Topographical Surveys – Everything You Need To Know

What Is A Topographical Survey?

A topographical survey is a survey that accurately depicts the contours, elevations and boundaries of a development site, including both natural and manmade features such as the positioning of neighboring buildings, streams, trees and ponds. 

It is an essential component to any project, allowing architects, civil engineers and contractors to visualise the land they are working with and ultimately help with the planning of construction.  

What Are The Steps Involved? 

When undertaking a topographical survey, the process typically involves:

  • The collection of project information such as the surveyed area, the level of detail required and the most accessible format for the client 
  • Overall project planning, the management of time spent at the site and the cost of labour
  • The gathering of site data via the use of specialist equipment
  • The processing of the site data and the AutoCAD sketches produced
  • Quality assurance checks 
  • Product delivery to the client

What Information Is Included?

  • The positioning and elevation of surrounding infrastructure
  • The spread and width of neighbouring trees
  • Flora, bushes and vegetation
  • The situation of electricity, gas and water chambers
  • Telephone and power lines
  • Sewage and drainage systems
  • The locations of kerbs
  • The height and contours of the ground’s surface
  • The development site’s boundaries and fencing
  • Water features such as ponds, streams and lakes

Once the information has been produced, these surveys can be used for:

  • The creation of plans, section and elevation drawings – CAD (Computer-Aided Design)
  • 3D Point Cloud surveys, allowing the creation of 3D site modelling
  • Informational site photography

What Are The Benefits Of A Topographical Survey?

  • Discovery of unforeseen problems and the planning of preventative solutions, reducing costs and saving time
  • Knowledge of the ground’s condition underneath your property, safeguarding the durability and stability of the infrastructure
  • The historical record of land ownership, acting as evidence in the event of a dispute

When Would You Need A Topographical Survey?

Topographical surveys are usually required within most construction projects in their initial stages because they unearth the differences between the proposed blueprints of a site and its actual condition. These surveys provide accurate information that allows contractors to account and plan for any obstructions that may have been previously overlooked, saving time and money. 

Topographical surveys can also be commissioned to serve as a historical record of your property boundary should the ownership of land ever be questioned or disputed. 

Other uses for a topographical survey include:

  • The design and implementation of drainage structures
  • The re-positioning of property boundaries

How Much Does a Topographical Survey Cost?

The cost of a topographical survey is dependent upon the size of the area, the time spent on site and the level of detail required by the client. For further information or advice on commissioning a topographical survey, contact Fosse Surveying by calling 0116 2325169 or sending an email to

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