• It is a fundamental rule to always work from the whole to the part. This implies a precise control surveying as the first consideration followed by subsidiary detail surveying.

• This surveying principle involves laying down an overall system of stations whose positions are fixed to a fairly high degree of accuracy as control, and then the survey of details between the control points may be added on the frame by less elaborate methods.

• Once the overall size has been determined, the smaller areas can be surveyed in the knowledge that they must (and will if care is taken) put into the confines of the main overall frame.

• Errors which may inevitably arise are then contained within the framework of the control points and can be adjusted to it.

Surveying is based on simple fundamental principles which should be taken into consideration to enable one get good results.

(a) Working from the whole to the part is achieved by covering the area to be surveyed with a number of spaced out control point called primary control points called primary control points whose pointing have been determined with a high level of precision using sophisticated equipments. Based on these points as theoretic, a number of large triangles are drawn. Secondary control points are then established to fill the gaps with lesser precision than the primary control points. At a more detailed and less precise level, tertiary control points at closer intervals are finally established to fill in the smaller gaps. The main purpose of surveying from the whole to the part is to localize the errors as working the other way round would magnify the errors and introduce distortions in the survey. In partial terms, this principle involve covering the area to be surveyed with large triangles. These are further divided into smaller triangles and the process continues until the area has been sufficiently covered with small triangles to a level that allows detailed surveys to be made in a local level. Error is in the whole operation as the vertices of the large triangles are fixed using higher precision instruments.

(b) Using measurements from two control parts to fix other points. Given two points whose length and bearings have been accurately determined, a line can be drawn to join them hence surveying has control reference points. The locations of various other points and the lines joining them can be fixed by measurements made from these two points and the lines joining them. For an example, if A and B are the control points, the following operations can be performed to fix other points.

i) Using points A and B as the centers, ascribe arcs and fix (where they intersect).

ii) Draw a perpendicular from D along AB to a point C.


iii) To locate C, measure distance AB and use your protractor to equally measure angle ABC.

iv) To locate C the interior angles of triangle ABC can be measured. The lengths of the sides AC and BC can be calculated by solving the triangle.

Fixing the third points using two points
Fixing the third points using two points



The process of surveying:

The survey process passes through 3 main phases – the reconnaissance, field work and

measurements, and, the office work.

(a) Reconnaissance survey

This is a pre-field work and measurement phase. It requires taking an overall inspection

of the area to be surveyed to obtain a general picture before commencement of any serious survey. Walking through the site enables one to understand the terrain and helps in determining the survey method to be adopted, and the scale to be used. The initial information obtained in this stage helps in the successful planning and execution of the survey.

(b) Field work and measurement:

This is the actual measurements in the field and the recordings in the field notebook. To get the best results in the field, the surveyor must be acquainted with the functions of the equipments and take good care of them.

(c) Office work: 

This is the post field work stage in which data collected and recordings in the field notebooks are decoded and used to prepare the charts, planes and maps for presentation to the clients and the target audience.

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