The history of topographic mapping has witnessed significant advancements, evolving from rudimentary tools to cutting-edge technology. In the early days, plane table and alidade were the primary instruments used for topographic mapping. The plane table, a flat, portable surface mounted on a tripod, served as a drawing board for the map, while the alidade, a straight-edged ruler with a sight, allowed surveyors to measure angles and distances to various points on the terrain. The process was labor-intensive, time-consuming, and limited in accuracy. As technology progressed, aerial photography, total stations, and satellite imagery became prominent methods for creating topographic maps, offering a broader perspective and improved precision. However, these methods were still costly and often inaccessible to smaller organizations. With the advent of drones, topographic mapping has been revolutionized, providing an efficient, cost-effective, and highly accurate means of capturing elevation data. Equipped with advanced RTK GPS receivers and cameras, drones can generate detailed maps and 3D models of the terrain.. The journey from plane table and alidade to total stations to drones illustrates the remarkable advancements in topographic mapping, reflecting humanity's continuous pursuit of innovation and accuracy in understanding our world.
Low Point Density
An adventurous surveyor mapping with plane table and alidade in mountainous terrain in 1952. Courtesy USGS
Cutting Edge Mapping Tools
We utilize modern RTK GPS receivers and RTK Drones to generate topographic maps of the highest level of detail.
High Point Density
At a typical 1cm ground sample distance our drones collect over 40 million points per acre. This increased data density allows us to create hi fidelity TIN models useful to engineers, surveyors, hydrologists and environmental studies.
We can deliver our topographic data in any format desired. From paper prints of Topographic Site Plans and Engineering Surveys to DEMs, DSMs, TINS, Point Clouds .las, .laz,