What Technology Do Land Surveyors Use?

What Technology Do Land Surveyors Use?Land surveyors are highly-qualified professionals with degrees in fields such as civil engineering, architecture, urban planning, or cartography. On top of completing extensive on-the-job training, land surveyors have to obtain a license from the National Council of Examiners for Surveying before operating. While land surveying requires a unique set of skills, professional land surveyors do have help — they no longer have to rely on analog tools, as state-of-the-art technology has come to play a vital role in the land-surveying process.

What Technology Do Land Surveyors Use?

The tools and technologies land surveyors use to pinpoint property boundaries with amazing accuracy are varied and interesting. Let’s take a look!

1. Total Station

This compact but powerful surveying equipment is able to measure distances and angles — jobs that used to require two different pieces of equipment. A total station is called that because it replaced the combination of Electronic Distance Measurers (EDMs, used to measure distances) and theodolites (used to measure angles), which some land surveyors still use.

When a total station has a terrestrial laser scanner, the equipment is referred to as a multi-station.

2. GNSS Receiver

A total station can make shockingly accurate measurements down to the millimeter, but that level of precision is not always required. Land surveying industry professionals rely on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs) when they only require centimeter accuracy.

3. Controller

Land surveyors in the field use controllers to operate their total stations or GNSS receivers remotely. These devices can measure distances, but they also collect data in real time from other equipment. Modern controllers look like tablets with extra buttons and receivers.

4. 3D Scanner

A 3D scanner scans a particular area in order to create a 3D model representing a land boundary. A 3D scanner is one of a land surveyor’s most important tools.

5. Magnetic Locator

Previously-established property boundaries are often marked with rebar. Magnetic locators allow land surveyors to find rebar markers quickly and easily. Additionally, magnetic locators allow land surveyors to pinpoint the location of other metal objects, such as manhole covers.

6. Digital Level

Digital levels are now the gold standard in land surveying technology. These tools are used to measure the elevations of specific locations. Unlike the manual levels used in the past, digital levels are more precise, and they make a land surveyor’s work much easier. The use of a bar code allows for much of the work to be done automatically.

Dumpy levels are similar instruments, but they require land surveyors to do more of the work manually. In this case, surveyors will need to record staff readings, and the equipment also requires regular calibration to remain accurate.

7. Prism

Prisms mounted on a tripod or range pole allow land surveyors to pinpoint land features and traverse stations. These tripods and range poles are a common sight during land surveys, and they allow land surveyors to set their points out.

8. Hand Tools and a Safety Vest

Modern land surveys rely on modern technology, including GPS – but that doesn’t mean land surveyors don’t use hand tools. Axes, picks, and saws allow land surveyors to clear any debris that may get in the way of completing the survey. Land surveyors also use high-visibility safety vests to stay safe as they carry out their work.

9. Drones

Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly important in land surveys as well. Cameras and scanners mounted on drones/UAVs can make it easier for land surveyors to measure large distances quickly and effectively.

Land Surveyors and Technology – The Future of Land Surveying

The tools of choice are determined by the type of survey being carried out. Boundary surveys, location surveys, topographic surveys, construction surveys, and site-planning surveys are among the most common types of land surveys completed by land surveying firms. While some types of surveys require millimeter precision, others don’t need to be quite as precise.

Land surveyors and survey companies use a combination of high-tech equipment and tried-and-trusted tools to complete each job with precision.

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