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CHAIN SURVEYING

CHAIN SURVEYING
The methods of land surveying can be broadly divided into two categories:
1.
Traversing: In traversing survey, the direction of the line or side is fixed by taking angular
measurements with the help of suitable instruments.
2.
Triangulation: In triangulation survey, no angular measurements are taken and the survey
work is carried out by taking linear measurements only in the field. The survey is also known
as chain triangulation or chain and tape survey or chain survey.
This is the simplest form of survey and it is very much useful under the following conditions:
a.
The area to be surveyed is flat, open and small.
b.
The details to be plotted are simple.
c.
The plans to be prepared are to be drawn on a large scale.
Principle of Chain Survey
The main principle of chain survey is to prepare a framework or network of triangles because a
triangle is a figure which can be plotted on paper by measuring its sides only. A well-proportioned
or well-shaped triangle has no angle greater than 1200 or smaller than 300. As far as possible, the
triangles formed should resemble to the shape of an equilateral triangle.
Well Conditioned Triangle: It is also called as well proportioned triangle. It has no angle greater
than 1200 or smaller than 300. As far as possible, the triangles formed should resemble the shape of
an equilateral triangle. It is important to form these so that the process of chain surveying becomes
smooth as the liability of error in all the three sides of a triangle is equal.
Survey Stations
A station in chain surveying is defined as the beginning point or the end point. It is a prominent
point on the chain line. Such station is known as main station. The main stations cover the
framework of chain survey.
Subsidiary or tie station are those selected anywhere on the chain line and subsidiary or tie lines
may be run through them. Thus, tie stations are the points on the main survey lines and can be
selected anywhere on the chain line. They are fixed while chaining of main survey lines is in
progress. The subsidiary stations help in running additional lines to locate the details which are
away from the main survey lines.
Great care should be exercised in the selection of survey stations and the following points should be
specially attended to while making the final location of survey stations.
1.
If possible, a long line should, be run roughly through the middle of the area to be surveyed
and it should form the back bone on which the triangles are hanged.
2.
It should be seen that as few lines as possible are run without the offsets.
3.
The chain survey lines between the stations should run in such a way that offsets of short
lengths only occur.
4.
The chain survey lines should be preferably on level ground and clear of obstructions in
ranging and chaining.
5.
The number of main stations should be brought dawn to a minimum. That is, the survey lines
should be as few as practicable and their selection should be such that: the framework can be
easily plotted.
6.
The stations, especially main stations, should be mutually visible.
7.
The stations should be selected in such a way that triangles formed are well proportioned or
well shaped.
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8.

The stations should be so designed that the, main principle of surveying, namely, working
from whole to part is strictly observed.

Survey Lines
Following are the three types of survey lines:
1.
Base line: The first line which is plotted on paper is called the base line and it is thus the
primary line which forms the base of the triangulation scheme. Hence, its ground length
should be measured accurately. It is the biggest of the main survey lines. Following points
should be observed at the time of fixing the base line of the survey work:
i.
If convenient, two base lines crossing each other in the form of letter X should be laid
out.
ii.
It should be on level ground.
iii.
It should roughly be the longest line running through the centre of the area to be
surveyed.
2.
Check line: Also called as proof lines. These are the lines which run in the field to check the
accuracy of the work. The length of
the check line measured in the field
must agree with its length on the
plan. A check line connects the
apex of a triangle with some other
fixed point on the opposite line.
They serve to indicate the
correctness of the work by their
location in the drawing.
3.
Tie line: A tie line is a line which
joins subsidiary or tie stations on
the main line. The main object of
running a tie line is to take the
details of nearby objects. It also
serves the purpose of a check line.
Conditions to Be Fulfilled By Survey Lines or Survey Stations
The survey stations should be so selected that a good system of lines is obtained fulfilling the
following conditions:
1.
Survey stations must be mutually visible.
2.
Survey lines must be as few as possible so that the framework can be plotted conveniently.
3.
The framework must have one or two base lines. If one base line is used it must run along the
length and through the middle of the area. If two base lines are used, they must intersect in
the form of letter X.
4.
The lines must run through level ground as possible.
5.
The main lines should form well-conditioned triangles.
6.
Each triangle or portion of skeleton must be provided with sufficient check lines.
7.
All the lines from which offsets are taken should be placed close to the corresponding surface
features so as to get short offsets.
8.
As far as possible, the main survey lines should not pass through obstacles.
9.
To avoid trespassing, the main survey lines should fall within the boundaries of the property
to be surveyed.
Locating Ground Features: Offsets
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An offset is defined as the lateral measurement i.e.distance measured from the chain line which is
taken to locate the position of a point with respect to the chain line. Or an offset can be define as the
lateral distance of an object or ground feature measured from a survey line. In general, an offset
should be taken wherever the outline of an object changes.
Types of Offsets:
Depending upon the length:
1.
Short offset: Its length does not exceed 15m.
2.
Long offset: Its length is more than 15m.
It is desirable to have as short offsets as possible as:
i.
The direction of measurement may also be changed for the long offsets resulting in the
erroneous length.
ii.
The tape which is to be used may have incorrect length and hence, in such cases, there
will be more error if the offsets are long.
iii.
They can be measured easi1y, quickly and accurate1y.
Depending upon the angle made by the offset
with chain line, the offsets are divided into the
following two types:
1.
Perpendicular or right-angled offsets: A
perpendicular offset is at right angles to
the chain line.
2.
Oblique or tie line offsets: The offset
is inclined at an angle other than 900 to
the chain line.
Field Book
The book in which the chain or tape
measurements are entered is called the field
book. It is an oblong book of size about 20 cm
x 12 cm and opens lengthwise. The main requirements of the field book are that it should contain
good quality stout opaque paper, it should be well-bound and of a size convenient for the pocket. In
the double line field book there are two blue lines in the centre of the book at a distance of about 15
to 20 mm. The space between the lines represents the survey or chain line. The distances are written
in this column or space and offsets on right and left hand sides are recorded accordingly. It is most
commonly used for ordinary work, the distance along the chain being entered between the two lines
of the page. In a single line field book, single red line is drawn through the centre of the page and it
represents the survey or chain line. The distances are written along the single line and offsets on
right hand side and left hand side accordingly. It is used for a comparatively large scale and most
detailed dimension work.
A chain line is started from the bottom of the page and works upwards. Offsets are entered in the
order they appear at the chain line. As the various details within offsetting distances are reached,
they are sketched and entered. Every chain line must be started from a fresh page. All the pages
must be machine numbered.
At the beginning of a particular chain survey, the following details must be given:
1.
Date of survey and names of surveyors
2.
General sketch of the layout of survey lines
3.
Details of survey lines
4.
Page index of survey lines
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5.
Location sketches of survey stations
At the starting of a chain or survey lines, the following details should be given:
1.
Name of the line (say, AB)
2.
Name of the station marked either by an oval or by a triangle
3.
Bearing of the line (if measured)
4.
Details of any other line meeting at the starting point of the survey line

Single Line Booking

Double Line Booking

Following points are to be observed while entering the contents of a field book:
1.
All the en tries should be made in neat hand writing and all the figures should be legible.
2.
Each chain line should be written on a separate page of the field book.
3.
If there are references to other pages, they should be clearly mentioned.
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4.

In case of measurements of a tie line, the position of the tie station should be clearly specified
in the beginning and in the end.
5.
It is the usual practice to record the entries in pencil.
6.
Other details such as date of survey work, name of the project, page index of chain lines and
stations, names of the members of party, north line, etc. should be written on the field book.
7.
The entries should not be crowded and they should be spaced at reasonable distances apart.
8.
The line showing the object should not be drawn in such a way that it crosses the column of
the field book.
9.
The measurements should be recorded as soon as they are taken and nothing should be left to
memory to avoid confusion.
10. The sketch of the object should not be shown in advance; but should be drawn as the work of
taking offsets proceeds.
11. The stations should be indicated by symbol of a triangle and the tie stations should be
indicated by a circle or an oval round.
12. The writing in the field book should be commenced from bottom to the top.
The field book should serve as a self-contained document for the draftsman to plot the details of
survey work without any help or guidance from the surveyor.
Field Work
Instruments required in chain surveying:
Following instruments are required for carrying out the chain surveying:
1.
Chain and 10 arrows
2.
Tape of 10 m or 20 m length
3.
Ranging rods and offset rod
4.
An instrument for setting right angles: say a cross-staff or optical square
5.
Plumb bob
6.
Field book with pencils, rubber, pen-knife, etc. for note keeping
7.
Box sextant, if any angle other than 90 is to be set up or measured
8.
Miscellaneous items such as hammer, axe, nails, pegs, bundle of string, chalk, etc.
Procedure for carrying out chain survey:
1.
Reconnaissance survey: The first principle of any type of surveying is to work from whole to
part. A reconnaissance survey indicates the preliminary inspection of the site of work and
hence, first of all, the surveyor visits the area to be surveyed. Before starting the actual survey
measurements, the surveyor should walk around the area to fix best positions of survey lines
and survey stations. During reconnaissance, the surveyor studies the salient features of the
site with reference to the following aspects:
i.
Index plan: The surveyor prepares an index plan or sketch in the field book showing
roughly the area to be surveyed and \mportant objects such as buildings, roads,
streams, etc. are included in this index plan. It also contains the sequence in which
the survey lines are to be measured. The stations are indicated by number or letter
and the direction in which the work is to proceed is shown by arrows.
ii.
Main stations: Suitable positions of main stations are decided by the surveyor. The
important fact to be kept in mind is the inter-visibility of main stations. The length of
the main survey lines are measured roughly by pacing or some such appropriate
method.
iii.
Study of the area: During reconnaissance survey, the surveyor has to carry out
intensive study of the site so that he can get a clear picture of the area to be surveyed;
probable difficulties to be encountered during the work, time required to finish up
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the job, and think of their solutions.


A good reconnaissance survey offers the following advantages
i.
It allows the work to be efficiently executed.
ii.
It also affects the cost of the survey work.
iii.
It grants proper planning of the work in the initial stages of the project.
iv.
The accuracy of the work is improved.
v.
The final result proves to be of better quality.
2.

Marking and fixing of survey stations: The stations selected during reconnaissance survey
should be properly marked on ground by using suitable equipment so that they can be readily
and easily identified.
i.
In soft ground, wooden pegs may be driven, leaving a small projection above the
ground. The name of the station may be written on the top.
ii.
Nails or spikes may be used in the case of roads or streets. They should be flush with
the pavement.
iii.
In hard ground, a portion may be dug and filled with cement mortar etc.
iv.
For a station to be used for a very long time, a stone of any standard shape may be
embedded in the ground and fixed with mortar etc. On the top of the stone,
description of the station etc. may be written.
Whenever possible, a survey station must be fixed with reference to two or three permanent
objects and a reference or location sketch should be drawn in the field book.

3.

Preparation of reference sketches: After marking of stations, the location or reference


sketches of these stations should be neatly drawn in the field book.
Running of survey lines: After the preliminary work has been competed, the chaining work is
then started. The base line is first to be measured. The work of running a survey line is two
fold:
i.
To chain the line
ii.
To locate the adjacent details
The work is carried out as follows:
i.
The chain is laid down on the ground after proper ranging.
ii.
The offsets of nearby details are taken and recorded in the field book in the usual
manner.
iii.
The chain is then stretched or taken forward and the process of chaining and
offsetting is repeated till the end of line is reached.
iv.
The other lines of the framework are then gradually taken and measured.

4.

Basic problems in chaining


The basic problems in chaining are:
1.
To erect a perpendicular to a chain line from a point on it
2.
To drop a perpendicular to a chain line from a point outside it
3.
To run a parallel line to chain line through a given point
4.
To run a parallel line to a given inaccessible line through a given point
Obstacles in chaining
Obstacles to chaining prevent chainman from measuring directly between two points and give rise
to a set of problems in which distances are found by indirect measurements.
Obstacles to chaining are of three kinds:
1.
Obstacles to ranging but not in chaining: This type of obstacle, in which the ends are not
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2.

3.

inter-visible, is quite common except in flat country. There may be two cases of this:
i.
Both ends of the line may be visible from intermediate points on the line.
ii.
Both ends of the line may not be visible from intermediate points on the line
Obstacles to chaining but not in ranging: There may be two cases of this obstacle:
i.
When it is possible to chain round the obstacle, i.e. a pond, hedge etc.
ii.
When it is not possible to chain round the obstacle, e.g. a river
Obstacles to both chaining and ranging: A building is the typical example of this type of
example. The problem lies in prolonging the line beyond the obstacle and determining the
distance across it.

Plotting a chain survey


The details entered in the field book are then plotted on pa per in the drawing office. Generally the
scale of plotting a survey is decided before the survey is started. The scale depends on the purpose
of survey, the extent of survey and the finances available.
The plan must be so oriented on the sheet that the north side of the survey lies towards the top of the
sheet and it is centrally placed. The way to achieve this is, is to first plot the skeleton on a tracing
paper and rotate it on the drawing paper. After having oriented it suitably, the points may be pricked
through.
The drawing materials required for plotting work include brushes, colours, ink, pencils, pins,
rubber, saucers, weights, etc.
Following are the drawing instruments required for plotting work:
1.
Compass box
2.
Drawing board of suitable dimensions
3.
Drawing table
4.
Paper
5.
Protractor
6.
Rolling parallel ruler
7.
Set of French curves
8.
Set of scales
9.
Set squares
10. Straight edge of steel
11. Tee square
The plotting work should be carried out carefully so that a decent well-looking drawing emerges
after the work is completed. The items such as lettering, inking, colouring, etc. should be done in an
artistic way. The map must contain the scale with which it is drawn and the north line should be
exhibited at suitable spot on the map.
Following points should be noted in connection with the plotting work:
1.
Base line: The base line should be drawn first in proper direction and then, other points of the
triangles should be established by intersection of arcs.
2.
Colouring: If colouring is to be done, it should be carried out from top to bottom and left to
right.
3.
Curves: If the survey work contains curved boundaries, the curves are inked first with the
help of French curves and the straight lines are joined neatly.
4.
Existing and new works: The existing features are 5hown in black outline and the proposed
works are shown by red outline.
5.
Plotting details: The framework is properly drawn and verified. The offsets are laid at right
angles to survey lines with the help of a set square or mini-drafter and their lengths are scaled
off. The details are then marked by points and for many details, the points are to be joined as
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6.

soon as they ale plotted.


Selection of scale: Depending upon the extent and purpose of the survey, the scale of plotting
should be decided. In general, the size of drawing sheet to contain the survey work will
influence the selection of suitable scale.

Some survey symbols:

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CHAIN SURVEYING

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