Aerial Mapping and Surveying


In September of 1885, two men climbed aboard a hot air balloon and embarked on a journey across the state of Connecticut. Alfred Moore and John Doughty drifted across the state, snapping pictures of the landscape as they traveled. The collection of thousands of photographs created a enormous picture of the state. This is a process known as aerial surveying, which is one of the many types of land surveying. Aerial surveying and mapping is an important step in land development and identification, it is used for planning waterways and highways, and finding areas for building development.

When to Use an Aerial Survey

There are several different reasons to have aerial mapping and surveying done. Many times, when a section of land is examined, the layout of the land is not clearly visible. When a natural disaster such as a hurricane, forest fire, or tornado devastates an area, an aerial survey is performed by using an aircraft to take aerial photos of the damage. This survey is used to determine the total amount of damage that has occurred. Construction and land development companies also use aerial mapping. When new roads are in the process of being built, an aerial survey provides photographs of the proposed route of travel, or of the suggested build site, and identifies any obstacles such as rivers, difficult terrain, and property boundaries that are in the projected path.

The most common way to take aerial photographs is by using satellite imagery. The satellite generated photos have proven to produce the highest quality picture, available in 2 or 3-D to provide a detailed view of the land.

Aerial Mapping Challenges

Depending on different conditions, aerial surveying and mapping often face difficult challenges.

  • Winter Weather- Icy roads sometimes cause delays for a land surveyor. Heavily snow covered fields can obstruct the view of previous boundary markers or ornamental markers.
  • Vegetation- Thick over growth of trees and shrubs may cover existing boundary points. The removal or thinning of vegetation helps to provide a clear view of the area that is surveyed.
  • Terrain- Land that is rocky or in a mountainous area is harder to map than a level area.
  • Extreme weather- keep in mind that in periods of extreme weather, it is almost impossible to conduct an aerial survey.

Choosing a Land Surveyor

There are many land surveying companies in CT that can assist in aerial surveying and mapping. Before you choose a surveying company, it is a good idea to ask questions about the process and the company:

  • Are there hidden costs?
  • What qualifies the company to accurately survey the property?
  • How do they handle any issues that arise in the event that a mistake is made?
  • How long will the survey take?
  • Is the company licensed?

Key Takeaways:

  • A land survey must be completed before building or expanding property
  • Before selling property, have a survey done to establish fair market value.
  • Make sure that you are working with a licensed surveyor that is in good standing. 
  • Planning a survey in the spring can make surveying easier; the vegetation is light and the snow has cleared.

Need Help?

If you’re interested in or have been told you need a professional land survey, contact us today to request a quote!