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What Are the Different Types of Land Surveyor Software?

By Amy Rodriguez
Updated May 17, 2024
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Land surveyor software varies in type, depending upon the surveying instrument that gathered the data. Instruments, such as total stations, global positioning systems (GPS), and hand held data collectors, require a uniquely compatible land surveyor software package for moving data points from the mobile device into the computer for analysis. Surveyors can build and manipulate the data, as needed, within the software program for creating a visual display of a land form in two or three dimensions.

Total station instruments record data points based on distance and angle readings. The instrument attaches to a computer through hard wired or wireless abilities, effectively copying the data points into the land surveyor software. Depending on the software's features, the inputted data points will create a picture of the land contours in two or three dimensions. Typically, the surveyor can move the computer visual to view the land elevation from above or from the side, allowing intricate analysis of the area covered.

GPS land surveyor software is commonly used for extremely large land formation data collection, such as for several square miles. The triangulation method of collecting data points through GPS allows the land surveyor software to create a three dimensional picture, rather than a flat two dimensional visual. Software users should be aware that civilian GPS has pinpoint inaccuracies, generating an error that can range from a few inches (centimeters) or even a full foot (meter). Only proprietary military GPS has extremely accurate data collection.

Hand held data collectors are the most manual of all instruments, requiring the surveyor to physically stand at each data point and record the position. The land surveyor software for hand held data collectors must retrieve the specific computer file and download it into the desktop or laptop computer after collection. Similar to total station data, the data points collected with the hand held instrument can be mapped into two or three dimensions.

All land surveyor software can print out the computer generated map for a hard copy, especially if a surveying crew must return to the field to verify any confusing or missing points. Most software has different modules that can be added on to enhance the basic land mapping ability. Maps can be split in half, allowing the addition of a computer generated building in the center section. This supplemental software helps surveyors and building engineers understand how a structure will rise from the natural land masses on a job site.

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