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Five Applications of Topographic Surveys in BC

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Topographic surveys are essential tools for analyzing and mapping the natural and man-made features of a landscape.

In such a survey, land surveyors gather data on the terrain, including elevation, contour lines, and the location of existing structures, utilities, and vegetation. In our vast province of British Columbia, topographic surveys are critical for a variety of purposes. Here are five applications of topographic surveys in BC.

Land Development

High density condominiums are springing up everywhere – from Vancouver Island to the Lower Mainland and into the Okanagan region. In order to get these large-scale projects built, developers require a topographic survey to create an accurate map of the terrain. The survey will show the topography of the land, the location of existing structures, and any natural features such as water bodies, trees, or rocks. This information is integral to create a site plan that will guide the development process.

Engineering and Construction

Topographic surveys are a crucial tool for engineers and construction professionals. They aid in the designing of structures that are functional, safe and capable of standing the test of time – think roads, highways, bridges, and other public infrastructure connecting communities in BC. Topographic surveys also help in identifying potential hazards, such as steep slopes, rocky areas, or wetlands. The surveys help engineers to design drainage systems, utilities, and infrastructure that will work with the natural terrain.

Environmental Assessments

Topographic surveys are a vital component of environmental assessments. They can identify marshes, flood zones, and other sensitive areas. This can in turn determine the potential environmental impact of a proposed development or energy project like the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Topographic surveys can also be used to monitor changes in the landscape over time, which is important for assessing the effectiveness of environmental remediation projects.

Technician performing a topographic survey

GeoScan technician performing a survey along a rivershore in BC

Real Estate Transactions

There are several types of land surveys that might be required for real estate purposes. Some examples include legal surveys and subdivision surveys. Topographic surveys can be useful in determining property’s boundaries. Data collected can show any easements or encroachments on the property, which is crucial for resolving disputes. By highlighting the land’s features, topographic surveys can also play a part in assessing the value of a property. A BC Land Surveyor can be a great ally for realtors, homeowners, and would-be purchasers.

Natural Resource Management

The logging and mining sectors are two of BC’s longest-standing industries. Topographic surveys are essential for the management of these natural resources. They provide information on the land’s contours, which is critical for identifying areas of high ecological value, such as wetlands or old-growth forests. Mines can be planned and designed based off the information gathered from a topographic survey. Additionally, they can play an integral role in determining how best to extract resources and pinpoint the areas of mineral deposits. 

Group of derelict wooden structures along a beach

A recent survey site, where GeoScan conducted a topographic survey and geophysical assessment

In conclusion, topographic surveys are essential tools for a wide range of applications in British Columbia. Whether you are planning a land development project, assessing the environmental impact of a proposed development, or managing natural resources, a topographic survey can provide the accurate information you need to make informed decisions. 

Have a project that requires a topographic survey? GeoScan has several BCLS-accredited land surveyors on the team and was recently named one of the best surveying companies in Vancouver. Get in touch with us today to book a job.