Surveying is a way of obtaining information about a particular area through a variety of techniques such as detailed observations, field measurements, questionnaires and data analysis.

The surveyor bases his or her observations on a series of measurements taken from the distances and angles between sets of three dimensional points on the Earth.

Surveyors measure different types of terrain such as land, sea and air which also includes mineral and constructions sites. This information is important when determining boundaries between areas of land or being involved in every stage of a civil engineering project. 

Land surveying

This is defined as a set of measurements of the land which are used in the production of maps and other similar documentation. These measurements are used to describe a particular type of land, its location, the volume and any particular features.

Hydrographic surveying

This refers to the taking of measurements of areas of the Earth covered by water. The aim is to accurately map the sea bed and coastline of a country or island, e.g. Hawaii for engineering, environmental or navigation reasons.

Other types of surveying

There are several other types of surveying which have a wide range of applications. These include:

  • Engineering survey
  • Geological survey
  • Soil survey
  • Topographic survey
  • Archaeological survey

Engineering survey

This accompanies engineering design and involves complex computations which are beyond the scope of standard civil engineering.

Geological survey

A systematic type of survey that explores and captures information about geological features in a specific area, for example the landforms in that area.

Soil survey

Another name for this is soil mapping: it is a type of survey which investigates soil formation, soil properties and soil types in a particular location.

Topographic survey

This survey obtains a series of measurements based upon a set of control points on specific piece of land. The results are then presented as a series of contour lines on a map to depict a hill or peak.

Archaeological survey

This often forms part of an archaeological dig and is used to evaluate the relationship between an archaeological site and its surroundings. Another use is that of reporting finds within that site.

Surveying in Hawaii

Land surveying is a major industry in Hawaii and the surrounding islands and provides information about various landscapes in those areas.

The land surveying profession has evolved to keep up with emerging new technologies such as 3D laser scanning, GPS and machine control. These have had a noticeable impact upon the industry, its operations and processes and have set the course for the future.