What is a Topographic Survey?

Topographic surveys are a type of land survey that delve deep into the core aspects of your site, capturing all natural and artificial features, from vegetation and terrain to buildings, urban structures and more.

These surveys are essential for a variety of purposes, including supporting building or landscaping projects, obtaining planning permission, designing highways, preparing for demolition, conducting tree surveys, and assessing flood risk.

Equipment set up for a topographical survey out on a field on a sunny day

What is a topographic survey?

A topographic survey is a method of mapping and measuring the physical aspects of the earth’s surface, including natural and man-made features. It involves collecting data about the elevation, shape, and other characteristics of an area, using specialised equipment such as total stations, GPS receivers, and laser scanners. This data is then used to create detailed maps and models of the area being surveyed.

Specialising in the use of drones in construction, Sky Revolutions also offers aerial topographic surveys. Using drones to conduct land surveys is often more efficient and effective – particularly when capturing accurate data across larger landscapes and difficult to access areas.

Why do you need a topographic survey?

There are many reasons why you might need a topographic land survey. For example, when planning a construction project, such as a new building or highway, a topographic survey can provide you with important information about the layout and features of the land. It can also help you identify potential challenges or hazards, such as steep slopes or bodies of water, that may need to be taken into consideration during the planning process.

What is likely to be surveyed?

During a topographic survey, a wide range of physical features may be measured and mapped, including:

  • Elevation: the height of the land above or below sea level.
  • Contours: the shape of the land, including hills, valleys, and other features.
  • Vegetation: trees, shrubs, and other plants.
  • Water features: rivers, streams, ponds, and other bodies of water.
  • Man-made structures: buildings, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

What types of sites require surveying?

Topographic surveying is required across a variety of industries, most commonly:

  • Civil engineering: for planning and constructing highways, bridges, and other infrastructure.
  • Urban planning: for designing and developing new neighbourhoods and communities.
  • Land development: for dividing land into plots for construction or agriculture.
  • Landscape architecture: for planning the placement of plants, trees, and other features in gardens and public parks.

What equipment is used?

At Sky Revolutions, our surveyors use a range of specialised equipment to collect data for topographic surveys, including the latest technologies in:

  • Total stations: electronic theodolites that measure angles and distances to create a 3D model of the area.
  • GPS receivers: satellite-based systems that can determine the precise location of a point on the earth’s surface.
  • Laser scanners: devices that use lasers to measure the distance between the scanner and objects in the environment.
  • Drones: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that can capture accurate data from above. When conducting aerial topographic surveys, drones are invaluable for their efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

What are the benefits of a topographic survey?

Benefits of a topographic survey include:

  • Accuracy: topographic land surveys are highly accurate, thanks to the use of advanced technology such as total stations and GPS receivers.
  • Detailed information: providing a wealth of detailed data about the physical features of an area to help your business make informed decisions.
  • Identifying issues: topographic surveys can help identify potential challenges or hazards, such as steep slopes or structural faults, that may need to be taken into consideration during the planning or construction process.

Aerial topographic surveying has additional benefits including:

  • Unobtrusive: Being airborne makes a topographic survey seamless and non-disruptive.
  • Efficiency: Quick deployment and the ability to capture larger landscapes at height helps to collect data faster than traditional topographic surveying – saving your business precious time.

How to find a specialist?

If your business requires topographic surveying of any kind, you’ll need a qualified specialist with the necessary expertise – look no further than Sky Revolutions. With many years delivering a range of exceptionally accurate surveys, you can trust us to provide the detailed data your business needs.

See a recent topographic survey we conducted for our client, Workplace Property, here.

Does your business require traditional or aerial topography? Our inhouse team can deliver precise data in 3D models and CAD drawings of your site to help your business make the right decisions. Get in touch with our team of experts to discuss further.