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Geodetic survey

Geodetic surveys cover large areas of the Earth’s surface with measurements over long distances, where curvature is significant and taken into account to reach a high accuracy.

 the relations with other disciplines in the area of geomatics, depicting the historical background and the key role in land exploration, the configuration of new states, and the delineation of borders. It describes the approaches adopted in measurement, derived from the consideration of the true spherical shape of the Earth, the principal instruments used and the trend to integrate them in a single one, and the various techniques adopted to collect field data according to the goals of the survey, and summarizes some of the fields of application, both in the domain of mapping and in construction and engineering. Surveying is a discipline with a long history, deeply rooted in the description of property and military mapping that has essentially contributed to the development of cartography, and its methods have evolved in parallel with the changes in technology, particularly with the search for a higher accuracy and efficiency. The article outlines some of the future directions, particularly those which are changing the past and current nature of the discipline. However, its key role in the fields of construction and engineering still ensures a prolonged practice using the present techniques.

The field of study of surveying is to accurately determine the absolute or relative three-dimensional spatial positions of points and features above, on, or beneath the surface of Earth, above or below sea level, by measuring the distances and angles between them. The operations of collection, management, fusion, calculation, and analysis of these geographical data are undertaken to reach a graphical representation as a map or plan, or a digital model available to a software application. The mathematical calculation of coordinates is basically performed using the principles of trigonometry by combining the measurements of angles and distances among points. A clear distinction is made between the process of measurement, the survey, and the set of concepts, theory, methods, and techniques which define the discipline of surveying. An increasingly stronger association within the various fields of geomatics – photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and cartography – is observed as the result of the use of common technologies, methods for data processing, and theoretical background. At the same time, other noncartographic applications also make use of the instruments and the techniques developed for surveying, such as manufacturing, structural engineering, architectural visualization, or medical reconstruction.

Absolute positioning

Control network

Control survey


Electronic distance measuring (EDM)

High-definition surveying (HDS)

Horizontal survey

Plane survey

Relative positioning


Total station

Traverse survey



Vertical survey.