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Level 0 or known as a traditional method of conducting laboratory activities will not be able to
provide the avenue for students to enhance independent learning activities and inculcate
creativity and innovation. The traditional method is fully prescriptive where the three elements
namely problem, ways & means and answers are guided/fully given to the students. However, it
is still necessary to be implemented as part of the whole laboratory course activity especially to
first and second year students.

In conducting the traversing’s laboratory, the group is required to examine the given location.
Students have to know on how to operate the total station or theodolite; setting any value of
angle or bearings, transiting from face left to face right, reading horizontal angles and vertical


In this traditional laboratory activity, the students are required to carry out traversing fieldwork. A
traverse is a series of consecutive lines whose ends have been marked in the field, and whose
lengths and directions have been determined from measurements. From these measurements,
the exact location of the unknown points will be determined. There are both open and closed
traverse where in this practical, closed-loop traverse will be perform using an appropriate


The objective of this laboratory are :

i. Learn to use, handle and functions of the survey instrument especially the total station.
ii. Able to manage a surveying field work, establish the survey stations/control points
forming a closed-loop traverse using a bearing booking technique.
iii. Apply all the calculations of traverse properties and plot the traverse lines with
appropriate scales.


Traverse method

In traversing method, the instrument is set at each successive station and positioned by back
sighting and forward sighting. Go the first station, the magnetic meridian is to be known before
any observations can be done. After the magnetic meridian has been observed, then the
fieldwork can be executed by first sighting the back reading of the last line and then fore bearing
to the second line of the traverse. The steps are repeated when the instrument is transferred to
another station.

Angle Determinations

Horizontal angles are usually turned (or deflected) to the right or left. The three types of angle
measurements are as follows:

1. Interior angles
If angles in a closed figure are to be measured, the interior angles are normally read.
When all interior angles have been recorded, the accuracy of the work can be
determined by comparing the sum of the abstracted angles with the computed value for
the closed loop.

2. Deflection angles
In an open traverse the deflection angles are measured from the prolongation of the
backsight line to the foresight line. The angles are measured either to the left or to the
right. The direction must be shown along with the numerical value.

3. Vertical angles
Vertical angles can be referenced to a horizontal or vertical line. Optical-micrometer
theodolites measure vertical angles from the zenith (90o or 270o indicate a horizontal
line). Zenith and nadir are terms describing points on a sphere. The zenith point is
directly above the observer, and the nadir point is directly below the observer. The
observer, the zenith, and the nadir are on the same vertical line.

For a closed traverse, the first back bearing of the last line must equal to the last fore bearing of
the same line. If this does not correspond, therefore adjustment must be made to both face left
and face right. For adjustments of coordinates, there are two methods explained below:

1. Bowdicth’s method
This method adjusts the departure and latitudes of traverse courses in proportion to their
lengths. Although it is not rigorous as least-square method, it results in logical
distribution of misclosures. Corrections are made using the following methods:

Correction departure of a line = Total departures misclosure x length of a given line

Perimeter of traverse

Correction of latitude of a line = Total latitudes misclosure x length of a give line

Perimeter of traverse

2. Transit Rule
In previous method, all lines will have some corrections made in both latitudes and
departures. There is no mathematical background and the lengths of the lines are not
included in the calculation. The corrections are made using the following rules:

Correction departure of a line = Difference in departure x departure of a given line

Total departure errors

Correction latitude of a line = Difference in latitudes x latitude of a given line

Total latitude errors

Latitudes and departures can be calculated using this formulas:

Latitude = Length of line x Cos θ
Departure = Length of line x Sin θ
(Where θ is the forward bearing of a given line)

In Engineering Survey, accuracy is most important and is highly taken into interest. Therefore,
precision and accuracy is always noted and the surveyors should be aware, as the results are to
be included in pre-construction of the developed site the classes of survey are shown in Table1.

Table 1: Classes of Survey

Survey Class Angular Misclosure Linear Misclosure

First Class <1’15” >1 : 8000
Second Class <2’30” >1 : 4000
Third Class >2’30” <1 : 4000

Angular misclosure and linear misclosure are given by:

Angular Misclosure = Fore bearing of a line – (Back bearing of a line ± 180o)

(Difference in Latitude)2 +(Difference in Departure)2

Linear Misclosure = √ Total length of traverse


A proposed site is to be set out for the development of a new semi-conductor industry building
at Kawasan Perindustrian Kecil Perai, Penang. The location of the site must be evaluated and
permanently marked for control points. Each group have to plan and manage to established the
survey stations which is at least 6 stations forming a closed-loop traverse. Use total stations to
measure all the bearings and distances for each traverse lines and record the data in the proper
booking. Apply the bearings correction technique and all the related calculations to obtain the
final bearings. Besides, each group need to provide an appropriate sketch to illustrate the
stations and calculate the actual coordinates of each station for land boundaries and building.
The area and CP are sketched showing the location of the stations.



1. Total Station
2. Tripod
3. Prismatic Compass with tripod legs
4. Prism
5. Plum bob
6. Tape
7. Pegs and hammer (if necessary)


1. Established at least six (6) control points with minimum length of 25 m at the
proposed site. The peg are driven onto the ground at the CP for permanent markings
off the area.
2. Prismatic compass was set at station A and it is centered and leveled with the help of
plum bob. Then, adjusted the instrument by levelling both the bubble tube for the
instrument to be perpendicular to the vertical axis.
3. Determine the bearing for the last line to be observed by adjusted the instrument for
observation of bearings by observing the magnetic north.
4. The prismatic compass then replaced by the theodolite, which is temporarily adjusted
and the bearings of the last line is inserted into the theodolite and noted as back
5. Two tripod are set and temporarily adjusted at station E and B, respectively. Prisms
are placed on the tripod as the station target.
6. Points E is sighted observing the back bearing of the line AE. Then point A is
sighted and observes the fore bearing of line AB. The reading are then recorded as
face left.
7. Rotated 1800 the vertical and horizontal axis and sight the back bearing of the same
8. The bearing is then sighted and recorded as face right.
9. The instrument is then shifted to points B and it is set up as in (2) and (3).
10. Repeated the procedure (4) to (8) until all CPs are located and observed.


1) Total Station

Mean Bearing Method

Observed Bearing Corrected

Station Mean Distance
Face left Face right Bearing
H 26°39′34" 206°06′52"
343°08′ 5.5" 343°10′ 8.13"
A 343°07′55" 163°08′16" 14.848
B +0°02′ 2.63"
343°08′ 5.5" 163°08′ 5.5"
A 163°08′ 5.5" 343°08′ 5.5"
297°39′11" 297°43′ 16.2"
B 297°33′14" 117°45′08" 10.080
C +0°04′ 5.26"
297°39′11" 117°39′11"
B 117°39′11" 297°39′11"
259°13′ 16" 259°19′ 23.8"
C 259°11′09" 79°15′23" 11.820
D +0°06′ 7.89"
259°13′ 16" 79°13′ 16"
C 79°13′ 16" 259°13′ 16"
152°06′ 25.5" 152°14′ 36"
D 152°06′28" 332°06′33" 11.737
E ′ +0°08′10.52"
152°06 25.5" 332°06′ 35.5"

D 332°06 35.5" 152°06′ 25.5"
163°21′ 8.5" 163°31′ 21.6"
E 163°20′53" 343°20′22" 6.667
F +0°10′ 13.15"
163°21′ 8.5" 343°20′ 37.5"
E 343°20′ 37.5" 163°21′ 8.5"
157°08′30" 157°20′ 45.7"
F 157°10′32" 337°06′28" 11.792
G +0°12′ 15.78"
157°08′30" 337°08′30"
F 337°08′30" 157°08′30"
72°55′ 44.5" 73°10′ 2.91"
G 72°55′53" 252°55′36" 11.814
H +0°14′ 18.41"
72°55′ 44.5" 252°55′ 44.5"
G 252°55′ 44.5" 72°55′ 44.5"
H 206°06′52" 26°39′34" 206°39′34" 10.036
A +0°16′ 21.04"
206°23′13" 26°23′13"

Table 3.1:Mean Bearing Method

Correction = (26°39′ 34” + 180) − 206°23′13"

= (0°16′ 21”) ÷ 8

= 0°2′ 2.63"

Corrected Unadjusted Correction Adjusted Coordinates
Station Bearing & Latitude Departure Latit. Depart
Length Latit. Depart
N-S E-W 900mN 1500mE
343°10′ 8.13" 900.000 1500.000
AB 14.212 -4.299 2.759 1.026
14.848 16.971 -3.273
297°43′ 16.2" 916.971 1496.727
BC 4.689 -8.923 1.873 0.696
10.080 6.562 -8.227
259°19′ 23.8" 923.533 1488.500
CD -2.190 -11.615 2.196 0.816
11.820 0.006 -10.799
152°14′ 36" 923.539 1477.701
DE -10.386 5.466 2.181 0.811
11.737 -8.205 6.277
163°31′ 21.6" 915.334 1483.978
EF -6.393 1.891 1.239 0.460
6.667 -5.154 2.351
157°20′ 45.7" 910.180 1486.329
FG -10.882 4.542 2.191 0.814
11.792 -8.691 5.356
73°10′ 2.91" 901.489 1491.685
GH 3.421 11.308 2.195 0.816
11.814 5.616 12.124
206°39′34" 907.105 1503.809
HA -8.970 -4.503 1.864 0.693
10.036 -7.106 -3.810
∑ = 88.794 𝑚
899.999 1499.999
Sums of misclosure
16.499 6.133
with sign changed, C

Table 3.2: Bowditch’s Method

2) Prismatic Compass

Interior Angle Method

Corrected Distance
Station Point Bearing Included Angle Correction
Angle (m)
AB 344°10′ 344°10′ − 206°40′
A 15°19′ 152°49′ 14.83
BA 161°05′ = 137°30′
BC 296°50′ 296°50′ − 161°05′
B 15°19′ 151°04′ 10.08
CB 120°20′ = 135°45′

CD 253°10′ 253°10′ − 120°20′

C 15°19′ 148°09′ 11.82
DC 77°05′ = 132°50′

DE 170°01′ 170°01′ − 77°05′

D 15°19′ 1088°15′ 11.70
ED 356°35′ = 92°56′

EF 169°25′ 360° − 356°35′

E 15°19′ 188°09′ 6.60
FE 354°30′ + 169°25′ = 172°50′

FG 157°25′ 360° − 354°30′
F 15°19′ 178°14′ 11.75
GF 335°20′ + 157°25′ = 162°55′

GH 71°10′ 360° − 335°20′

G 15°19′ 111°09′ 11.80
HG 259°20′ + 71°10′ = 95°50′

HA 33°25′ 360° − 259°20′

H 15°19′ 149°24′ 10.05
AH 206°40′ + 33°25′ = 134°05′

Total included angle = 1064°41′

Actual angle = (2𝑛 − 4) × 90°

= (2(8) − 4) × 90°

= 1080°

Correction = (1080° − 1064°41′ )

= 15°19′

Local Attraction Method

Corrected 2nd
Stn Pn Bearing Correction True Bearing Distance
Bearing Correction
AB 344°10′ 0°40′ at A 344°50′ 5°44′ 37.5" 350°34′ 37.5"
A 14.83
BA 161°05′ 3°45′ at B 164°50′ 5°44′ 37.5" 170°34′ 37.5"

BC 296°50′ 3°45′ at B 300°35′ 7°39′30" 308°14′ 30"

B 10.08
CB 120°20′ 0°15′ at C 120°35′ 7°39′30" 128°14′ 30"

CD 253°10′ 0°15′ at C 253°25′ 9°34′ 22.5" 262°59′ 22.5"

C −3°40′ at 11.82
DC 77°05′ 73°25′ 9°34′ 22.5" 82°59′ 22.5"
−3°40′ at
DE 170°01′ 166°21′ 11°29′15" 177°50′ 15"
D 11.70
−10°14′ at
ED 356°35′ 346°21′ 11°29′15" 357°50′ 15"
−10°14′ at
EF 169°25′ 159°11′ 13°24′ 7.5" 172°35′ 7.5"
E 6.60
−15°19 at
FE 354°30′ 339°11′ 13°24′ 7.5" 352°35′ 7.5"
FG 157°25′ 0° at F 157°25′ 15°19′ 172°44′
F 11.75
GF 335°20′ 2°05′ at G 337°25′ 0 337°25′

GH 71°10′ 2°05′ at G 73°15′ 1°54′ 52.5" 75°9′ 52.5"

G −6°05′ at 11.80
HG 259°20′ 253°15′ 1°54′ 52.5" 255°9′ 52.5"
−6°05′ at
HA 33°25′ 27°20′ 3°49′45" 31°9′45"
H H 10.05
AH 206°40′ 0°40′ at A 207°20′ 3°49′45" 211°9′45"

Correction = (337°25′ − 142°06′ ) − 180°

= 15°19′ ÷ 8

= 1°54′ 52.5"


Traverse is a method in the field of surveying to establish control networks. It is a set of connection
line between survey stations. Traverse can be divided into two, open traverse which started with
known point value and ended with unknown value and another one is close traverse that started
and ended at the same point (close ring traverse) with the known point of value (closed route

In this traversing laboratory, we took about 4 weeks to finish the laboratory by using two
instruments. For the first second weeks, we were required to use prismatic compass meanwhile
for the rest weeks we used total station.

Prismatic compass is a navigation and surveying instrument which is widely used to find
out the magnetic bearing of a line relative to magnetic meridian. This type of surveying instrument
only can give us the directions of the surveying lines, and must take the length manually by using
measuring tape. Prismatic compass calculates the bearings of lines with the respect to magnetic
north. For the included angle then can be calculated with the suitable formulas. Using this
instrument, surveyors need to take two bearings that is fore bearing and back bearing which
should be differ by 180°.

We did a close traverse at Unit Pengurusan Kolej dan NR (UPK). We took 8 points overall
that started at point A and ended at point H and we have tabulate the data in Table 1, Table 2
and Table 3. Table 1 above showed the calculation of our corrected angles by using Interior Angle
Method. In this method, by referring to the bearing that we have recorded, we take the fore bearing
and minus with the back bearing to get the included angle. As an example for station A, we take
the fore bearing, 344°10′ and minus it with 206°40′ of its back bearing then get the included angle
that137°30′. With the aid of sketch we can see that point AB have 344°10′ from the north
meanwhile the point AH have 206°40′ from north. So in order to get the included angle of the
stations, we need to minus them. For the correction, first we total up the included angle and by
using the equation (2𝑛 − 4) × 90° we can calculate the actual angle. After that, by minus the
actual angle with the total included angle we will get the correction. Finally, we get the corrected
angle by sum up the included angle with the correction that have been calculated. So, in the Table
1 above showed the calculation and results of our corrected angles.

After the first two weeks, we continued the laboratory with total station at the same place.
Total station or electronic tachometer instruments (ETIs) is a theodolite instrument that been
combined with interface Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) and electronic data collectors.
EDM is also a surveying instrument that utilizes an infrared or laser beam to measure the distance
of the survey lines. Total station can read and record horizontal and vertical angles along with
horizontal, vertical and slope distances. Same goes to the prismatic compass, total station also
required surveyors to take two readings that is face left and face right. Face left for total station is
actually the fore bearing for the prismatic compass and face right is the same like the back
bearing. Total station can be work when the zero angle set on the first which is point A. Then,
after setup the total station, we take the reading of bearing at station A to station B with the top
con on our left side to get the face left and turned it in clockwise to get the reverse reading for
face right. We also get the reading of their distance. After we get the all the readings for one

station, we switch the total station to another station and repeat the same procedure to get the
reading for another station. The readings then we tabulate in the data in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 and Table 3.2 showed the data and calculations that we have recorded during
the laboratory using total station. The calculation for correction of the bearing is done by Mean
Bearing Method meanwhile the correction for the linear misclosure of latitude and departure
calculated by Bowditch’s Method. For Mean Bearing Method, we observed the bearing for face
left and face right to do the correction to get the corrected bearing. As example, for station A-B,
we take the face left bearing minus with 180 because it bearing is greater than 180 and minus it
with the face right. Then, divide it by 2 and we get -10.5”. By changing the sign, 10.5” we add it
with face left because the bearing is greater than face right and vice versa for face left, so that
the new observe bearing for the bearing are 343°08′ 5.5" and 163°08′ 5.5". Next, we calculate the
correction as shown in data Table 3.1 and get +0°02′ 2.63". To obtain the corrected bearing, we
add the new observe bearing of face left with the correction and get 343°10′ 8.13". This calculation
was repeated for station B to station E and help us manage to get all the corrected bearing. So,
base on data Table 3.1 shown the result of our corrected bearing.

In comparison by using prismatic compass and total station, usually total station give an
accurate value of bearing and distance, so that we can get to know the real reading on the site.
In this laboratory, as we compare the result on our total station by Mean Bearing Method and
prismatic compass by Local Attraction, the difference of the degree is quiet big in between 2 to 7.
As example for station A, the difference is about 724'29.37" . Our data got difference because
when we set up the prismatic compass, the North is not accurately at 0 and the tripod is unstable.
Besides, it is quite difficult to get the bubble into the centre because of uneven surface. So, the
total station give the exact and high accuracy of the readings.

Besides, there is also calculation for linear misclosure which calculated by summing the
positive and negative partial coordinates for latitude and departure. This calculation only applied
when the survey forms a closed polygon. For calculating the linear misclosure, we use Bowditch’s
Method which the data represented in Table 3.2. In this method, we first calculate the latitude (N)
and departure (E) by using the equation  cos  for latitude and  sin  for departure. Then, total
up the latitude and departure and change the sign of the value. For the total(C) of latitude and
departure, we get 16.499 and 6.133. For the correction, we use the equation of . Lastly, we
calculate the adjusted coordinate as shown in Table 3.2.

In every laboratory work, there are always some precautions that must be taken in order
to get the accurate readings and to avoid from damaging the instruments. For prismatic compass,
we need to avoid all sources of magnetic substances during observation and equipment setup.
This is because, the needle of the compass can get attract to other magnetic sources easily and
will making it difficult to read. The compass must be levelled including the bubble and centered
over the peg by using plum bob to ensure it is stable. Common precaution is that always take
several reading before booking to get the average of the readings. For total station, before plate
the bubble at center, we must make sure that the tripod adjusted with good stability in order to

avoid any error while taking the readings. The plum bob of total station also must be located at
the origin point to avoid any misreading of our data. Next, while moved the total station to next
point, we have to press the button hold so that there is no error occur while reading the bearing
and distance of next points.


In this fieldwork, we were required to carry out a closed loop traverse survey that is located
at the Unit Pengurusan Kolej dan NR (UPK). Closed loop traverse is a traverse starts and ends
at the same point, forming a closed geometric figure called a polygon which is the boundary
lines of a tract land.

In conclusion, we were able to describe the various component of the theodolite. After done
the practical, now we understand how to conduct and describe the closed traverse survey.
Example of tool station, tripod, prism and prismatic. Beside that, we know how to determine the
final bearing by using suitable method. Then, we have a knowledge of all the equipment
required to carry out. Another than that, we also know the advantages of bearing and their use
in various survey works. We are now be familiar with the checks and errors in a closed traverse
and solve them. We are also to be familiar with various types and methods of traverse surveying
for detailing and we know well about the traverse computation and be fluent in it. We also be
able to read the data.

We get the basic principles of traversing and experiences of the field works procedure, so
that we are able to establish the control points by surveying approach with minimize errors and
practicable. Furthermore, we obtained develop skill in using total station thus could be explored
more function that assist on the instrument. Finally, we get to know or understand collimation
error and how it can be corrected.

Overall, this fieldwork has taught us a lot of hands-on knowledge about the surveying. We
are more understand that a land surveyor required to measure distances in order to build level,
sound buildings or determine the boundaries of a piece of land. This profession, typically held
by individuals with a degree in civil engineering, is a very important one that has existed for all
of recorded human history.

1. Roslizayati Razali, Mohd Amran Hasbullah, Noor Syazreen A.Rahman, Nadia Zalikha
Sailfullizam, Mohd Johan Mohamed Ibrahim, 2018, Laboratory Manual