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What To Know About a Topographic Survey

Have you ever seen a map with lines that distinguish elevations, natural and manmade features and terrain? These maps have many more lines, many of which are not straight, and other notations on them. These are topographical maps created using a topographical survey.

Who Needs a Topographical Survey?

Building professionals, architects, engineers and governmental agencies all use a topographic survey. Engineers need to ensure that land and structures are safe, so they use these surveys to determine elevation and land features. They will then take this data to determine whether the land needs additional dirt or other resources.

Architects can use these surveys to build 3D illustrations of their designs. They show how their designs fit into the land. Construction companies also evaluate these surveys to review grades and structures so they know if they will run into problems on their build, and even fencing and retaining walls need surveys. Governmental agencies use topographical surveys to determine zoning, evaluate infrastructure and plan new infrastructure projects and make decisions on environmental projects.

What Are Topographical Surveys?

Professionals use topographic surveys to analyze and create a record of the features of a piece of land. Surveyors use these notes to create a topographical map that shows what they found. For example, a map may show man-made fencing, buildings, ponds, utilities, trees, gas and electrical lines, retaining walls, utility poles and in addition to natural features, such as rivers and streams, hills and valleys and underground makeup.

When Should You Get a Topographical Survey?

If you plan to start a construction project of any kind, you need a topographical survey. You and your contractor need to know that the land can support the project and that it is safe. This is especially important for runoff management or drainage systems.

In addition, you may need a survey before you purchase land. You don’t want to spend money on land that you cannot use for your intended purpose. Environmental projects should have surveys as well.

Topographical surveys have many benefits, but one of their greatest is their ability to determine the safety of a build.

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