Plane and Geodetic Surveying

Plane and Geodetic Surveying

More than almost any other engineering discipline, surveying is a practical, hands-on
skill. It is impossible to become an expert surveyor, or even a competent one, without
using real surveying instruments and processing real data. On the other hand, it is
undoubtedly possible to become a very useful surveyor without ever reading anything
more theoretical than the instrument manufacturers’ operating instructions.
What, then, is the purpose of this book?
A second characteristic of surveying is that it involves much higher orders of accuracy
than most other engineering disciplines. Points must often be set out to an accuracy of 5
mm with respect to other points, which may be more than 1 km away. Achieving this
level of accuracy requires not only high-quality instruments, but also a meticulous
approach to gathering and processing the necessary data. Errors and mistakes which are
minute by normal engineering standards can lead to results which are catastrophic in the
context of surveying.

Engineering works such as buildings, bridges, roads, pipelines and tunnels require very
precise dimensional control during their construction. Buildings must be vertical, long
tunnels must end at the correct place and foundations must often be constructed in
advance to accommodate prefabricated structural sections. To achieve this, surveyors are
required to determine the relative positions of fixed points to high accuracy and also to
establish physical markers at (or very close to) predetermined locations. These tasks are
achieved using networks of so-called control points; this book aims to give the civil
engineering surveyor all the necessary theoretical knowledge to set up, manage and use
such networks, for the construction and monitoring of large or small engineering works.
The tools of the engineering surveyor have changed significantly in recent years. Most
notably, GPS is now the simplest and most accurate way of finding the position of any
point on the surface of the earth or (more importantly) the relative positions of two or

more points.


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