cod. 13173

Academic year 2013/14
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Topografia e cartografia (ICAR/06)
Ingegneria ambientale e del territorio
Type of training activity
63 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
course unit
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Learning objectives

The student learns about measurement errors and their effect on conputations; knows how to roughly evaluate the order of magnitude of the results based on simple calculations; knows how to choose the best combination of instruments and surveying techniques. On the basis of fundamental concepts of surveying and cartography the student knows how to plan and execute the survey, adjust the observations and analyse the results.
The student applies his knowledge and undestanding by solving exercices, in the classroom or at home, that refer to engineering practice. Moreover, grouped in teams, students carry out a practical survey with total station, including the adjustment of a small network.
In the lectures it is stressed a problematic attitude towards the limits and validity of methods and approximations in the mathematical and statistical models; the exercices do not merely repeat the same case, but demand of the student a critical review of his knowledge.
Teamwork in the surveys exercices with total station help students to make and motivate choices, exchange opinions, draw conclusions. A written report is also required to illustrate the aim and the results of the survey.


Calculus and geometry: derivatives, integrals, linearization of functions, solution of non linear equations systems, matrix algebra.

Course unit content

Surveys determine the position of points wrt the Earth surface in a datum with controlled accuracy. Surveys are needed to produce technical maps, control displacements and deformation of large structures, vertical and horizontal terrain movements, in road construction.

Geodesy and Reference systems.
Surveying basic concepts. Geoid and Ellipsoid. Reference systems, coordinate systems, geodetic datum. Coordinate transformation and datum transformation. Elements of geodesy.

Classification of map projections. Gauss projection and its use in geodetic computations. UTM projection. Map production in Italy at different map scales. Cadastral maps.

Error theory and statistical analysis of data.
Errors. Probability and random variables. Error propagation law. Error ellipse. Inference: parametric tests and confidence interval. Least squares adjustment of observations. Tests on standardized residuals and significance of parameters. Measurement reliability.

Surveying instruments and surveying methods.
Total stations, levels; measurement of angles, distances, height differences.
Geodetic and topographic networks.
Observation equations of horizontal and height networks. Network simulation and adjustment. Georeferencing and co-registration of networks.

System description. Pseudo-range and phase observations. Systematic errors and modeling techniques. Accuracy of absolute, relative and differential positioning in kinematic and static surveys. Network design. ITRF and ETRF frames and trasformation to national datum and orthometric heights. Networks of GPS permanent stations.
Application of Surveying to civil engineering
Use of maps in engineering projects. Road construction and building construction surveys. Deformation and displacement monitoring in building, bridges; landslides displacement control

Full programme

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Recommended texbooks
B. Hofmann-Wellenhof, H. Lichtenegger and J. Collins – Available in the Biblioteca politecnica di Ingegneria e Architettura.
Global positioning system : theory and practice
Alfred Leick - GPS satellite surveying

Course material (slides of the lectures, lecture notes on statistical data analysis, exercices, etc.) in TOPOGRAFIA at Registration mandatory.

Teaching methods

Lectures, numerical exercises, field surveys, execution of a practical surveying project

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination can be either by solving numerical exercises and answering to written questions along the semester or by a discussion at the end of the semester.
The written questions are in the form of “True or False” questions; aim to evaluate the knowledge base and count for about 20% of the total score. Solving the exercices highlights knowledge, understanding and ability to apply them; they count for about 70% of the score. Homework and teamwork in the field survey highlight ability to apply knowledge and understanding as well as communication skills; they count for about 10% of the score.

The oral examination starts with a simple exercise with computations; passing this test is a prerequisite to continue the examination and amounts to about 10% of the score. The questions are about theoretical, methodological and practical aspect of surveys; each contribute to the score by about 30%.

Other information

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