How to survey using a Steel Tape Measure

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How to survey using a Steel Tape Measure

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Part of the process of surveying land or a piece of property involves determining where the property begins and ends. Once you have a boundary marked for the property, you can start the process of determining the dimensions, which includes measuring all sides. You can take these measurements using various devices. When working with small plots of land, you can use a steel tape measure to complete all required measurements for the survey.


Step One

Purchase a steel tape measure that has at least 25 feet of measuring length. A smaller tape measure is not practical for a surveying job. If possible, purchase a 50-foot-long tape measure. Place the steel tape measure at the far side of the area you plan to survey. Surveying an area usually involves measuring length and width; expect to take more than one measurement.


Step Two

Continue extending the steel tape measure until you reach the opposite side of the area. Take the measurement in feet and inches. Using 1/4-inch measurements will increase accuracy of the survey. Use a 2-foot-long digital level to keep the measurement straight as you move the steel measure along. The tape measure will likely have a release lever you must push to release the tape.


Step Three

Measure to figure out the slope of each straight line with the digital level. Match the measurements you collected from the level to your distance measurements. For example, you might indicate that the western land boundary sloped upward for 6 inches for every 5 feet of distance.


Step Four

Create visual diagrams of the site you survey with a camera. Start with an outside shot of the entire piece of land. Move on to to pictures of each measurement you make. Focus the camera so you can see the markings on your steel tape measure.


Step Five

Photograph measurements and record measurements in the same order to reduce confusion. Place them beside each other in your final survey packet, both clearly labeled to show they are both detailing the same location at the site.


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