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Land surveyor carrying out an integrated total station and RTK GPS topographical survey

Land surveyor carrying out an integrated GPS and robotic survey with a one-man total station

Land surveyor mapping a disused scrapyard

Surveyor mapping by a disused scrap yard

Land Surveyor setting out on a residential development

Setting out on residential development

Land surveying services- mapping the world in 2d & 3d

From our base in Shropshire, we offer Land Surveying services across Shropshire, the surrounding counties and the UK. Land Surveying is the accurate collection of three-dimensional points and the relationship between them to map the topography of the Earth’s surfaces, be that:

Land Surveying is the technique, profession, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them.

Source: Surveying – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Read more about being a land surveyor as a career option

The tools and techniques used are as varied as the environments surveyed. From GPS receivers, Theodolites, dumpy levels, and the humble pocket tape through to electronic tapes, digital cameras, smartphones, drones and Laser Scanners. Many of these techniques allow data to be recorded remotely. Potentially important in hazardous or dangerous conditions.

Professional Land Surveyors must be adept in several fields including Mathematics, Physics, Engineering and Law. By using Geometry & Trigonometry they can understand complex three-dimensional relationships. Physics to understand the movement and propagation of electromagnetic waves, to calculate distance and understand hidden objects. Law to interpret and analyse boundary data in the event of a boundary dispute between neighbours.

Setting out is the reverse of the Land Survey process, whereby a Land Surveyor takes a design and accurately marks out or sets out the position/dimensions of the design in the real world.

Topographical survey for a planning application for a new religious building

An example land survey: Topographical survey for a planning application for a new religious building

Why is a land survey important?

Land surveying is an important part of the development process. It is important because it provides information about the shape and size of your property or development, as well as the terrain, boundary features, heights of vegetation or structures, and the context of the site to its surroundings.

Land surveying from a design perspective

It is important to know that your design/site layout can fit onto your site. A few years ago a client designed housing layouts with very tight design limits between houses, garages and features for conveyancing purposes. However, their design process produced many compound errors multiplied across the whole site. This meant the whole site rarely fitted on the ground compromising what they wanted to achieve.

Land surveys from a boundary perspective

Disputes often arise from a misunderstanding of the accuracy of the title plan and the mapping that the title is drawn on. Land registry title plans use a scale of 1:1,250 while site plans for a planning application are more typically 1:500. Scaling up a plan from 1:1250 to 1:500 introduces problems and magnifies. It should also be noted that The Land Registry does not check one title against neighbouring titles. So titles can actually overlap leading to neighbour disputes over a few inches. Instead, the Land Registry use thick lines designed to cover potential errors. In most cases, the red line on a title plan is in fact 2 meters wide on the ground. In America, this is largely avoided with cadastral surveys that show the real boundary potions.

Land surveys from a planning perspective

An accurate land survey enables a designer to properly understand a site and its context in the surrounding topography and landscape. The landscape setting is an important planning consideration for successful planning applications. A drone land survey widens that scope allowing for an even great understanding of your site. How can drone land surveys help with planning permissions?

The Ordnance Survey produces plans that can be quickly obtained, however, their data is not as accurate as a land survey. Some of The Ordnance Survey’s data is free and may be suitable for your needs for sketch plans and the like. However, it is important to be aware that OS MasterMap data (paid-for data) is only accurate to a point. MasterMap data comes in 1:1,250 (Urban), 1:2,500 (Rural) and 1:10,000 (Mountain/moorland) scales. Typically a land survey comes in 1:100, 1:200 and 1:500 scales. Measured Building Surveys are 1:100 or smaller. The smaller the scale value the better the Level Of Detail (LOD) and accuracy. Confusingly, small-scale mapping refers to large-scale values that show large areas but smaller levels of detail.

Survey plottable accuracy of 1mm and 0.5mm on a printed plan at various scales:



1mm on ground:


0.5mm on ground:


OS plan accuracy

As 1:1250

400mm over 60m
1200mm over 200m
3500mm over 500m

The above is a simple view of the plottable accuracy of paper plans. Scaling up a plan from 1:1250 OS MasterMap data to 1:500 is perfectly possible but it should be noted that scale errors will be magnified. The RICS have some more specific information about level of detail/accuracy. This leaflet breaks down the technology and the purpose of the survey and what to expect at a given LOD or scale.

Accuracy and precision aren’t the same

Drone surveys: Accuracy and precision aren't the same
Accuracy and precision aren’t the same. It is important to understand the difference

Why control networks are critical to land survey accuracy

Establishing a highly accurate and reliable land survey control network is essential for any project requiring precision measurements and data. At Crucial Services, we draw on decades of experience to design and implement complete control networks, using the latest in geomatic technologies such as aerial drones and terrestrial laser scanning. Our experienced team ensures that the control networks are accurate, repeatable and relevant to your needs, providing reliable spatial information for your project. We guarantee high-quality results with every job, ensuring that your project is completed on time and within budget.

Using the correct number and location for Ground Control Points and check points is important for an accurate survey & quality control

Using the correct number and location for Ground Control Points and checkpoints is important for an accurate survey & quality control

For example, if you want us to measure or monitor a linear feature like a dam for lateral movement, it is important for us to design our control network to minimise survey errors along the axis of potential movement. It is also important to locate control points away from any areas of potential movement. Failure to do this will introduce accuracy errors in the data. This is particularly important when potential movements are small. Understanding baseline lengths, scale factors, the curvature of the earth and atmospheric conditions can also be critical depending on the size of a survey and the relative accuracy required.

triangulation vs trilateration diagram
Triangulation vs trilateration diagram

Control points are important where repeat visits are needed, or a site will need to be set out at a later date. Triangulation networks use angles to calculate relative a position mathematically based on known points. Trilateration networks use distances to calculate relative a position mathematically based on known points. Satelite-based control points will only use trilateration based on one or more satellite constellations in orbit. Ground control networks will use a combination of triangulation and trilateration for a survey control network. Ideally, a combination of both triangulation and trilateration introduces redundancy into the control network and increases confidence. We will make sure our survey has the optimal network design for your project, whether large or small.

satellite constellations control networks use trilateration to calculate relative positions

Why choose us for your land surveying needs?

With over thirty years of experience servicing the needs of clients, our surveyors can readily apply that knowledge to your specific project. Our aim is to make sure your project goes smoothly. We have the expertise and experience to help you make smart investment decisions. We are committed to providing you with a personalized service, tailored to your needs so that you can be confident in your decision-making process. Whilst based in rural Shropshire we cover a wider area with our land survey services and have wide experience in many industry sectors and applications.

Land Surveyor surveying an operating theatre

Land Surveyor surveying an operating theatre in Greater London

Land Surveyor - during construction of The Millennium Dome

Surveyor during the construction of The Millennium Dome

Land Surveyor surveying a tower block

Land Surveyor measuring a hospital in Gloucester

Industry sectors covered

At Crucial Services we can offer Drone Surveying and Land Surveying Services to help make sure your project is a success. From our base in Shropshire, we support sectors with Land Surveys and setting out services. Sectors supported include:

Laser scan of church & churchyard

Laser scan of church & churchyard

Laser scan survey of air compressor factory

Laser scan of air compressor factory for residential and commercial conversion

Measured building survey of a church - Close up x-ray of Laser Scan data of the church

Measured building survey of a church. Close-up x-ray of laser scan data of the church

What land survey services we can supply

We supply Topographical surveys, Measured building surveys, site setting out services, 3D digital twin modelling, deformation monitoring and volume calculations from our base in Shropshire across the above sectors. We can deliver 2d maps and plans as well as 3d models in a range of formats to suit your needs. Be that wireframe, mesh or surface models, point cloud data, textured models or rendered models. Our integrated approach means we can also supply drone land surveys for faster, safer and complete data coverage.

Topographic map from drone survey

Topographical surveys

Dense point cloud of ground and air scanning data sets. Blue: from the ground. Green: from the air

Measured building surveys

Setting Out

Drone survey and modelling of heritage asset - 1870s Lime Kiln

3d modelling / digital twins

Survey and model of heritage asset using close range photogrammetry to measure crack

Deformation monitoring

Stockpile volume calculations from drone survey data

Volume Calculations

Whether your project is in Shropshire, Powys, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, the West Midlands or indeed the UK we have you covered!

For more information check out our other surveying services particularly our drone land surveying services and more about our drone surveying services generally. Here are 6 reasons why a drone land survey is a good idea