You may have seen recently that we have introduced a new range of surveying services to our BIM service offering — something we are really excited about!  We have pulled together this quick guide to topographical surveys in order to give you an introduction to this particular service and explain how, why and when you might want to undertake a topographical survey.

We have tried to keep the jargon to a minimum and explain things in simple terms so that this guide can be used not only by architects, developers, engineers, and surveyors but by anyone interested in learning more about topographical surveys.

What is a topographical survey?

A topographical survey is a detailed representation of a specific area of land, which includes any man-made and natural features (such as service covers, trees and utility poles). They tend to be used for planning purposes, as they provide an accurate record of what a particular place looked like at a particular point in time.

Topographic surveys are also sometimes known as land surveys, topo surveys or topographical surveys — but they all usually refer to the same process and end result.

Having said that, most topographical surveys will look different from each other — as they depend on the reason the survey has been commissioned as well as the level of detail the client wants. Topographical surveys commissioned to map property boundaries for a planning application, for example, will look very different from a survey for highway design.

When to use a topographic survey

There are many different reasons why a client might want to use a topographic survey, but the most common reasons include:

  • Help with the layout of a construction project
  • Help with the layout of an infrastructure project
  • To identify property boundaries to support planning applications and resolve disputes
  • To record legal property boundaries
  • An aid to the sale or purchase of land
  • Providing a historical record of an area
  • Pinpointing of the location of natural or manmade features in a particular area

How a topographic survey is done

The equipment used to undertake a topographic survey is determined by the preferences of the individual survey manager, as well as the exact scope of the job. Environmental conditions, location and terrain will all need to be taken into account as well, to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy.

The CAD Room is delighted to welcome Craig Greaves, Survey Manager, onboard so that we can offer our clients a range of precise surveying services on time and on budget. We continue to strive to add value to our clients’ projects, helping them not only to understand the sites they are working on but the data they generate as well.

Want more information about our surveying services? Please get in touch on 0161 427 0348 or email us at