Tag Archives: traverse

Surveying for the Architectural Technologist

Birmingham City University, United KingdomIf your on the final year Architectural Technologist course @ Birmingham City University you might want to read the first five chapters of the very excellent book “Surveying for Construction” William Irvine & Finlay Maclennan. I have also listed another excellent book below, that will also help.

It covers the minimum you will need to carry out the task I have in mind for you on your return, using a dumpy level and all the related equipment, much of this you might well have covered so its really just revision. But you will need to understand all the aspects.

Chapter 1

Surveying Fundimentals

Chapter 2

Understanding Maps and Plans

Chapter 3

Linear Surveying

Chapter 4


Chapter 5


Chapter 7

Theodolites & Total Stations

Chapter 8

Traverse Surveys

At the end of this section I expect you to be able to carry out a reasonably complex survey of a piece of land, draw the survey, accurately with contours, understand how they might affect your building, and hand the results and your survey notes over to a QS for further work.

I also want you to understand the difference between Latitude & Longitude and Easting & Northings,  Chapter 7 & 8 are a good into to this,

Architectural Technologists will be called upon to produce this type of broad survey many times in their career, at the least you might have to brief a survey team, at worst, you will need to do it yourself, quickly and acuratly.


Architectural Technologist – Using a Traverse in Surveying

types-of-TraverseUnderstanding a traverse in Surveying is the next step in a small course I am setting up for my Students at Gloucester College. I want them to understand why I am going to such great lengths to teach them surveying, and that understanding the need and use of a traverse is important.

This wiki article is perhaps the first step, I like to describe it as the set up of a known datum, a series of lines from known points we can stretch a tape from so we can measure offset’s or set up a theodolite on to measure angles and organise a grid, its the basis of all measured surveys.

In my garden work, I now recommend all my clients to establish a traverse and put in pegs surrounded with a small amount of concrete to establish them for a long time.

There are two basic types of Traverse, an open or closed traverse. An open traverse is so often used on a thin linear sites, or were a single boundary needs to be established, a closed traverse or loop as you might understand it, is used on larger sites to establish all the boundaries of a site.

I might also introduce a third type of Traverse called a compound Traverse where I link two traverses together, this I use when plotting paths linking say a boundary closed traverse with open traverses down paths, so often needed when trees block surveying in the centre of a large estate,. I also use this when surveying complex site like the Gloucester campus where access is difficult in certain areas and I might link two closed loops together.

The video below is a short basic explanation, I used the Gloucester College campus to show the grassed area to the south of the main building as it’s where most of our survey work is done. The import of an OS map also allows me to use known Eastings and Northings to help establish the site traverse.