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Topographic Survey

Topographic SurveyWhile maps are two dimensional, an actual piece of property is decidedly three-dimensional. While a two-dimensional boundary survey may be adequate in terms of mapping a neighborhood or determining property lines, in most cases a three dimensional, or topographic, survey is necessary. Topographic surveys take into consideration the elevation of a property, that is, the shape of the earth’s surface, as well as its horizontal boundaries.

What is Included in a Topographic Survey?

Simply put, a topographic survey takes into consideration the topography of a piece of land. This type of survey maps out the features of the land, including hills, crevices, and angles. It also takes into consideration those structures which are already in existence on a piece of property, whether they are on the surface, above the surface, or slightly below the surface of the land. This can include natural structures, such as trees, as well as manmade structures including buildings, utility poles, and streets. In essence, a topographic survey aims to provide a written representation of the three dimensional aspects of a piece of land.

Why a Topographic Survey is Important

Topographic surveys are important to many individuals and companies who are involved with the development of a piece of land. Most specifically, professionals such as architects, landowners, and property developers utilize topographic surveys in their daily work. Topographical surveys are of utmost importance when it comes to planning and developing a piece of land. They are important not only in terms of structural location in relation to other property structures, but in terms of the design and construction of the building, as well. Depending on the elevation and grade of the land, certain building designs and structural components must be included in order to ensure the safety of those who will use the property in the future.

Requesting a Topographical Survey Prior to Construction

Topographical surveys are of utmost importance in terms of building construction and design. While engineers and architects understand the importance of this type of survey, laypersons often do not grasp the necessity of requesting a topographical survey prior to beginning construction. If you have recently purchased a piece of property in Northern Michigan and are looking to build a home or other structure, hire an experienced professional land surveyor and request a topographical survey. This will save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in the future, as a building company can use your survey in order to design and construct the structure of your choice.

David Heydlauff of DpS Surveying & Mapping began his career as a land surveyor in the Traverse City area in 1975. Since then he has been conducting a wide variety of surveys in Manistee, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim and Wexford County. If you are interested in having property in this area surveyed you can contact David at (231) 715-1318 or