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Plane Table Surveying

Plane Table Surveying


Plane table surveying is the method of surveying in which fieldwork and plotting work are done simultaneously, and do not require any office work. Plane tabling is generally adapted for surveys that do not require high precision. It is mainly employed for small-scale or medium-sized mapping.


In the case of survey of plane tables, the geometric positions of the site are manuscripts in a map sheet using plane tables and the topographic details are then arranged on the map. Airplane table surveying is one of the fastest and easiest methods of surveying. Plotting of plans and field observations can be done at the same time in a plane table survey.


It is useful for the following cases:
1. It is best for small scale survey ie any type of fields
2. It is also used in surveying industrial areas where compass fails to perform survey
3. It is often used to fill details between stations determined by the triangulation method or theodolite traversing method.


Equipment Used in Plane Table Survey


  • Plane table
  • Alidade for sighting (telescopic or simple)
  • Plumb bob and plumb fork
  • Compass
  • Spirit level
  • Chain
  • Ranging rods
  • Tripod
  • Drawing sheet and drawing tools
  • Paper clips or screws

Methods of Plane Table Surveying

Generally there are four methods are available to perform plane table surveying. They are:

  • Radiation
  • Intersection
  • Traversing
  • Resection

Benefits of aircraft table survey:

  • More work will be done in less time and labor.
  • It is less expensive than a theodolite survey.
  • It is best suited for preparing small scale maps.
  • Controls and irregular objects can be accurately represented.
  • It is suitable in a magnetic field where you cannot rely on the compass survey.

Disadvantages of aircraft table survey:

  • Due to temperature changes, the table is responsible for warp.
  • If the sun is bright, it can be difficult to plot due to the stretch on the eyes.
  • Equipment and its accessories are heavy and cumber-less and are likely to be lost.
  • Compared to compass and theodolite surveys this is not very accurate for large scale surveys.

Principles of aircraft table survey:

  • To clearly distinguish, lowercase letters like P, Q, R, etc. on paper should be used to represent the corresponding points P, Q, R, etc. on the ground.
  • When taking places, the table should be fastened in position, and the elided should be centered on the station point plotted on paper or drawing sheet.
  • The table should be turned for orientation only, and when it is oriented correctly, it should be fastened to the re-position.