cod. 13173

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - First semester
- Gianfranco FORLANI
Academic discipline
Topografia e cartografia (ICAR/06)
Ingegneria ambientale e del territorio
Type of training activity
72 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide knowledge and skills in the field of topographic survey for cartographic purposes, control and testing. To this end, the student will apply the knowledge acquired, individually and in groups, both through numerical exercises and by carrying out a topographic survey in groups.
At the end of the course, therefore, the student is expected to:
 know the types and characteristics of measurement errors;
 can evaluate the order of magnitude of the results of a topographic calculation;
 can calculate the precision of quantities calculated from measured quantities;
 knows the fundamentals for designing a control network (from the choice of instruments to the simulation of the expected precision)
 know and know how to apply methods for verifying the tolerances of a survey (in particular of leveling nets)
 know and know how to apply statistical tests to verify hypotheses on the movements over time of controlled points.
 can carry out group activities including both the preparation of spreadsheets and instrumental surveying activities in the countryside with calculation of coordinates, compensation of measurements, presentation of results in graphical form and summary technical report


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

Course unit content

Surveys determine the position of points w.r.t. the Earth surface in a geodetic 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
Geodetic and topographic networks.
Observation equations of horizontal and height networks. Network
simulation and adjustment. Georeferencing and co-registration of
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 (GPS only)
B. Hofmann-Wellenhof, H. Lichtenegger and J. Collins Global positioning system : theory and practice – Available in the Biblioteca politecnica di Ingegneria e Architettura.
Alfred Leick, GPS satellite surveying. Available in the Biblioteca politecnica di Ingegneria e Architettura.

Course material (slides of the lectures, lecture notes on statistical data analysis, exercices, etc.) can be found in the e-learning platform Elly, under TOPOGRAFIA course. Registration mandatory.

Teaching methods

Lectures, possibly with questions to the audience. Numerical exercises always follow the theory; sometimes the solution of a standard exercise is first illustrated and commented, sometimes students are left to themselves to find how to apply the theory to solve the problem.
The ratio between hours of frontal lesson and exercise is approximately 2:1, excluding the hours dedicated to the illustration of the instruments.
Space is also given to activities in groups, in the control survey project and in the survey in the countryside. In this case one or more frontal lessons or practical demonstrations illustrate the motivations and problems of the topic to be addressed. The groups work autonomously and can communicate with the teacher in case of need; as a rule, the teacher supervises the initial phases of the survey in the countryside. The solution of the numerical tasks and questions is usually illustrated in the classroom or through the publication on the Elly platform of the exercise resolved. The evaluation criteria for the group work are explained in the presentation of the objectives; the evaluation of the reports and results is discussed at the discretion of the groups.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination can be either by in-progress tests or by an oral examination at the end of the semester.
The written questions are in the form of “True or False” questions; they aim to evaluate the knowledge base and count for about 25% of the total score.
Solving the exercices highlights knowledge, understanding and ability to apply them; they count for about 50% 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 25% 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 20% of the score. The questions are about theoretical, methodological and practical aspect of surveys; overall they contribute to the score by 80%.

Other information

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