Land surveying has a lot of different uses, one of the most notable being mapmaking. However, not all maps are created equal. There are several different types of maps, all of which serve a purpose for surveying, city planning, construction, and more. The following are some of the most common types of maps created through surveying and what they’re used for. This will help you know whether you’re getting the right map for your project.
Most people are reasonably familiar with topographic maps, and they’re likely the first kind of map you think of when you think of land surveying. This type of map shows the landscape features of an area, from hills and mountains to lakes and streams. They’re typically structured in such a way that the lines and shading indicate changes in elevation, which is useful if you’re assessing uneven or hilly land.
While not commonly used in land surveying, it’s possible for civil or corporate projects to need a resource map of a given area. These maps are created to show the natural or agricultural resources located throughout an area, including mineral deposits, farms, natural gas, lumber, and other resources. This information is useful in determining whether it’s safe or legal to construct in a specific area.
These maps are self-explanatory: they illustrate the climate of an area. They can include temperature readings, snow levels, rain frequency, or even the average number of cloudy days. While this may not be useful in some situations, it can be handy to know if you’re building in an area with a high frequency of rain (and therefore potential for flooding) or snow, which may change the way you need to build.
A flood map is used primarily by insurance companies to determine areas prone to flooding, which can change premiums for users. It also helps at the civil level for a city to plan for flood control and management, as well as determine when flood alerts should be put in place. Elevation is also a factor, helping determine the safest places to build. Surveyors use flood maps to assist with the preparation of elevation certificates.
This is another familiar sight. These are the maps we use all the time to determine where we’re going and how best to get there, and similarly they can help surveyors determine property boundaries and projected construction. Many road maps are based upon the land subdivisions created by land surveyors.
It’s always good to know what sort of map you need for your project. A reputable survey company should be able to tell you which type, or types, you’ll need and why. If you’re ever in doubt, just ask. Questions are encouraged!