Have you ever been walking down the street and witnessed someone in an orange or yellow vest standing behind a tripod? They were probably there with another person, and they were likely holding a clipboard and peering through a lens on top of said tripod. Despite the tripod, they weren’t merely taking pictures—those people were likely conducting a topographic survey.
Before beginning any type of construction project, it is wise to conduct a topographic survey. There are many benefits of using topographic surveys in Idaho, and there are many situations in which they are useful. This article will explain what a topographic survey is and some situations that necessitate it.
What is a topographic survey?
The field of topography involves the study and recording of the various shapes, features and elevations of the earth. A typical rudimentary topographic map denotes the shape and elevation of the land through a series of lines and circles known as “contour lines.” How far these lines are apart from each other denotes the elevation of the land.
A topographic survey is a much more detailed process with the same goal: to accurately capture the lay of the land down to the finest detail. This includes the various dimensions (height, width, length, depth, size) of the land itself, as well as any natural features (trees, rivers, etc.) and man-made features (buildings, fences, utility lines).
Technological advances in the field of engineering have led to the creation and implementation of equipment that has made the topographic survey process easier, quicker and more accurate.
Depending on the type of project, a topographic survey may be required by law, but even if it isn’t, conducting one would be a wise decision.
When is a topographic survey needed?
There are several projects that require a topographic survey. These include but are not limited to:
- Construction projects
- Architectural projects
- Utility design
- Grading or drainage projects
- When land is being repurposed
- Environmental restoration
- Remodeling of existing structures
- Road or bridge construction or improvement
- To satisfy regulations regarding construction codes
Why is it important to request a topographic survey?
Ordering a topographic survey in Idaho is a must before beginning any major construction project. It provides the architect or engineer overseeing the project extremely valuable data that they can use to inform many of the decisions they’ll be making regarding the project. They will undoubtedly have a clearer picture that illustrates what they’re dealing with, and they will be able to alter the project accordingly.
Also, depending on the nature and scope of the project, as well as the local zoning laws, a topographic survey may be required before any construction work can begin.
Call to schedule your topographic survey today
Now that you know what a topographic survey is, why it’s important and what types of projects it is used for, give us a call at Mason & Associates. We’re the civil engineering experts and would be happy to help you with your topographic survey as well as any of your other civil engineering needs.