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Measurement of distance with tapes

Precisions for different methods of measuring distances are given below:-

Pacing (ordinary terrain): 1/50 to 1/100

Taping (ordinary steel tape): 1/1000 to 1/10,000.

Baseline (invar tape): 1/50,000 to 1/1,000,000

Stadia: 1/300 to 1/500

Subtense bar: 1/1000 to 1/7000

Now with technological advances, a technique called Electronic distance measurement or EDM is replacing the use of steel tapes as they are much more precise then steel tapes.

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Units of Measurement

Units of measurement used in past and present surveys are

For construction work: feet, inches, fractions of inches (m, mm)
For most surveys: feet, tenths, hundredths, thousandths (m, mm)
For National Geodetic Survey (NGS) control surveys: meters, 0.1, 0.01, 0.001 m
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What are the Corrections Applied in Surveying?

For surveying, we need to have some prerequisite conditions. If these conditions are not met we can have a huge variation in result. Therefore we have to apply corrections to get the true result.

Ideal Conditions
1) A tape accurate to 0.00305m or 0.01 ft should be used.
2) Tension of the tape should be about 66.7N or 15 lb.
3) Temperature should be determined within 5.56°C or 10°F
4) The slope of the ground, should be within 2 percent

On ground these are nearly impossible to achieve and thus corrections need to be applied.
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What is Orthometric Correction?

We know that earth flattens in the polar direction and this curvature of earth is responsible for the departure of horizontal line from a level surface. To counter this error, orthometric corrections is applied.

This departure in feet, Cf is calculated as
Cf= 0.667M2=0.0239F2

This departure in meters, Cm is calculated
Cm =0.0785K 2

where M = distances in miles from the point of tangency to the earth.
F= distances in thousands of feet from the point of tangency to the earth.
K = distances in kilometers from the point of tangency to the earth.

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