Chapter 1 Introduction






Importance of Surveys



Definition of Surveying






Public Relations







1.1 PurposeBack to top

The principal purposes of this Manual are:

This Manual, in general, covers surveying policies, procedures, and appropriate reference material. It is not a textbook or a contract document, nor is it a substitute for surveying knowledge, experience, or judgment. Although portions include textbook material, this Manual does not attempt to completely cover any facet of surveying. General policies and procedures, such as those related to safety, that apply to all NJDOT employees are not reviewed in this manual. They are omitted from the survey manual for two reasons. The first is to avoid inconsistencies and disparity between this manual and other established NJDOT policies and procedures. The second reason for not including them here is to avoid unnecessary revisions of this manual whenever policies and procedures change.

1.2 Importance of Surveys Back to top

1.3 Definition of Surveying Back to top

The traditional definition of surveying is:

The art of making measurements of the relative positions of natural and man-made features on the earth's surface, and the presentation of this information either graphically or numerically.

In 1990, the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) adopted a more contemporary definition of surveying. This definition is more specific about the particular activities involving a surveyor.

According to FIG, a surveyor may be involved in one or more of the following activities that may occur either on, above or below the surface of the land or the sea and may be carried out in association with other professionals:

The determination of the size and shape of the earth, and the measurement of all data needed to define the size, position, shape, and contour of any part of the earth surface.

  1. The positioning of objects in space, and the positioning and monitoring of physical features, structures, and engineering work on, above or below the surface of the earth.
  2. The determination of the position of boundaries of public and private land, including national and international boundaries, and the registration of those lands with the appropriate authorities.
  3. The design, establishment and administration of land and geographic information systems, and the collection, storage, analysis and management of data within those systems.
  4. The study of the natural and social environment, the measurement of land and marine resources, and the use of the data in the planning of development in urban, rural, and regional areas.
  5. The planning, development, and redevelopment of property, whether urban or rural land.
  6. The assessment of value and management of property, whether urban or rural land.
  7. The planning, measurement, and management of construction works, including estimate of cost.
  8. The production of plans, maps, files, charts, and reports.

This list includes some activities that are not universal to all countries or organizations, because it was prepared by surveyors from different countries. Nevertheless, it is informative to know the extent of the scope of surveying.

In recent years there was a trend to use the term Geomatics instead of surveying. The rationale for Geomatics is that surveying has changed and expanded beyond what people traditionally considered as surveying. Since the adoption of the term Geomatics is not universal, the term will not be used in this edition of the survey manual.

In summary, surveying is performed to determine the relative location or positioning of points on or near the earth's surface. More specifically, surveying is the science of making measurements, relative to known or assumed datum and standards, and applying the principles of mathematics to such measurements to determine existing or future horizontal and vertical position, form, area, magnitude, boundaries, and extent of land parcels and topographical features.

1.3.1 Types of Surveying

There are numerous types of surveying. The classification is based mostly on describing a specific surveying activity such as construction surveys, etc. Sometimes the classification is determined by the methodology used to perform it (i.e., geodetic surveys). The following are some of the types of surveying:

1.3.2 Related Activities

Surveying also includes the related activities of:

1.4 Organization Back to top

1.4.1 Survey Sections

In NJDOT, Survey Sections may be organized either on an area or on a functional basis. In the "area" organization a Survey Operations Manager is responsible for all surveys, of whatever type, in a given area. This area may be a region, specific counties, district, or the entire state. Under the "functional" system, individual field crews are assigned to specific types of surveys; for example, control surveys, planning and design surveys, land surveys, or construction surveys.

1.4.2 Survey Functions

Basically, a Survey Section will perform and provide all surveying services and data required. Surveying functions may include, but not be limited to the following:

1.4.3 Survey Crew

The survey crew shall consist of sufficient employees to safely and efficiently complete the proposed work. It shall include a crew chief and survey assistants. Crew size may be increased as required by operational considerations such as: safety, survey type, terrain, survey priority, and weather. In addition, crew size may be reduced if safety of personnel or the public is not jeopardized by the reduction. Survey Crew Daily Report

  1. Reporting - Daily, each crew chief should record his or her crew's operations. Entries shall be made daily, regardless of whether the report is submitted on a daily or weekly basis. Errors are much more probable when entries are delayed for one or more days and made from memory.
  2. Submittal - Submit this report either daily or weekly as directed by the Survey Operations Manager.
  3. Information to Report - Include the following minimum information:
  4. Other Information - This report may also be used to record any other information the crew chief desires to make a part of the written record.
  5. Precautions - Carefully prepare each Survey Crew Report. Survey Crew Reports should be as neat and accurate as survey notes.

1.5 Public Relations Back to top

1.5.1 General

  1. Importance - Public relations is one of the more important duties of the surveyor. This is especially true for surveyors who enter onto private property. The wide variety of situations encountered by the surveyor requires a constant awareness of the rights and needs of others. The ability to adjust to these needs is also required.
  2. Basic rules - Common sense and common courtesy are the best rules in any form of public relations. Be prepared, and try to create a good impression when meeting the public. First impressions, whether good or bad, are often lasting. Maintain a pleasant, professional attitude at all times and be informed about your job. The impression you create thereby will be a credit to you, your profession, and the Department of Transportation.

1.5.2 Internal Relations

  1. Survey Crew - Proper relationships within a survey crew are necessary if individuals are to function as a team.
  2. Region - Good relations among region personnel can be maintained through good communications and a clear understanding of responsibility. When in doubt about the requirements of a survey request, telephone the requester for clarification.
  3. Department - Relations and contacts with other Regions and with Central Office should be courteous and business-like.

1.5.3 Reporting Unusual Occurrences

A vital part of public and internal relations is the prompt reporting of unusual and unexpected occurrences.

  1. Types of Occurrences - These are incidents which:
    1. Affect public safety.
    2. Involve damage to NJDOT facilities.
    3. Could lead to litigation.
    4. Involve NJDOT and would be considered newsworthy.
    5. Involve other governmental agencies on matters of mutual interest that would affect NJDOT.
    6. Might have a derogatory effect on the NJDOT.
  2. Examples:
    1. Traffic accidents.
    2. Flood damage, landslides, and earthquakes.
    3. Damage to or failure of facilities.
    4. Public protests or demonstrations affecting use of facilities.
  3. Reporting - All incidents must be reported immediately. A written report of observations may be required. Notify the Regional Survey office and/or immediate supervisor if occurrence is during normal working hours. In addition to the above, minor damage, or damage which does not affect public safety must be reported to the appropriate Regional Maintenance supervisor, or the project engineer if on a construction project. Thefts of State equipment or supplies must be reported to the New Jersey State Police. Additional reporting requirements can be found in Departmental Policy and Procedure directives.

1.5.4 Relations With the Public

1.5.5 Relations With Property Owners

Dealing with property owners is a most vital phase of public relations. Property owners are the ones who could be directly affected by the survey and, possibly, by subsequent construction. They will naturally take a close interest in any intrusion on their property, no matter for what purpose.

Good relations developed by conscientious surveyors carry over in the owner's attitude toward other NJDOT employees.

1.5.6 Entry on Private Property Right of Entry

NJSA 27.7-21g and NJSA 45:8-44.1 gives the State, acting through its employees, the right to enter private property to make surveys.  See Appendix A for further reference. Pre-Entry Contacts

NJSA 27.7-21g and NJSA 45:8-44.1 gives the State, acting through its employees, the right to enter private property to make surveys. See Appendix A for further reference. Notification

NJSA 27.7-21g and NJSA 45:8-44.1 gives the State, acting through its employees, the right to enter private property to make surveys. See Appendix A for further reference.

Before a State employee enters a property not in the State’s possession as of the time of entry, a written notice, in accord with the standard approved form, shall be sent to the owner of record by certified and regular mail or personally at least three days prior to entry (three days must be added to this time frame when notice is by mail) the notice shall only be signed and sent by a State employee even though entry is for a contractor or consultant. The notice shall state the purpose of the entry, the approximate date and time during which the entry will last and what specific activities will take place. The approximate anticipated length of the entry shall be included. The owner of record must receive this notice before any entry is actually carried out, even where the property is vacant or not farmed or where no physical disturbance of the property would occur. Objection to Entry

When a property owner or tenant objects to entry, DO NOT ENTER! If a property owner claims actual or anticipated damage or interference after a survey has begun, immediately leave the property. The Regional Survey Supervisor should be alerted and actions according to DEPARTMENT Policy and Procedure shall be taken to gain right of entry. The actual negotiation will be handled by the Regional Survey Supervisor. Conduct and Property Care

Conduct operations in a manner that will not create ill feelings in property owners or tenants. This will be accomplished by:

1.5.7 Private and Public Agencies Utility Companies

Survey data, new development, and other survey information are freely exchanged between utility companies and public agencies. This practice exists at the federal, state, county and local level and includes both public and private utility companies. To maintain this goodwill and a cooperative attitude, promptly reply to requests from such agencies and companies. Private Surveyors

Land surveyors, photogrammetrists and engineers in private practice have valuable information in their files which we frequently need. Their attitudes and the extent of their cooperation results, largely, from previous contacts. Survey Sections should cultivate good relationships with private firms. Extend full cooperation to them whenever possible (this includes access to our control data and right of way engineering information). Railroads

Property which a railroad owns primarily as a landowner (land which does not carry rails) should be regarded as any other private property.

Land which carries rails is called "operating Right-of-Way”. Before entry is made on such property, a notice of entry must be sent. Right of entry permit must be obtained from Railroad Company.

Stay alert at all times, and remember that you are there to survey safely. Railroad operations are not to be disrupted. Public Lands

Public lands should be treated as special types of private property where attention to additional regulations is required. Some of the types of public lands where you might survey are state parks, national parks, local parks, national forest, wilderness areas, state and national monuments, and historical sites. Pre-Entry Activity

Before surveying in agency areas:

  1. Contact the person having responsibility for the public facility. (This contact should be made by the crew chief or the crew chief’s immediate supervisor.)
  2. Explain the need for the survey, its anticipated duration, and any probable effects on the facility.
  3. Learn the requirements for working in these areas: permits, fire regulations, brush cutting procedures, and restriction on vehicular operations. In addition, the Park Supervisor (Ranger) might be able to give valuable information, such as the locations of control points and access roads.
  4. Orient each surveyor involved. Tell each about all survey requirements.
  5. Obtain required permits.

Forest and park rangers and supervisors are cooperative and helpful when all rules are obeyed. Consulting them in advance will ensure that regulations will not inadvertently be broken. Work Activity

  1. Survey within all the requirements determined above.
  2. Obtain additional permits when work arises which is not covered by an active permit.
  3. Consult with the ranger or supervisor when additional "non-permit" work arises.
  4. Inform the responsible ranger or official of your daily location.
  5. Notify the responsible official when you leave and when you reenter, when there is a substantial time break in the survey. Wilderness Areas

Surveys in wilderness areas are subject to very stringent regulations. DO NOT WORK in these areas prior to receiving approval from U.S. Forest Service. Usually, a permit will be required. Obtain approval for a survey in a wilderness area with the forest supervisor in charge of that area. State Parks

The New Jersey Department of Parks and Recreation requires permits for surveys in State parks. For reconnaissance surveys, the Regional Survey Supervisor or crew chief might be able to arrange for surveying without a permit by having a thorough discussion with the park supervisor. Law Enforcement Agencies

When a survey requires night work, notify local law enforcement agencies. This enables them to be aware of the source and reason for the appearance of "unusual" lights and activity.

1.5.8 Cemeteries

General Guidelines - Do not let survey activities interfere with the operation or maintenance of cemeteries. Contact cemetery owners to see if they have any special entry requirements. Pet cemeteries should be handled in the same manner.

Undocumented Sites - Be on the lookout for old cemeteries, large or small, when working in rural areas. In addition to obvious headstones, look for enclosed areas, unusual mounds of grass, and other indications. If evidence indicates a cemetery, the crew chief should promptly report the evidence to the Survey Section so proper approval can be obtained. When a cemetery or individual gravesite is not discovered until the construction phase, many problems can develop.

1.5.9 Archaeological Sites

Site Recognition - Most potential sites can be recognized only by a trained archaeologist. However, the more obvious evidence can be recognized by a layperson. Watch for such things as mounds of earth, fossil beds, charcoal pits, circular pits, and unusual stones. The archaeology departments of local colleges can furnish information on recognizing potential sites. The Bureau of Environmental Services can furnish information on recognizing potential sites.

Reporting a Site - When a site is located, the archaeologist needs considerable time for exploration. Therefore, promptly notify the archaeological representative.

Site Integrity - Leave the site in its "found" condition. Leave artifacts, undisturbed, at the site.

1.6 Safety Back to top

1.6.1 “Code of Safe Surveying Practices”

NJDOT employees survey in many different challenging environments. Rugged terrain, high-speed traffic, tools used, and construction equipment are some of the elements that typify survey hazards.

Most people have one thing in common with many who have experienced an accident: they believe it could not happen to them. A meaningful safety program requires that each Survey employee acknowledge that, "It can happen to me”. Each must also ask, "What is my responsibility?", and "What can I do to keep it from happening?"

NJDOT employees should consult and follow the safety codes and procedures as outlined in the most recent “Safety Manual” of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Each field employee shall have ready access to this manual.

Supervisors, crew chiefs and/or Field Supervisors are responsible for:

1.6.2 First Aid

The crew should be equipped with a First-Aid manual, and an approved first-aid kit.

1.7 Communications Back to top

Good communications are essential to efficient and safe survey operations. Survey employees shall strive to communicate as effectively as possible.

Besides the usual verbal and written communications, survey may directly or indirectly use the following communication systems:

NJDOT employees should follow the established regulations and proper conduct with regard to using and operating these devices.

Last Document Correction:
March 8, 2007