Classification of Surveying Based on Instrument Used

Classification Based on Instrument Used

  • Chain survey.
  • Compass survey.
  • Theodolite survey.
  • Plane Table survey.
  • Tachometric survey.
  • Aerial Photographic Survey.
  • Remote sensing.

Chain Surveying

  • Surveying with a chain/tape
  • Used for determining distance – a linear measurement
  • Suitable for surveys of small extent on open ground.
  • Purposes – to define boundaries of a piece of land or to take some details.
  • Denotes measuring distance either with the help of a chain or tape
  • Direct measurements.

Compass Surveying

  • When area is flat, distances are measured in straight lines.
  • When area is undulating or has obstacles, the line has to go in a zig-zag fashion.
  • Direction of the lines is necessary when required for plotting in paper.
  • Compass used to define direction.
  • Compass gives bearing of a line.
  • The bearing are required for plotting the line on paper.
  • Every map has to be provided with a North.

Plane Table surveying

  • In normal surveying, field observations are taken first and then plotting done in office.
  • Plane table surveying involves simultaneous plotting along with taking field observations.


  • Rapid
  • No field book required
  • Mistakes of booking field notes avoided
  • Can compare work on the field itself


  • The other types of surveys give only the horizontal dimension
  • The vertical coordinates is defined by a level.
  • Denoted as reduced level or elevation
  • Used for defining alignment of roads, for setting of drainage lines etc.

Theodolite surveying

  • Instruments such as chain, compass, level give one form of dimension.
  • Theodolite is used for both horizontal and vertical measurement, in the form of angles.
  • Works on the principle of optics.
  • Used for defining angles unlike compass that gives only bearings.
  • Highly used equipment.


3 Comments on “Classification of Surveying Based on Instrument Used”

    1. Vry detailed information about the various classification of survey and the instrument
      Of each and every type of survey is being explained.

      Thank you for such a detailed explanation of survey 😉👍👍👌

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