Types of Land Surveys and Why They Matter

by | May 23, 2024 | Survey, Thought Leadership

Surveys are an essential part of many industries, from engineering and construction to land development and environmental studies. They provide crucial information and data that inform decision-making and ensure the success of projects.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of surveys and why they matter in various industries.

Engineering Surveys and Services

Engineering surveys are used to gather data and information about a specific area or site for engineering purposes. These surveys are typically conducted before the start of a construction project to determine the best location and design for structures and infrastructure.

Engineering surveys can include topographic surveys, alta/nsps land title surveys, alta surveys, lidar and imagery, subdivision surveys, construction staking, boundary surveys, and terrestrial scanning (3d laser scanning).

Topographic Surveys

Topographic surveys are used to map the natural and man-made features of a specific area. This type of survey is essential for engineering projects as it provides detailed information about the terrain, including elevation, contours, and existing structures.

Topographic surveys are typically conducted using specialized equipment such as total stations, GPS receivers, and 3D laser scanners. The data collected is then used to create accurate topographic maps and 3D models of the area. These maps serve as the basis for engineering teams to design projects of all shapes and sizes.

ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys

ALTA/NSPS land title surveys are used to determine the boundaries and features of a property. These surveys are typically conducted for commercial properties and provide detailed information about the property’s boundaries, easements, and encroachments. They are often required by lending institutions as a part of the transfer of property from one owner to another.

ALTA surveys are held to a higher standard than traditional land surveys and must adhere to specific requirements set by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).

Construction StakingStake in the ground

Construction staking is the process of marking the location of structures and infrastructure on a construction site. This type of survey is crucial for ensuring that structures are built in the correct location and according to the design plans.

Construction staking is typically conducted using specialized equipment such as total stations and GPS receivers. The data collected is then used to accurately place stakes and markers on the construction site.

Boundary Surveys

Boundary surveys are used to determine the exact, legal boundaries of a specific property. These surveys are essential for land development and construction projects as they ensure that structures are built within the property’s boundaries and ensure that such activities don’t encroach on neighboring property owners.

Boundary surveys are typically conducted using specialized equipment such as total stations and GPS receivers. The data collected is then used to create accurate boundary maps and legal descriptions of the property, or to retrace an old property description from a recorded property deed.

LiDAR Surveys

LiDAR surveying, also known as 3D laser scanning, is a surveying technique that uses laser beams to capture detailed 3D images of an area or structure. This type of survey is commonly used in engineering projects to create accurate 3D models of existing structures and terrain. LiDAR sensors can be set on a stationary tripod (terrestrial scanning), or even mounted to a vehicle (mobile LiDAR) or drone-based platform to map large areas very efficiently. The data collected by these tools is then used to create detailed 3D models and maps of the area.

UAS Surveying

UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) surveying, also known as drone surveying, is a surveying technique that uses drones to capture aerial images and data of an area. This type of survey is becoming increasingly popular in various industries due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

UAS surveying is typically conducted using drones equipped with specialized cameras and sensors. The data collected is then used to create detailed maps and 3D models of the area.

Bathymetric Surveys

Bathymetric surveys are used to map the depth and contours of bodies of water. This type of survey is essential for marine construction projects, dredging operations, and environmental studies.

Bathymetric surveys are typically conducted using specialized equipment such as sonar systems and GPS receivers. The data collected is then used to create accurate depth maps and 3D models of the water body.

Legal Surveys

Legal surveys, also known as cadastral surveys, are used to determine the boundaries and features of a property for legal purposes. These surveys are typically conducted for property transactions, boundary disputes, and land development projects.

Legal surveys are held to a higher standard than traditional land surveys and must adhere to specific requirements set by the state or local government.

Pipeline Surveys

Pipeline surveys are used to map the location and features of underground pipelines. This type of survey is crucial for pipeline construction and maintenance projects as it ensures the safety and efficiency of the pipeline system.

Pipeline surveys are typically conducted using specialized equipment such as ground-penetrating radar and GPS receivers. The data collected is then used to create accurate maps and 3D models of the pipeline system.

Why Surveys MatterMcClure Survey team on site

Surveys play a crucial role in various industries, and their importance cannot be overstated. Here are some reasons why surveys matter:

Accurate Data and Information

Surveys provide accurate and detailed data and information about an area or structure. This information is crucial for making informed decisions and ensuring the success of projects.

Cost-Effectiveness

Surveys can help identify potential issues and challenges before the start of a project, saving time and money in the long run. They also help optimize the design and location of structures, reducing construction costs.

Safety and Compliance

Surveys help ensure the safety and compliance of structures and infrastructure. They provide accurate information about the terrain, underground utilities, and other potential hazards, allowing for proper planning and risk management.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Surveys are important for studying the environment, giving data on the natural features and resources of an area. This information is crucial for minimizing the impact of construction projects on the environment.

Conclusion

Surveys are an essential part of many industries, providing accurate data and information that inform decision-making and ensure the success of projects. From engineering surveys and services to UAS surveying and bathymetric surveys, each type of survey plays a crucial role in its respective industry. By understanding the different types of surveys and their importance, you can make informed decisions and ensure the success of your projects.

Josh Doughan

Josh Doughan

Josh serves as the Vice President of Survey where he manages the firm’s resources in providing survey services to both internal and external clients. McClure’s Survey team has crews located throughout the states of Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, and provides a vast array of services ranging from legal surveys, high-definition 3D scanning, topographic surveys, detailed construction layout, and remote sensing. Josh brings over 20 years of surveying experience and has completed many successful projects of all sizes, ranging from residential site plans to multi-million dollar industrial and transportation sites. He has gained extensive experience working for large clients including the Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and dozens of General Contractors throughout the Midwest.

You can contact Josh at jdoughan@mcclurevision.com.

Josh Doughan

Josh Doughan

Josh serves as the Vice President of Survey where he manages the firm’s resources in providing survey services to both internal and external clients. McClure’s Survey team has crews located throughout the states of Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, and provides a vast array of services ranging from legal surveys, high-definition 3D scanning, topographic surveys, detailed construction layout, and remote sensing. Josh brings over 20 years of surveying experience and has completed many successful projects of all sizes, ranging from residential site plans to multi-million dollar industrial and transportation sites. He has gained extensive experience working for large clients including the Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and dozens of General Contractors throughout the Midwest.

You can contact Josh at jdoughan@mcclurevision.com.

Learn More

Learn more about McClure’s Survey services or contact us at info@mcclurevision.com.