What is Surveying in Civil Engineering? Explained Guide with Free PDF

From correctly drawing borders between private and public property, to inspecting bridges and other vital infrastructure, surveying is involved in everything. The placement, protection, and safety of projects can not be assured without surveying. Here’s a description of how surveying works to improve public works through civil engineering.

The study of civil engineering is complex. Currently, aside from military engineering, it’s the second-oldest engineering discipline. Often, civil engineering is related to public works, but that’s not what it is. Any kind of engineering that includes constructing structures on top of the landscape is civil engineering: canals, bridges, and pipelines are most notable.

Since civil engineering includes affecting the environment directly (often in a significant way), surveys are extremely essential. Surveys ensure that the safe environment is not adversely affected, that the system is stable, and that the project is as successful as possible overall.

What is Surveying in Civil Engineering?

So, what is civil engineering surveying? It is a vital part of any stage of the creation of a project. Here are some of the ways that surveying is so extremely important.


Surveying – It is the art of determining the relative positions of different objects on the surface of the earth by measuring the horizontal distances between them and by preparing a map to any suitable scale. Thus in this discipline the measurements are taken only in horizontal plane.


It is the art of determining the relative vertical distances of different points on the surface of the earth. Therefore in leveling the measurements are taken only in the vertical plane.

The objective of Surveying

The aim of surveying is to prepare a map, to show the relative positions of the object on the surface of the earth. The map is drawn to some suitable scale. It show the natural features of the country such as towns, villages, roads, railways, rivers, etc.Maps may also include details of different engineering works such as roads, railways, irrigation, canal , etc.

Uses of Surveying

  1. To prepare a topographical map which show the hills, village, rivers, valleys, towns, forest, etc. of a country.
  2. To prepare a cadastral map showing the boundaries of fields , houses and other properties.
  3. To prepare an engineering map which show the details of engineering works such as roads, railways, irrigation, canal, reservoirs.
  4. To prepare a military map showing the road and railway communication with different parts of country. Showing the different strategic points important for defence of country.
  5. To prepare the contour map – To determine the capacity of a reservoir and to find the best possible routes for roads, railways, etc.
  6. Geological Map – Showing areas including underground resources.
  7. To prepare an archaeological map including places where animal relics exists.

Classification of Surveying

  1. Primary Surveying
  2. Secondary Surveying

1. Primary Surveying

  • Plane Surveying
  • Geodetic Surveying

2. Secondary Surveying

(2.1) Based on Instrument

  1. Chain Survey
  2. Compass Survey
  3. Plane Table Survey
  4. Theodolite Survey
  5. Tachometric Survey
  6. Photographic Survey

(2.2) Based on Methods

  1. Triangulation Survey
  2. Traverse Survey

(2.3) Based on Objects

  1. Geological Survey
  2. Mine Survey
  3. Archeological Survey
  4. Military Survey

(2.4) Based on Nature of field

  • Land Surveying
    1. Topographical Survey
    2. Cadastral Survey
    3. City Survey
    4. Engineering Survey
  • Marine Surveying
  • Astronomical Surveying

Er. Mukesh Kumar

Photo of author
Er. Mukesh Kumar is Editor in Chief and Co-Funder at ProCivilEngineer.com Civil Engineering Website. Mukesh Kumar is a Bachelor in Civil Engineering From MIT. He has work experience in Highway Construction, Bridge Construction, Railway Steel Girder work, Under box culvert construction, Retaining wall construction. He was a lecturer in a Engineering college for more than 6 years.

1 thought on “What is Surveying in Civil Engineering? Explained Guide with Free PDF”

Leave a Comment