Topographic surveys pinpoint natural features, identify man-made structures and determine land elevations, and these surveys are used for land development and improvements. Topographic surveys, also called contour surveys, are generally conducted either before a transfer of ownership or in advance of changes to a tract of land.
The purpose of topographic surveys includes the collection of:
- Exact data about the size, height and position of topographic changes that have taken place over time
- Topographic information that impacts drainage, ditches and grading, among other features
- Ground elevation data to depict terrain relief
Advanced technologies, including aerial drones, have increased the efficiency and accuracy of topographic surveys and mapping.