1. What is surveying?

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Surveyors play a crucial role in infrastructure development. They literally lay out the groundwork for construction by mapping out boundaries and land features that need to be incorporated into the design plan.

A lot of surveyors spend their time outdoors, conducting field work and using cool surveying equipment like drones. Other times, they’re indoors preparing key reports for civil engineers and urban planners.

Check out the video below from Practical Engineering to find out about the history and definition of surveying. If you're really keen, have a go at the land surveying activities within.

So how does surveying actually happen in a huge project like the Toowoomba Tunnel?

Let's deep-dive into some of the more technical terms and methods for conducting surveys on large-scale infrastructure projects...

Aerial LiDAR: This method uses data capture from an aeroplane that creates aerial images as well as a point cloud that gives a representation of the existing ground levels. It provides data for flood modelling and enables initial design studies to be undertaken for the most appropriate alignment:

These days, more and more surveyors are using drones to conduct LiDAR surveying:

Survey Control: Physical ground control points that have values in both position and height that are used to ensure data sources are all aligned.

Cadastral Surveying: This refers to the definition of property boundaries and ownership, and is especially important when you are acquiring land or affecting property owners with construction.

Feature Surveys: An additional ground survey that records all of the existing features such a fence lines, drainage structures, buildings, roads, street furniture, trees etc. that informs detail design.

Did you know 👀
Working alongside land surveyors will be environmental and cultural heritage investigators, making sure the project is sustainable and community-conscious. For the Toowoomba tunnel project, this assessment stage alone has taken 2-3 years 😮