Geodetic engineer works on and above the Earth surface, underground, underwater. Surveyors work in a great variety of situations, in cities, country towns and the remote areas, in an office, using computers and highly technical equipment.

  1. Tunnels
  2. Roads
  3. Railways
  4. Bridges
  5. Airport/runways
  6. Buildings/factories
  7. Dams
  8. Canals
  9. Irrigation
  10. Drainage
  11. Sewerage
  12. Maps, cadastral
  13. Monitoring tectonic drifts


Building tunnels is an example of application where GPS can not provide much helpfulness.

2—Boring machine for building a tunnel
3—British and French workers meet each other

The Chunnel Tunnel is a 50km trail tunnel connecting Great Britain with France. It was laid under the sea and was opened in 1994. On the above picture group of workers moving from France meets group from Great Britain roughly 100 m under sea level.


The need for surveying engineer is when planning the project and during the construction process as well.


The need for surveying engineer is when planning the project and during the construction process as well. Todays' railways have a speed of over 300 km/h. Every millimeter is being computed and measured.


Bridges are often being built in the middle of nowhere. Road or railway is connected later according to a project. Bridges consist of several pieces which have to fit precisely together in proper place and into proper level.


Runways are typically 2 to 5 km long. Although there are runways laid in greater than 10 % slope, maximum slope is usually less than 2 %.


Establishing the proper locations of building foundations and checking for exact location of pillars needs geodetic surveyor. The workers, even with a site plan, will not be able to evaluate positions themselves.


The altitudes of surrounding areas have to be measured and evaluated or challenging project can morph into mother of floods (it will become very likely anyway).


Canals are usually megaprojects which are intended to serve hundreds of years. The geodetic surveyors participate in several important tasks during planning and during construction. Later they are involved to monitor changes and to keep the path always open for ships.

Suez Canal (close to 200 km of length) in Egypt was opened in 1869 after 10 years of construction work. Panama Canal (77 km) was started in 1881, but works were interrupted due to engineering problems and diseases. Project was brought back to life in 1904 and finished in 1914.


If levels of the irrigation canal do not follow project, all the effort is wasted.


Drainage is a system to drain rain water either from field (to protect crops) or from areas where people live.

1—Laying down drainage system
3—Drainage areas in part of India


Sewerage is a system to collect waste water—typically from houses—to treat it in sewage plant.

1, 2—Sewerage in Moscow, Russia
3—Sewerage in Japan

Maps, cadastral

Mapmaking was part of human history for a long time, possibly for up to 8,000 years. Integral part of mapmaking is cadastral, which maintains land titles. Government agency keeps an accurate description of the location of every parcel and who owns it.

1—Map of the World from 1707 by Thomas Cavendish
2—Map of Phnom Penh from 1971 by Defense mapping agency
3—Topographic map
4, 5, 6—Cadastral map

Monitoring continental drifts

Geodetic surveyors use satellites to help to predict earthquakes, monitor sea level changes and continental drift.

1—Earthquake fault line
2—Earthquakes' monitoring

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