Modern equipment has come in, yet walking great distances is part of a surveyor's job

The image of a man in a hard hat standing on the road peering through his equipment on a tripod pops up when you think about a surveyor. The backbones of any major project, be it a road or a port or even a residential complex, they use different kinds of equipment to fix the temporary bench mark, survey the terrain, study all elements and provide a drawing based on which further decisions would be taken.

“When it comes to an existing road, supposing some improvement is being proposed, the surveyor will walk from point A to B and jot down measurements of elements such as edge of carriage way, median, telephone poles, shops, traffic junctions, curves, EB junction boxes, etc. This would be an observation of how the road lies. This kind of detail is needed when some work is to be taken up on a stretch of road,” explained S.Satheesh, who has several years of experience in surveying.

“Though surveying is based on science and relevant equipment is used extensively, it is also an art in its own way. In new projects there is a lot of creativity on the part of the surveyor…decisions made by surveyors are crucial to the project,” he added.

Though modern equipment has come in, walking great distances is still a part of a surveyor's job. B.Riaz, who has 15 years of experience as a surveyor on roads, said “The roads under the project are totally 30 km long and my team and I have walked several times through them. When I joined I worked on Chennai Byepass… at that time I was a novice… but now I supervise all surveying operations… it is hard work but it is interesting to watch a road or a bridge bloom in front of our eyes,” he said.

As surveyors work till sun down and in the middle of speeding traffic, they treat security as paramount. “We ensure that we wear safety jackets that reflect light and are bright. The hat is also a must. We place safety cones and two men stand with flags to ensure smooth flow of traffic and our safety,” Mr. Riaz added.

The Mean Sea Level (MSL) is a bench mark for every surveyor. When any major project is taken up, the surveyor scouts for the MSL marking in government buildings or railway stations or highways. “It helps us fix the elevation of the ground and it is done by erecting the temporary bench marks at regular intervals. Various equipment used in our work include dumpy level and auto level (to find elevation), theodolite (for angular measurement), total station (to study the elements) and global positioning system,” explained another surveyor, who did not want to be named.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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