Surveying is the process by which a surveyor measures certain dimensions that generally occur on the surface of the Earth. Surveying equipment, such as levels and theodolites, are used for accurate measurement of angular deviation, horizontal, vertical and slope distances. With computerization, electronic distance measurement (EDM), total stations, GPS surveying and laser scanning have supplemented (and to a large extent supplanted) the traditional optical instruments. This information is crucial to convert the data into a graphical representation of the Earth's surface, in the form of a map. This information is then used by civil engineers, contractors and even realtors to design from, build on, and trade, respectively. Elements of a building or structure must be correctly sized and positioned in relation to each other and to site boundaries and adjacent structures. Although surveying is a distinct profession with separate qualifications and licensing arrangements, civil engineers are trained in the basics of surveying and mapping, as well as geographic information systems. Surveyors may also lay out the routes of railways, tramway tracks, highways, roads, pipelines and streets as well as position other infrastructures, such as harbors, before construction.
In the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries land surveying is considered to be a distinct profession. Land surveyors are not considered to be engineers, and have their own professional associations and licensing requirements. The services of a licensed land surveyor are generally required for boundary surveys (to establish the boundaries of a parcel using its legal description) and subdivision plans (a plot or map based on a survey of a parcel of land, with boundary lines drawn inside the larger parcel to indicated the creation of new boundary lines and roads), both of which are generally referred to as cadastral surveying.
Construction surveying is generally performed by specialized technicians. Unlike land surveyors, the resulting plan does not have legal status or site development new jersey. Construction surveyors perform the following tasks:
Survey existing conditions of the future work site, including topography, existing buildings and infrastructure, and even including underground infrastructure whenever possible;
Construction surveying (otherwise "lay-out" or "setting-out"): to stake out reference points and markers that will guide the construction of new structures such as roads or buildings for subsequent construction;
Verify the location of structures during construction;
As-Built surveying: a survey conducted at the end of the construction project to verify that the work authorized was completed to the specifications set on plans.