Topographic survey is the technique used for the execution, processing and checking of observations to identify features on and above the ground in both urban and rural areas, and to determine their horizontal and vertical positions, dimensions and shapes. The development of Geographical Information Systems as cartographic land management tools has led this discipline to evolve into "Geomatics", in which both geometrical and semantic information on the objects modelled is captured, processed and checked using modern high-performance computing technology.

Terrestrial survey data is captured using the following equipment :