What is Surveying in Civil Engineering?

I think we all have seen this guy, standing on the roadside looking through a telescope and we might have wondered what he is doing? Well, this gentleman is called a “Surveyor” and he is performing an activity which is called “Surveying”.

So what exactly is Surveying? 

Surveying is basically a process of locating points on Earth’s surface by finding their coordinates. These coordinates could be in the form of:

  • 2 Dimensional – which tells the position of a point
  • 3 Dimensional – which tells the Position as well as elevation of a point

These coordinates are essential to find the relative difference between the points. The relative difference simply means how high/low a point is with respect to another point or what is the distance between a point A and point B. 

By surveying, we can:-

  • Estimate the amount of Earthwork required for a project.
  • locate a structure which is given on a construction plan, to the actual site
  • Creating maps
  • Locate the boundary line of our area

and so on…

Finally, the technical definition of surveying is:

“The process of locating the relative positions of points on, above or beneath the surface of the Earth by direct or indirect measurements of distance, elevation, and direction.”


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