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Considering the

entire area

By offsets to the
baes line
Based on field
By latitudes


Based on
scaled from a

By coordinates


Usually by a

Based on field measurements considering the entire area

In this method, the area is divided into number of geometrical figures such as triangles,
rectangles, squares and trapeziums and then the area can be calculated according to one of
following method. Computing the area can be achieved in two steps.
1 st step
Area of a triangle:
Area= s ( sa ) ( sb )( sc )
Where a, b and c are sides and s = (a + b + c) / 2
Area of rectangle
Area=a b
Where a and b are sides.

Area of square
Where a is the side of the square.
Area of the trapezium
Area= ( a+b ) d
Where a and b are the parallel sides and d is the perpendicular distance between them.
2 n d step
The area along the boundaries is calculated as follows.


01 , 02=ordinates
x 1 , x 2=chainages

Area of the shaded portion=

01+ 02
( x 2x 1 )

Total area=area of the geomatrical shape +area of the boundary

Areas from offsets to a baseline offsets at regular intervals

This method is suitable for long narrow strips of land. The offsets are measured from the
boundary to the base line or a survey line at regular intervals. This method can also be
applied to a plotted plan from which the offsets to a line can be scaled off. There are 4
methods in order to calculate the area.
Mid-ordinate rule
Average-ordinate rule
Trapezoidal rule
Simpsons rule
Mid-ordinate rule
In order to apply this method, we assume that the boundaries between the extremities of the
ordinates are straight lines.
The base line is divided into a number of divisions and the ordinates are measured at the mid
points of each division.
Area=common distance*sum of mid ordinates
Mid ordinate=o1+o2/2=h1
Area=d (h1+h2+)
Average-ordinate rule
In this method also we assume that the boundaries between the extremities of the ordinates
are straight lines. The offsets are measured to each of the points of the divisions of the base
Area=sum of ordinate/no.of ordinates *length of base line
Area=o1+o2++on/o (n+1)*l
Trapezoidal rule
This rule is based on the assumption that the figures are trapeziums. This rule is more
accurate than the previous two rules which are approximate versions of this rule. This rule
can be applied for any number of ordinates.
Area enclosed by one trapezium=o0+o1/2*d
Total area is the sum of each separate trapezium.
Total area= o0+o1/2*d +

Total area=d/2*(o1+2o2++2on-1+on)
Total area=common distance/2*(1st ordinate + last ordinate+2[sum of other ordinate]
Add the average of the end offsets to the sum of the intermediate offsets. Multiply the total
sum thus obtained by the common distance between the ordinates to get the required area.
Simpsons rule
In this rule, we assume that the short lengths of boundary between the ordinates are parabolic
arcs. This method is more useful when the boundary line departs considerably from the
straight line.

The area is equal to the sum of the two end ordinates plus four times the sum of the even
intermediate ordinates plus twice the sum of the odd intermediate ordinates, the whole
multiplied by one-third the common interval between them.
Even though this method gives more accurate results out of other three methods, this is only
applicable when the number of divisions is even.

Areas from offsets to a baseline offsets at irregular

There are two methods to find the area when the ordinates distances are irregular.
1st method
In this method, the area of each trapezoid is calculated separately and then added together to
compute the total area.
2nd method
Area by coordinates

Latitudes and departures double meridian distances

This method is one of the most frequently used for computing the area of a closed traverse.

In order to calculate the area by this method, the latitudes and departures of each line of the
traverse are calculated. Then the traverse is balanced.
A reference meridian is then assumed to pass through the most westerly station of the traverse
& the double meridian distances of the lines are computed.
Meridian distances
The meridian distance of any point in a traverse is the distance of that point to the reference
meridian, measured at right angles to the meridian.
The meridian distance of any line is equal to the meridian distance of the preceding line plus
half the departure of the preceding line plus half the departure of the line itself.

Area by latitudes and meridian distances

East-west lines drawn from each station to the reference meridian, thus getting triangles and
One side of each triangle or trapezium will be one of the lines, the base of the triangle or
trapezium will be the latitude of the line, and the height of the triangle or trapezium will be
the meridian distance of that line.
Area of triangle or trapezium=latitude of the line*meridian distance of the line

Double meridian distance

The double meridian distance of a line is equal to the sum of the meridian distances of the
two lines.
The D.M.D. of any line is equal to the D.M.D. of the preceding line plus the departure of the
preceding line plus the departure of the line itself.
Area by latitudes and double meridian distances
A=area of dDcC+area of CcbB-area of dDA-area of ABb
Area from departures and total latitudes

Area by double parallel distances and departures

A parallel distance of any line of a traverse is the perpendicular distance from the middle
point of that line to a reference line (chosen to pass through most southerly station) at right
angles to the meridian.
The DPD of any line is the sum of the parallel distances of its ends.
The principle of finding area by D.M.D method & D.P.D. method are identical.

Area by coordinates
This method can be applied when the offset intervals are irregular.

The procedure for this method is that from the given distances & offsets, a point is selected as
the origin.
Then the coordinated of all other points are arranged with reference to the origin.

Instrumental method
The instrument used for computation of area from a plotted map is the planimeter. The area
obtained from this instrument is more accurate than other graphical methods.
The two types of planimeter are:
Amsler polar planimeter
Roller planimeter
Procedure of finding the area with a planimeter
The Vernier of the index mark is set to the exact graduation marked on the tracer arm
corresponding to the scale as obtained from the table.
The anchor point is fixed firmly in the paper outside or inside the figure. It should be ensured
that the tracing point is easily able to reach every point on the boundary line.
A good starting point is marked on the boundary line.
By observing the disc, wheel and Vernier the initial reading (IR) is recorded.
The tracing point is moved gently in a clockwise direction along the boundary of the area.
The number of times the zero mark of the dial passes the index mark in a clockwise or
anticlockwise direction should be observed.
Finally, observing the disc, wheel and Vernier the final reading (FR) is recorded.
Then, the area of the figure may be obtained from the following expression.
Are=M (FR-IR+- 10N +C)
M=multiplier given in the table
N=number of times the 0 mark of the dial passes the index mark
C=constant given in the table



Side hill
Three level


From spot

By cross


By equal

Volume calculation from cross sections

This is the most widely used method.
The total volume is divided into a series of solids by the planes of cross sections.
Cross-sections are established at some convenient intervals along a center line of the works.
Volumes are calculated by relating the cross-sectional areas to the distances between them.
In order to compute the volume it is first necessary to evaluate the cross-sectional areas,
which may be obtained by the following methods:
By calculating from the formula or from first principles the standard cross-sections of
constant formation widths and side slopes.
By measuring graphically from plotted cross-sections drawn to scale, areas being obtained by
planimeter or division into triangles or square.
The various cross sections may be categorized as,
Level section
Two level sections
Side hill two level sections

Three level sections

Multi- level section

Level section
In this case the ground is level transversely.

Depth of centre line or height of embankment = h

Formation width = b
Side width = w
Area = h(b + mh)

Two level sections

Area = 1/2m [(b/2 + mh)(w1 + w2) b2/2]

Side hill two level sections
In this case, the ground slope crosses the formation level so that one portion of the area is in
cutting and the other in filling.

Area of fill = [(b/2 + kh)2/(k-m)]

Area of cut = [(b/2 - kh)2/(k-n)]

Three level sections

Area = m [(w1+w2) (mh+b/2) b2/2)

The volumes of the prismoids between successive cross-sections are obtained either by
trapezoidal formula or by prismoidal formula.
The prismoidal formula

A prismoid is defined as a solid whose end faces lie in parallel and consist of any two
polygons, not necessarily of the same number of sides, the longitudinal faces being surface
extended between the end planes.
The longitudinal faces take the form of triangles, parallelograms or trapezium.
The total volume of the pyramid can be stated as follows.
Where h is the length of the prismoid measured perpendicular to the two end parallel planes

A1=area of cross-section of one end plane.

A2= area of cross-section of other end plane.
A=the mid area
In order to calculate the volume of earth work between a number of sections having area a1,
a2, a3, , an spaced at a constant distance h apart.
Total voume=h/3[(a1+an)+4(a2+a4an-1)+2(a3+a5an-2)]
This is also known as Simpsons rule for volume.
In order to apply this formula, it is necessary to have an odd number of cross-sections.
If there are even numbers of sections, the end strip must be calculated separately, and the
volume between the remaining sections may be calculated by prismoidal formula.
The trapezoidal formula (Average End Area Method)
It is no more accurate to use the prismoidal formula where the mid-sectional areas have not
been directly measured than it is to use the end areas formula, particularly as the earth solid is
not exactly represented by a prismoid.
Hence this method is based on the assumption that the mid-area is the mean of the end areas.
In that case the volume of the above prismoid is given as,
v = h [ ( A1 + A2) / 2 ]
but this is true only if the prismoid is composed of prisms and wedged only and not of
In some cases the volume is calculated and then a correction is applied the correcton being
equal to the difference between the volume as calculated and that which could be obtained by
the use of the prismoidal formula. the correction is known as the prismoidal correction.

In order to calculate the volume of earth work between a number of sections having area a1,
a2, a3, , an spaced at a constant distance h apart.
V = d{[( A1 + A2) / 2 ] + A2 + A3 + An-1}
level section



level side hill two three

level sections


h1h2 )2


Volume from spot levels

In this method, the field work consists in dividing the area into a number fo squares,
rectangles or triangles and measuring the levels of their corners before and after the
Thus, the depth of excavation or height of filling at every corner is known.

V = Area of the figure average depth.

Therefore for a rectangle with corner depth ha, hb, hc and hd,

Volume of a group of rectangles or squares having the same area

h1 = some of depths used once
h2 = sum of depths used twice
h3 = sum of depths used thrice
h4 = sum of depths used four times.
A=horizontal area of the cross-section of the prism

Volume of a group of triangles having the same area

Volume from contour plan

Contour lines may be used for volume calculations and theoretically this is the most accurate
However, as the small contour interval necessary for accurate work is seldom provided due to
cost, high accuracy is not often obtained.
Unless the contour interval is less than 1m or 2m at the most, the assumption that there is an
even slope between the contours is incorrect and volume calculation from contours become
There are four distinct methods depending upon the type of work.
By cross-sections
On the same cross-section used to draw the ground surface the grade line of the proposed
work can be drawn and the area of the section can be estimated either by ordinary methods or
with the help of a planimeter.
The area of the cut and fill can be found from the cross-section.
The volumes of earth work between adjacent cross-sections may be calculated by the use of
average end areas.

By equal depth contours

In this method, the contours of the finished or graded surface are drawn on the contour map at
the same interval as that of contours.
At every point, where the contours of the finished surface intersect a contour of the existing
surface the cut or fill can be found by simply subtracting the difference elevation between the
two contours.
By joining the points of equal cut or fill, a set of lines is obtained.
These lines are the horizontal projections of the lines cut from the existing surface by planes
parallel to the finished surface.
The volume between any two successive areas is determined by multiplying the average of
the two areas by the depth between them, or by the prismoidal formula.

H=contour interval
V-total volume
V=sigmah/2 (a1+A2) by trapezoidal
V=Sigma h/3(A1+4A2+A3) by prismoidal formula
By horizontal planes
This method consists in determining the volumes of earth to be moved between the horizontal
planes marked by successive contours.

e along



















According to the given data above we can plot a graph to determine the enclosed area of the
given survey line.





















In this particular survey line there are two distinct Chainage intervals of 20m and 30m.
Therefore when calculating the area it has to be separated into two parts.
The method used to calculate the area is the trapezoidal rule since it is more accurate than the
mid-ordinate rule and average-ordinate rule and Simpsons rule cannot be applied because the
number of divisions is not even in the plotted plan.

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