total station will be used in conjunction with additional technologies like mapping software, rendering it an indispensable tool for surveyors. One of the other great advantages of total stations is that they allow one person to do a job that would once have required multiple workers.
- Level and rod: A level is used to gauge points along a horizontal plane. A variety of levels might be used by surveyors depending on the circumstances, but the gold standard now incorporates digital technology, which allows for more accurate readings and eliminates the possibility of human error. The rod is what is actually read during the leveling process.
- GPS: Surveying was actually one of the first commercial industries to make use of GPS technology, and is very useful as a means of eliminating some of the more labor-intensive aspects of surveying. Especially for larger surveying projects, the use of GPS can help ensure greater accuracy as well as complete surveying jobs more efficiently. However, due to its cost and its occasional lack of utility—taller buildings and trees, for instance, can obscure the signal—GPS hasn’t rendered other equipment obsolete. Many total stations incorporate GPS technology.
These are just some of the many tools in a surveyor’s toolbox. In the more than 30 years that Pollok & Sons Surveying Inc. has been conducting land surveys in Floresville, TX, we’ve seen remarkable developments in the technology at our disposal. Even if the information we get from our tools is the same sort of information we’ve always gotten, the level of detail and accuracy available today is so much greater than we could have imagined when we started out. If you ever have questions about the way our equipment works, we’re happy to educate you!