Our Product‎ > ‎

Topographic Surveys

TOPOGRAPHIC  SURVEYS in Texas The  purpose  of  a  TOPOGRAPHIC  SURVEY is  to  gather  survey  data  about  the  natural  and man-made  features  of  the  land,  as  well  as  its elevations.  From  this  information  a  three- dimensional  map  may  be  prepared.  The  topographic  map is prepared in  the  office  after collecting the field data or it may be prepared right away in  the  field  by  plane  table.  The  work  usually consists  of  the  following: 1.  Establishing  horizontal  and  vertical  control that  will  serve  as  the  framework  of  the  survey 2.   Determining   enough   horizontal   location and  elevation  (usually  called  side  shots)  of  ground points to provide enough data for plotting contours when the map is prepared 3.  Locating  natural  and  man-made  features that may be required by the purpose of the survey 4.   Computing   distances,   angles,   and elevations 5.  Drawing  the  topographic  map.
 Topographic surveys are commonly identified with  horizontal  and/or  vertical  control  of  third- and  lower-order  accuracies.
Topographic surveying Houston Texas

ROUTE SURVEYS The  term  route  survey   refers  to  surveys necessary  for  the  location  and  construction  of lines  of  transportation  or  communication  that continue  across  country  for  some  distance,  such as   highways,   railroads,   open-conduit   systems, pipelines,  and  power  lines.  Generally,  the  pre- liminary  survey  for  this  work  takes  the  form  of a topographic survey. In the final stage, the work may  consist  of  the  following: 1.  Locating  the  center  line,  usually  marked  by stakes at 100-ft intervals called stations 2.  Determining  elevations  along  and  across the   center   line   for   plotting   profile   and   cross sections 3. Plotting the profile and cross sections and fixing the grades 4. Computing the volumes of earthwork and preparing a mass diagram 5. Staking out the extremities for cuts and fills 6. Determining drainage areas to be used in the  design  of  ditches  and  culverts 7. Laying out structures, such as bridges and culverts 8.  Locating  right-of-way  boundaries,  as  well as  staking  out  fence  lines,  if  necessary.

Request Land Survey Services from B and B Surveying of Houston Texas

Topographic surveying services for state of Texas

Work Product

A DTM (Digital Terrain Model) or Topographic Survey requires:

  • A control survey network, with horizontal and vertical positions on primary control points that are monumented, referenced, and placed near or on the project site.
  • Points of secondary control, which are based upon and supplement primary control to facilitate data acquisition within a project.
  • A description and location sketch of each control point.
  • Data acquisition sufficient to generate an accurate DTM for the purpose of generating contours. 
While a topographic map (2 dimensional) may be the typical end product of a topographic survey, for general purposes a processed computer file for a DTM (3 dimensional) is the primary deliverable product. Even when hard copy maps are specified as a part of the deliverable, electronic graphics files (2D and/or 3D) for the final product can be furnished for each project.


The effect of location, such as rural, suburban, urban, or urban business district, on conditions of a DTM or topographic survey will be minor and will be most dependent upon the purpose of the survey.

The need for appropriate control and tolerances will be the deciding factor when the purpose of the survey is for roadway or ROW design in determining reasonably accurate quantities of construction materials, such as water, spoil, fill, concrete, etc.

Field Procedures

DTM or topographic surveys require a reliable horizontal and vertical control system based on acceptably closed and adjusted traverses and level loops. Attention is required be given toward developing this control system before any detail work is begun.

Field work shall be performed to achieve the specified or intended accuracy and results as stated in the manual, in accordance with accepted technical methods, i.e.: TSPS Manual of Practice, and as directed by the manufacturer of the surveying instrument(s) or equipment used.