Money & Careers

Century-old tools still in vogue for land survey

At a time when modern technology has touched nearly every aspect of governance, some government offices, particularly those in taluks around the city, continue to use centuries-old conventional technology.

Visitors to Ambattur taluk office often stare in amazement at the long rows of iron chains and rods prominently displayed on the premises. They are nothing but land surveying instruments used by the surveyors.

Though the office is equipped with modern land surveying instruments, these conventional devices are still used to measure vast expanses of land, particularly in rural areas.

M. Kumaravel, a sub-inspector of survey, said, “Each chain with 100 links is 20-metres long. We use it to measure the length and breadth of land, spread over hectares.”

Pointing at the needles, he said that they are fixed at the intersecting points in the measuring process. For instance, if the length of the land is 100 metres, the chain has to be used five times and the needles would help in accurate survey.

Every village administrative officer would have a pair of these conventional instruments.

While global positioning system-enabled tools synchronising various kinds of measurements are now being introduced, it is yet to reach some of the taluk offices and land surveyors in the rural areas.

Cross-staff, another device with a wooden block mounted on a four to five-feet-long rod, is also used for measuring horizontal or vertical angles. Theodolite, the precision device, is the modern version of the cross-staff, say the field surveyors.

Madan K. Raj, deputy tahsildar, said that chains are named after its inventor Gunter and they are in use since the 1850s. “The measurements are based on the Pythagoras theorem,” he said.

It takes nearly two months for surveyors to master the art. The condition of conventional devices and their accuracy is regularly inspected during the Jamabandi, an audit of land records and revenue.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 8:57:18 PM |

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