Principles of Chain Surveying or Linear Surveying | Civil Engineering

Chain Surveying or Linear Surveying | Surveying and Levelling

It is the method of land surveying in which only linear measurements are made.

Chain surveying requires chain, tape and ranging rods.

Chain surveying is not suitable for large areas having many details.

(The term “details” means a natural or manmade features at or near the ground surface).

Chain Surveying
Chain Surveying

It consists of the following:

Hard details

Hard details include buildings, roads, walls etc.

Soft Details

Soft details include river, vegetation, trees etc.

Overhead details

Overhead details include power and telephone lines.

Underground details

Underground details include survey of water mains, sewer etc.

Principles of Chain Survey

A triangle is a simple figure which can be plotted from the lengths of three sides even if the angles are not known.

In chain survey, the area to be surveyed is divided into a framework consisting of triangles.

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Field work in Chain survey | Surveying in Civil Engineering

Field work in Chain surveying | Surveying and Levelling

Earlier, we discussed “Principles of Chain Surveying” and the considerations that are taken for carrying out Chain Surveying… In this article, we will discuss various instruments that are essential for carrying out Chain Surveying.

Here are the steps to be followed for carrying out Chain Surveying:

  1. Reconnaissance Survey
  2. Marking stations
  3. Running survey lines
  4. Taking offsets

Instruments used in Chain Survey

  1. Chain, 20m or 30m long
  2. Tape
  3. Arrows
  4. Ranging rods
  5. Wooden or Iron Pegs
  6. Plumb bob
  7. Cross staff

Chain used for Surveying

20m chain – 100 links

30m chain – 150 links

1 links – 20cm

Links of chain are made by mild steel wire – 4mm diameter.

Chain used for Chain Surveying
Chain used for Chain Surveying

Each link at the end is bent into a loop and is connected to adjoiningly by means of three oval rings which offers flexibility to the chain. Ends of chains carry brass handle.

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Classification of Surveys and Surveying Methods in Engineering

Classification of Survey

Study of classification of surveys is a major part of the study of Surveying as a whole. The surveys are conducted using various different instruments. The use of instruments depend upon its availability and suitability to the site.

Surveys are classified as following:

  1. According to the instruments used for the survey
  2. According to the purpose of the survey
  3. According to the method employed for the survey
  4. According to the field of work

In this article, we will list out the classification in each and category and study them in detail…

According to the instruments used

Chain Survey

Chain Survey is conducted using different lengths of chains specifically made for the surveying purpose.

Compass Survey

As the name itself suggests, the compass is used for the purpose of the survey.

Plane table Survey

Plane table is used for the purpose.


Theodolite Survey

Theodolite is an instrument that is useful for conducting accurate surveys.

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