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    The use and calibration of standard surveying instruments. Includes fundamental surveying techniques and computational procedures, GNSS RTK surveying, and an introduction to precise engineering surveys.

    An important paper for learning about instrumentation and techniques that build a foundation for other surveying papers and also for a surveying career in the future. As well as covering principles and theory, the paper includes a significant percentage of practical work, applied calculation and analysis of observations, including those taken with GNSS receivers and Total Stations.

    About this paper

    Paper title Surveying Methods 1
    Subject Surveying
    EFTS 0.1334
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,206.20
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Pre or Corequisite
    SURV 298 and one of SURV 120, SURV 101, SURX 101
    SURV 211
    Limited to
    BSurv, BSc
    May only be taken by BSurv students or BSc students majoring in Surveying Measurement.
    Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission.
    View more information about departmental permission.

    Teaching staff

    Co-ordinator and Principal Lecturer: Emily Tidey
    Lecturers: Dr Paul Denys, Richard Hemi
    Practical and Lab Support: Emily Tidey, Craig Tidey, Mike Denham, Judy Rodda, Kelly Gragg

    Paper Structure

    The paper covers:

    • Basic calculations, mainly on Excel, matlab and 12D
    • Errors and angle measurement
    • Electromagnetic distance measurement (EDM)
    • Coordinate frames and projections
    • GNSS theory and practice, including processing data on Trimble Busieness Centre (TBC)
    • Miscellaneous instruments, including echo sounders and laser scanners
    • Surveying techniques for positioning and heighting
    • Topographical surveys
    • Feature coding
    • An introduction to engineering surveying techniques
    Teaching Arrangements

    Lectures: Two hours of lectures per week
    Practicals: 12 practical sessions (comprising a 1-hour pre-practical session followed by a 4-hour practical or lab session) per week
    Tutorials: One 1-hour tutorial per week
    All are important in gaining a thorough understanding of the theory necessary for carrying out the practical work and passing written assessments.

    Blackboard Use: Information and links will be provided on Blackboard as required.

    Terms: Students are required to gain a 40% weighted mean in the three internal tests, make a satisfacotry attempt at every practical and pass all practicals except one.

    Internal Assessment: 45% made up of weekly practical assignments and three tests which spread over the semester, making it important for students to keep abreast of the work right from the start of semester.

    Exam: 55%, 2 hours


    The recommended textbook for this paper is Uren and Price's "Surveying for Engineers", 5th edition, but this is optional.

    Another useful textbook is Anderson and Mikhail's "Surveying: Theory and Practice", 7th edition, again this is optional.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper should be:

    • Able to use standard computational techniques in surveying
    • Able to calibrate, care for, and use standard surveying instruments, including GNSS receivers, Total Stations and Terrestrial Laser Scanners
    • Conversant with error types and their detection, prevention and mitigation
    • Able to describe and use surveying techniques for engineering surveying


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 09:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 12:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    Wednesday 16:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
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