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SURV201 Surveying Methods 1

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.

Paper title Surveying Methods 1
Paper code SURV201
Subject Surveying
EFTS 0.1334
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,173.39
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Pre or Corequisite
SURV 298 and one of SURV 101, SURV 111, SURX 101, SURX 111
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 Robert Odolinski
Practical and Lab Support: Emily Tidey, Craig Tidey, Mike Denham, Judy Rodda, Kelly Gragg

Paper Structure

The paper covers:

  • Basic calculations, mainly on Excel, 12D, and the HP35s calculator
  • 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 1-hour lectures per week
Practicals: 12 practical sessions (comprising a 1-hour pre-practical session followed by a 4-hour practical in streams for which students usually attend at least half the time) 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


It is strongly recommended that students purchase the course book containing skeleton lecture slides and tutorial exercises (for about NZD$18). Further material is covered on the whiteboard in lectures and tutorials. Most of this material will be recorded. All methods of delivery are important for student understanding and any may be examined in tests and the final exam.

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 and Total Stations
  • Conversant with error types and their detection, prevention and mitigation
  • Able to describe and use surveying techniques for engineering surveying

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 09:00-10:50 9-14, 16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 12:00-15:50 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22
Wednesday 16:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22
Thursday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 16-22