Construction is one of the largest industries in the world. Surveying plays an extremely important role in any construction project. Construction surveying can take many forms. It is used to establish the location and alignment of highways, bridges, buildings, pipes, and other man-made objects. After large-scale projects are completed, an "as-built" survey is performed to locate any modifications that were made to the plans during construction.
Highway surveys involve the location of alignments and computation of volumes materials that must be added, removed, or moved. It initially requires a topographic survey of the site. For large projects, photogrammetric methods will be used to develop the base map. The base map is used by surveyors and other professional to create a base plan for the project. After the alignment has been established, the quantities of earth that must be added or removed are computed. The goal of most projects is to minimize the hauling distances of the earth. This is done using mass diagrams. Eventually surveyors layout the elevation and slope of the various subgrades, base, and top coat materials. The end result is a smooth alignment with smooth transitions from straight to curved sections allowing for safe public transportation.
Traditionally, a highway alignment survey involves the placement of wooden stakes to mark the highway's location. Today, GPS equipment is being used to provide real-time positioning and alignment of construction equipment. This form of stakeless construction has changed the requirements of surveying personnel working in construction. In addition to the computations required for placement of alignments, today's construction surveyor needs a strong background in coordinate systems, map projections, and geodetic principles.
Building construction is another area of construction surveying. In this field, the correct placement of footings, foundations, piers and other items of building construction are essential for a sound structure. A university education can provide you with the knowledge required to practice in the area construction surveying.
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