Before undertaking any development project, it may be necessary to perform a topographic survey to identify various features of the land. Topographic surveys identify important characteristics of a defined plot of land. While a boundary survey deals primarily with marking out a parcel's boundaries, a topographic survey is more concerned with noting the natural and manmade features on the land itself. A topographic survey shows these features' locations, sizes, and heights, as well as elevation contours.
Moreover, topographic surveys focus on elevations other than horizontal measurements. The results are not marked using stakes or other landmarks but instead are drawn as contour lines on a map of the land, resulting in them sometimes being called contour surveys. Today, computer programs allow for digital versions of these maps, as well as interactive elevation views of the land.
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A TOPOGRAPHIC SURVEY:
Topographic surveys have many uses. They are useful when a parcel of land that was previously in use is being redeveloped—for example, an abandoned quarry or landfill, a site where a building was demolished, or on a site where the topographic data is changing. In these cases, a topographic survey provides an accurate view of how the land has been changed by its use, allowing for better planning for future use.
Residential: Reasons landowners may need a topographic survey are to help in the design of road improvements, landscape improvements, buildings, remodels, and additions or when locating trees, fences, walls, buildings, sheds, or other outdoor structures. Topo surveys assist in identifying property slope and contours for potential construction projects or property use analysis
Construction: Nearly all construction projects begin with a topographic land survey, which describes the starting point of the land before improvements are made. Topo surveys may also be used when creating plans for drainage ditches, grading, or other features, using the natural landscape as the basis for such improvements.
Engineers/Architects: Design professionals use topo surveys as an aid in designing buildings or other improvements to be situated on the property, as existing features may influence their design or decisions on where structures can and cannot be placed on the property. The data of a topo survey is also used in AutoCAD programs, where it can be manipulated by engineers or architects to demonstrate how the topography will change through planned improvements.
Legal: Government agencies may also require topographic surveys for any of a number of reasons—for example, as regulatory requirements for construction codes, or as part of environmental restoration projects.
WHAT IS INCLUDED WITHIN A TOPOGRAPHIC SURVEY?
A topographic survey map details existing site conditions over the natural state of the land as well as features that exist on the
ground or slightly above or beneath the earth’s surface. These features include:
OTHER TYPES OF TOPOGRAPHIC SURVEYS:
The following are focuses that can be included in a topographic survey, however, these are very much site dependent and are
often not necessary in a standard topo. Extra costs may be associated.