31444 - Topography T

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

After attending the course, and after having successfully passed the final test, the student has basic knowledge on matters of geodesy, reference systems and coordinates. He acquired the theoretical and practical bases for the use of topographical instruments, both in measuring angles, distances and height differences, both for the adoption of satellite precise positioning techniques. He knows the statistical treatment of topographical observations, made in contexts of simple network measurements, and of medium complexity. He knows, moreover, the basic concepts of the theory of cartographic representations, in order to create and use maps at different scales.

Course contents

Requirements/Prior knowledge

In order to succesfully attend the course the student should
possess basic knowledge of mathematics, geometry and algebra, as well as physical (trigonometry, calculus of derivatives, series expansions, simple notions of matrix calculus, conservative force, the potential of the force, electromagnetic waves) .

Course Contents

Geodesy: equipotential surfaces, the geoid, geometry of the ellipsoid; approximatios plane and spherical fields. Gedesics and the operational approximations. Transformation between coordinate systems (geocentric, geographic and locally defined coordinates).

Reference systems and reference frames, vertical datum and differences in elevation.

Statistical analysis of topographical measurements: gross errors, bias and random errors; probability distribution function and normal distribution; mean, variance and confidence levels; rules for propagation of variance; principles of least squares. Least squares adjustment of measurements using the indirect observations method. Analysis of results and precision

GNSS Satellite geodetic techniques: the GPS system; architecture of the system, structure of the transmitted signals, single, double and triple differences of carrier phase observations. Design and execution of GPS surveys, data processing and evaluation of precision. Static and dynamic surveying methods.

Modern topographical instrumentations: components and use of digital levels, theodoloites, electronic distance meters (EDM), total stations.

Surveying elementary schemes: differential elevation measurements, measurements of horizontal, vertical angles and distances. Reduction of data acquired. Intersections methods (forward, lateral, inverse), traverse and coded detail surveys. Trigonometric levelling and high precision geometric levelling.

Design and adjustment of networks:

Planimetric network: monumentation, surveying and adjustment

Vertical network: : monumentation, surveying and adjustment

GPS networks

Cartography: projections and theory of maps. Conformal maps, and the geodetic use of the Gauss conformal projection. National cartographic Agencies and map production; in particular the cartographic production of the Military Geographic Institute, (new and old series) and the technical cartography produced by the Region Emilia Romagna; use of geographical and cartographical grids.

Mention on cadastral cartography.


The educational material presented in class will be made available to the student in electronic format via Internet.
To get educational materials: http://campus.unibo.it/
Username and password are reserved for students enrolled at the University of Bologna.

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures, class exercises and practical field measurements.

The objective of the practical activities is twofold:

- make the student familiar with the land surveying instruments;

- develop the student's ability to adapt the surveying schene to the real conditions.

Assessment methods

The oral examination at the end of the course aims to assess the achievement of learning objectives about the fundamental knowledge by the student, in particular concerning the following aspects:
- elements of geodesy;
- coordinate and reference systems;
- theoretical and practical basis for the use of land surveying instruments for angles, distances and height differences measurements and for the use of Global Satellites Positioning Systems;
- statistical treatment of the surveying observations network, from simple schemes to medium complexity;
- introductory concepts of the theory of mapping representations, in order to know how to construct and use cartographic layers at different scales.

Teaching tools

Instruments employed in surveying and mapping such as optical-reading theodolites, analogue and digital levels, electronic distance measuring equipment, total station and geodetic GPS, will be described and used during the course. Description of surveying instrumentation and field activities are integral part of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Luca Vittuari