How Does a Topographical Survey Help with Land Use Planning?

How Does a Topographical Survey Help with Land Use Planning?

From land development to real estate and engineering to construction, topographical surveys play a vital role in several different industries. Also referred to as topo surveys, these detailed maps highlight both the natural features and man-made features of a plot of land. Topo surveys convey crucial details that impact both planning and design and even the natural habitat of a piece of land. Are you developing a piece of land? Read on to find out how a topographical survey will help with your planning.

How Does a Topographical Survey Help with Land Use Planning?

What is a Topographical Survey?

Topographical surveys are detailed maps that highlight both the natural features and man-made features and elements of a piece of land. Examples of features and elements that a topo survey shows include contours, elevations, bodies of water, plant matter, buildings, parking lots, etc. Specific symbols are used to illustrate these naturally-occurring and man-made features.

What Features Are Included in a Topographical Survey?

Topographical surveys are used to pinpoint the exact location of the features that a plot of land contains. Examples of features that are included in a topographical survey vary and depend on the specific nature of the land; however, the following are just a few examples of elements that these maps can contain:

  • Trees
  • Shrubs and bushes
  • Rocks
  • Lakes
  • Streams
  • Ponds
  • Pools
  • Buildings
  • Roadways and pathways
  • Parking lots

In addition, a topographical survey will also use contour lines to highlight the elevations of these features and the slope of the land. A detailed map that indicates the specific locations and details of all of the features that have been surveyed is usually included.

What is the Purpose of a Topographical Survey?

As stated, the primary goal of a topo survey is to create a highly detailed map that illustrates the features, elevations, and slopes of a plot of land. The information presented on a topographical map is vital for both planning and design purposes. This information also helps provide an understanding of the land’s naturally-occurring environment. The survey is used to generate a foundational map, so to speak, of the plot of land that can be used for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Land and real estate development
  • Planning the layout and design of structures and buildings
  • Construction projects
  • Natural environment studies
  • Management of natural resources
  • Planning for military and emergency purposes

How a Topographical Survey Helps with Land Use Planning

Now that you have a basic understanding of topographical surveys, what they feature, and the purpose they serve, let’s examine the important role these detailed maps play in land use planning.

Assessment of Land and Terrain Features

A topo survey features detailed information about the terrain and naturally-occurring and man-made features that a plot of land contains. For example, Valleys, hills, rivers, streams, ponds, pools, roadways, utility lines, and various other natural and man-made structures. Planners and builders use this information to gain a better understanding of the landscape and any features and structures that already exist. This allows planners and builders to make appropriate design and building plans.

Placement and Layout of Structures

Houses, office complexes, restaurants, garages, buildings, and other structures have to be appropriately positioned on a plot of land. Placement has a direct impact on the structural stability and safety of a structure or building. The information presented on a topo survey allows land use planners and builders to better understand the topography, contours, features, and other key elements of a site so that they can choose the most suitable location for buildings and structures.

Determining Drainage Patterns

When it comes to effective land use planning, having a firm understanding of the drainage patterns of a piece of land is vital. A topographical survey offers key details about slopes, gradients, and even potential areas where erosion control could be problematic. Because this information is outlined in a topo survey, appropriate planning can be made.

Topographical Surveys and Land Use Planning

In the field of land use planning, topographical surveys are invaluable tools. These maps provide vital details about a plot of land that allows for proper planning and more effective use of the land. By incorporating the details presented on a topo survey, land can be used more efficiently. On top of that, impacts on the environment can be reduced, and funding can be allocated appropriately.

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