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Topographic Surveys


    The purpose of a Topographic Survey is to gather data about the natural and man-made features of the land, as well as its elevations. From this information, a three-dimensional map can be prepared. These maps aid in architectural and engineering design. A topographic survey or a “topo” survey is a survey of the natural and selected man-made features of a portion of the earth’s surface by remote sensing and/or ground measurements to determine horizontal and vertical spatial relations. They are typically used for graphically depicting the surface of a particular parcel of land and any man-made features and elevation changes. A topographic survey may be tailored to suit the needs of the client. A topographic survey may show contours at one, two or five foot intervals. The smaller the contour interval will result in more field measurements and higher cost.

    A topographic survey prepared by Manzie & Drake Land Surveying will include at least the following items:

  • A minimum of two benchmarks on site with a description and elevation noted to the nearest 0.01’. Typically the elevation datum will be based on either National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29) or North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88)
  • Contours are generally drawn at a 1 foot contour interval. However, sometimes only spot elevations are shown at the clients request.
  • Existing building features and finished floor elevations are shown.
  • Physical features are located and shown on the plan. These features include but are not limited to fences, roads, curbs, driveways, paths, walls etc.
  • Drainage (sewer and storm water) features and structures, visible from the surface of the ground with invert and rim elevations.
  • Utility (power and communications) features and structures, visible from the surface of the ground.
  • The perimeter outline of cleared or wooded areas, as appropriate.
  • Bodies of water and the elevation of the water level.



    Click the following image for an example of a topographic survey performed by Manzie & Drake Land Surveying.


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