Chapter 5: Mobile Mapping Fundamentals

Nicolas MalloyAuthor: Nicolas R. Malloy


5.1 Overview


Land survey is the direct application of geodesy, linking mathematical models of the earth to physical reality through precise field measurements. Land survey measures and defines positional information on Earth, which is a crucial element of geospatial science.  While you may not expect to achieve a surveyor’s level of precision, at some point, it is likely that geospatial fieldwork you do will involve some form of measurement related to position, elevation, perimeter, or area. This kind of mapping data in the field is what I refer to as mobile mapping.

Chapter 5 presents a series of methods and equipment for mapping data out in the field. This chapter differs from others due to the hands-on nature of field collection that is difficult to translate into a digital textbook. The activities included in this chapter have far less focus on software and incorporate some outdoor activities that you will have to perform.

Learning Outcomes

  • Differentiate ways of defining direction on a map
  • Determine declination for a specific region
  • Perform conversions between different direction systems
  • Describe components of an orienteering compass
  • Practice methods for orienteering and ranging using a compass and a USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
  • Explain field methods for position and measure using triangulation, trilateration, and traverse
  • Discuss the principles behind the Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Identify sources of GPS error and inaccuracy
  • List ways of augmenting GPS Accuracy
  • Summarize the limitation of GPS technology
  • Complete a data collection plan for a project