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Land Survey Classes and Courses

Through land survey programs, students can learn the skills required to become a surveyor or surveying and mapping technician. These programs can also provide the opportunity to gain practical experience with the tools and techniques used by surveying professionals. Read on to learn about the classes and programs available in the field.

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Essential Information

Land survey classes are typically available through certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs in land surveying, civil engineering technology and civil engineering. Most programs include field experience with surveying equipment. Surveying and mapping technicians only need a high school diploma to enter this career path, but many have additional education on the post-secondary level. Surveyors are required to be licensed and so must have an associate's or bachelor's degree along with a few years of experience in the field.

List of Courses

Courses commonly found in land survey programs are described below.

Land Survey Instruments

Basic land surveying classes introduce students to survey instruments that collect positioning data for different plots of land. Students are exposed to boundary surveying, topographic surveying, drafting, remote sensing and geographic information systems. Students keep field notes, find common measurement errors, take accurate linear measurement and use instruments for determining elevations.

Subdivision Planning and Layout

This course trains students to design models of subdivisions complete with sewers, drainage systems and traffic circulation. They examine how an area's topography influences the way these systems should be set up and learn ways to work with soil and earth safely. Course participants identify and fix problems with their models that could influence water safety or the flow of traffic. The lecture portion of this land survey course deals with codes and environmental considerations, which students must also incorporate into their models.

Land Survey Computation

Land surveyor classes in computation introduce students to the mathematical procedures involved in land surveys and construction. Students use scientific calculators to deal with field data and measurements. Topics for this intermediate-level class include computing distances, direction and elevations. More advanced students might learn traverse computations and curve stakeout computations.

Boundary Location

Students taking this course gain practical experience retracing boundary lines, using original boundaries, land parcels, global positioning systems (GPS) and water boundaries. Students learn about a landowner's rights in terms of boundary disputes and the ethical responsibilities of surveyors when they create and maintain land boundaries. This course also examines the legal aspects of boundaries, including property descriptions, titles and liabilities.

Topographical Mapping

Topographical mapping classes introduce prospective land survey professionals to field sketching, plotting, traverses and planimetric maps, which indicate the horizontal position of features without noting their elevation. The principles of topographical mapping also include plotting cross sections, grading plans, photogrammetry (3D modeling of a scene) and mapping projections. These advanced land survey courses also teach students about gathering and analyzing field data through the use of GPS.

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