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.


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