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What Equipment Do Surveyors Use?


Surveyors need to use high-tech land surveying equipment to create maps, measure distances and specific areas to ensure they can complete their tasks at hand. 

Underestimating the importance of these projects should not occur. Surveyors must stand by their work, as their results determine the future outcome of many projects. To provide accurate calculations requires the right equipment. 

However, while each job might be different, there are few consistent equipment pieces that are always in use.

What Land Surveying Equipment Do Surveyors Use?

The main pieces of surveying equipment in use for professionals around the United States include the following: 

  • RTK Systems – Real-time kinematic (RTK) products use GNSS systems in order to get centimeter level accuracy for points on the ground. These units can survey a range up to 50km in a single setup.
  • Robotic Total Stations – A precise optical instrument that combines the capabilities of a theodolite with an EDM to allow for accurate distance and angle measurements. 
  • Theodolite – An optical instrument that allows for the measurement of horizontal and vertical angles. 
  • Optical Level – This optical instrument allows for precise readings off of a level rod in order to measure elevations.
  • Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) Instruments – Which use laser measurements to check the distance for an offset point.
  • Surveying Prisms – a retroreflector that is usually attached to a surveying pole and used as a target for total stations. 
  • Compasses & Clinometers – while considered old-school, compasses are an essential piece of equipment when surveying in unfamiliar territory. They can be used to measure horizontal angles between points, while clinometers are used to measure the vertical angles.
  • Magnetic Locators – To identify the location of certain features, such as property pins and iron pipes, magnetic locators can be used to quickly and precisely locate ferrous materials. 

While these are the most common land surveying equipment, it is important to note that they will be adapted, depending on the task at hand. Understanding the types of projects that surveyors manage is therefore important.


Most Common Surveyors Projects

Surveyors are a part of a range of projects, including construction and engineering, geodetic tasks (which revolves around creating maps of substantial land portions) and mapping of both boundary and land locations. Listed below are some of the most common projects for surveyors:

Location & Boundary Survey

A boundary survey locates the corners and boundary lines of a parcel of land. The surveyor will have to provide measurements to determine exact distances and spaces. 

Construction Survey

Strengthening the development plan relies on surveyors for many construction projects, For the surveying phase, that includes measuring the structures located on the property, including walls, buildings, roads, and utilities. Horizontal and vertical grading may also be required. 

Topographic Survey

A topographic survey locates both natural and man-made features on a parcel of land. This can include a wide range, such as utilities, buildings, elevations, streams, trees, and contours. In most cases, state engineers request topographic surveys for planning site improvements and developments.

Site Planning Survey

While similar to construction surveys, especially in the development phase, a site planning survey combines the elements of boundary and topographic surveys. This process helps aid and plan for design developments before construction begins. It can be used for designing houses, subdivisions, community outdoor activities and centres, commercial and industrial properties, and streets and highways.

Finding The Right Land Surveying Equipment

When it comes to land surveying, having the right land surveying equipment is essential. The right tools will ensure speedy and accurate measurements for every project, large or small. To avoid mishaps, make sure that you speak to a professional supplier to determine which equipment will help you with your project.

Bench Mark Equipment & Supplies is your team to trust with all your surveying equipment. We have been providing high-quality surveying equipment to land surveyors, engineers, construction, airborne and resources professionals since 2002. This helps establish ourselves as the go-to team in Calgary, Canada, and the USA. Plus, we provide a wide selection of equipment, including global navigation satellite systems, RTK GPS equipment, GNSS receivers, and more. We strive to provide the highest level of customer care and service for everyone. To speak to one of our team today, call us on 403-286-0333 or email us [email protected]

About the Author

Nolan has been working in the surveying field since 2017, starting as a part-time student at Bench-Mark while attending the University of Calgary. He now works in technical support and sales helping customers find the right product for them.

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