Topographic survey

Topographic survey is a type of survey that captures the elevation profile of a land area’s surface, creating a contour map of the terrain. The data collected in a topographic survey is in the form of points (see the entry for point cloud), which are used to determine exact points in space. The elevation data of the surface is then calculated and used to generate contours.

Topographic survey data, or topographic maps, display the elevation and grading features of the land, which is used by architects, engineers, and builders in the design and construction process.

Here’s an example of a traditional topographic survey (left) and topographic survey data collected by Site Scan, our drone mapping platform (right, with contours overlaid).

PCL survey results



Earthworks is the process of engineering involving excavation (cut) and movement (fill) of soils and rock for the purpose of grading a site. Drone software platforms enhance traditional earthwork processes by making it easier to collect, analyze, and share topography and volumetric data.


Revit is an Autodesk computer-aided design (CAD) software tool used for building information modeling (BIM) by design-build construction teams.


Navisworks is an Autodesk software tool used to manage, combine, and review various 3D model files.

See Site Scan in action

Learn how Site Scan can help elevate your workflow

Request a Demo