An Old Trick Recalled

by Donald W. Smith, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. and Land Surveying Program Dir.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, Va.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 1, Pg. 35-49

Document Type: Journal Paper


Adopting practices that reliably orient land descriptions with respect to a time invariant meridian is seen as a necessity for land surveyors. As land values increase, the importance of precisely retracing originally intended boundaries increases. Orienting land surveys to an absolute meridian with improved reliability will permit future retracement with minimal effort and evidence. The solar altitude method of azimuth determination is suggested as a convenient technique that meets these requirements. Procedural improvements that enhance accuracy, convenience, and economy for this technique are presented. Computerized data reduction is emphasized. Error sources are evaluated through statistical inferences from experimental data. Anomalous atmospheric refraction is shown to generate systematic errors that are the most serious offenders in the solar altitude error regime.

Subject Headings: Land surveys | Errors (statistics) | Surveys (non-geomatic) | Domain boundary | Permits | Azimuth | Computing in civil engineering | System reliability

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