Bell Land Surveying
Let's Talk
Our Story
When You Retain Us
Our Clients
Selecting a Surveyor
Land Survey Info

Professional judgment you can count on
Surveying the lands of California since 1982

Property Line Surveys

Central California terrain suitable for aerial mapping by photogrammetry
Topographic Surveys
Planning Considerations

The success of a topographic survey campaign is determined at the planning stages. Here are some of the important issues we'll discuss with you before beginning your mapping project:

Project needs

  • What are the long-term mapping needs of the project?
  • What mapping scale will best serve the project?
  • What accuracy specifications must the survey and mapping comply with?
  • Are there specific local public agency requirements?
  • How will budget constraints influence mapping decisions?

Site conditions

  • What existing site features are critical to project design?
  • Aerial mapping vs. ground survey mapping - which will be most effective?
  • Is the ground heavily obscured by vegetation or existing structures?
  • Is there significant terrain relief on the site? What contour interval is appropriate?

Ancillary mapping

  • Should existing utility infrastructure be investigated concurrently?
  • Is a digital terrain model (DTM) required?
  • Will a rectified orthophoto of the site be advantageous?

All of the above considerations impact the approach we take on each topographic mapping project. Every parcel of land is unique, and the costs of conducting surveys are highly varied. Please don't hesitate to call us to discuss your topographic mapping needs - we'll be pleased to meet with you to craft a custom plan that will meet the specific requirements of your project.


+  Planning considerations for successful topographic mapping
+  Aerial mapping versus ground survey - which is best?

It's important that design professionals have a high degree of confidence in the information they rely upon to develop their vision - the success of every project depends on a thorough understanding of the lay of the land and a complete picture of existing site conditions. We've been providing clear and accurate "topo surveys" to architects, engineers, local cities, and other public agency clients for three decades. Our topographic mapping serves as the foundation for informed decision making by the entire land development team.
Aerial Mapping vs. Ground Survey Mapping

Aerial mapping versus ground survey - which is the best approach? The existing terrain of a site dictates which mapping methodology is most effective. 

Benefits of aerial mapping 

    Aerial mapping:

  • is a highly cost efficient surveying method for mapping larger areas. 
  • provides the ability to map rugged, inaccessible terrain. 
  • creates a photographic record of the project site, a valuable snapshot in time. 
  • provides the option of useful ancillary digital tools such as orthophotos and electronic terrain models.

Scenarios where a ground survey may be preferred over aerial mapping:

  • The topographic survey is limited in size or scope.
  • The project site is heavily obscured by vegetation and/or improvements.
  • Highly detailed mapping of structures and other improvements is required.

  • Accuracy specifications exceed what is achievable with photogrammetric methods.
  • An inordinate amount of field time would be required to "ground-truth" the aerial mapping.
  • Time of delivery considerations cannot wait for clear visibility.​

We'll be pleased to work with you to evaluate which mapping method is most efficient and cost-effective for your project. We're just a quick phone call away.


Our Story
Our Clients
Selecting a Surveyor
Land Survey Info
When You Retain Us
Property Line Surveys

​About the Author:

Douglas Bell, PLS, is a Professional Land Surveyor licensed in four western states, and is a CFedS, a BLM Certified Federal Land Surveyor. He provides a range of property line, ALTA, boundary survey, topographic mapping, easement determination, encroachment investigation, and utility location services.

Mr. Bell provides land surveying services to engineers, architects, attorneys, and other land professionals in the private and public sectors in Southern California, primarily in Los Angeles County, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County. He can be reached via email:

25 year member of the California Land Surveyors Association
Doug Bell is a CFedS - a Certified Federal Surveyor
Copyright by Bell Land Surveying

Diamond Bar, California, 91765
Content protected by active online monitoring  -

Bell Land Surveying is Certifed as a Small Business Enterprise by the State of California
Bell Land Surveying is a certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE)