Land surveying and geographic information systems (GIS) are two data systems used in the surveying industry. Many industry participants argue one offers more benefits than the other. Still, the reality is these topographical survey methods are complementary technologies, and both have a specific purpose that enhances industry applications.
One of the critical aspects of land surveying is the data collected. Surveyors rely on various methods, including remote sensing, to gather data about the terrain and land features. Remote sensing involves using tools like drones or satellite imagery to capture information from a distance. This data is then integrated into GIS software, which manipulates data collected from different sources into a unified system. This software is designed to work with various data formats and file formats to ensure that all the information is compatible and accessible.
How Is GIS Data Used In Land Surveying?
Land surveying has come a long way with the integration of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. GIS technology helps land surveyors in many ways, and one of the key tools in their arsenal is GIS maps. These maps are a digital representation of geographical data that can be used for a variety of purposes. GIS maps often serve as the foundation for land surveying projects.
Both land surveying and GIS are precise methods, but each has a different purpose. Typically, Land surveys offer a high degree of accuracy in placing this feature relative to other locations. However, it’s less accurate at measuring the horizontal GPS coordinates of topographical features.
Alternatively, GIS offers precise measurements and locations of topographical features. However, it’s less accurate at determining relative positions.
Applications For Land Surveys
Conventional land surveys combine several technologies, including HD imagery, 3D tools, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and terrestrial scanning.
The range of tools available for surveying tasks is beneficial for applications like defining property boundaries, measuring lines, estimating property values, designing drainage and sewer systems, and planning construction. It’s the go-to methodology for designing roads, subdivisions, and utility services.
The Types Of Land Surveys
Land surveys display maps of land parcels, including the property lines and property features. There are several types of surveys, with most projects requiring a combination of techniques and technologies.
GIS data aggregates all survey data in a central place for easy user access, allowing a visual representation of the property as a whole.
Boundary surveys determine property lines on the site. The surveyor conducts field research, analyzing associated documents like public records and deeds relating to the site. These surveys are critical when buying or selling properties because they determine land ownership between parties.
Site Planning Surveys
Site planning surveys are used in development projects to secure permit applications. They incorporate elements of topographic and boundary surveys. Typically, they feature in planning developments or land improvements before starting construction projects. This survey is common in highways, shopping malls, playgrounds, and housing projects.
Location surveys are similar to boundary surveys. However, they also include location data on internal improvements relating to the property boundaries. Location surveys are essential for obtaining zoning permits, loan applications, and when selling properties.
Topographic surveys are 3D representations of properties, showing land elevation changes throughout the site. They are useful for understanding natural and man-made surface features like mountains, rivers, trees, contours, valleys, utilities, and more.
Understanding GIS Data
GIS data adds additional information to support the land survey results. Typically, surveyors use it for the management of natural resources. It’s also useful for the simulation development of soil erosion, water retention, and seismic hazards.
GIS data assists engineers working on tunnels, sewer, and highway designs. GIS assists professionals with identifying potholes requiring repair and land available for development projects. It’s also useful for inventorying utility poles, calculating storm-water run-off, creating subsurface 3D utility models, and managing utility networks.
GIS & Land Surveys – Complimentary Technology
Combining land surveys and GIS data offers surveyors powerful systems that deliver accurate site information. Applications like 3D visualization, volumetric modeling, and urban planning combine these innovative technologies to improve results.
Recently, governments started investing in these hybrid initiatives for large-scale development projects, including European initiatives like ERTMS and SESAR. Developing countries around the globe are driving the advancement and implementation of technologies to improve surveying results.
Open standards promoted by organizations like Open GIS and the Open Geospatial Consortium are increasingly used to enhance how different systems work together, making it quicker and easier to adapt applications
GIS tech is becoming commonplace in niche land surveying techniques, with LiDAR being the most notable. GIS is the preferred tech for data management derived from modern surveying systems like LiDAR, laser scanning, and mobile mapping.
As these technologies and tools increase accuracy and precision, surveyors will shift to GIS data, which offers the power and scale necessary to handle collected data from site surveys. Leaders in the GIS and surveying industries are beginning to recognize opportunities from collaborating these two technologies to enhance results.
Professionals must embrace the partnership between GIS data and land surveying to advance the industry and improve results.
Innovative GIS Technology: Transforming Land Surveying For A Brighter Future
GIS technology is also crucial for spatial analysis in land surveying. Surveyors use GIS software to examine spatial data between different elements of the landscape. For instance, they can analyze the topography using a digital elevation model (DEM) to understand the land’s elevation and contours. This real-time analysis allows for more accurate and efficient surveying, ultimately leading to more precise land measurements and boundary determinations.
GIS data plays a vital role in modern land surveying. Through the use of GIS maps, remote sensing, and GIS software, surveyors can collect, manipulate, and analyze geographical data efficiently. This technology helps them better understand spatial relationships and perform real-time assessments, ultimately improving the accuracy and effectiveness of land surveying processes.
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Precision Surveying & Consulting
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The security and confidentiality of our client’s data are paramount to our working practices. We bring extensive experience and professionalism to every project and customize our support to your individual needs and concerns.
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