Traverse Definitions for Land Surveyors

traverse—A method of surveying in which the lengths and directions of lines between points on the Earth are obtained by or from field measurements and used in determining positions of the points. A survey traverse may determine the relative positions of the points which it connects in series, and if tied to control stations on an adopted datum, the positions may be referred to that datum. Survey traverses are classified and identified in a variety of ways: (a) according to methods used, as astronomical traverse; (b) according to quality of results, as first-order traverse; (c) according to purpose served, as geographical exploration traverse; and (d) according to form, as closed traverse. See also Appendix A, Standards for Geodetic Control Surveys.

traverse, angle-to-left (right)—A technique used in making a survey traverse, wherein all angles are measured in a counterclockwise (clockwise) direction after the surveying instrument has been oriented by a backsight to the preceding station. The technique is applicable to either closed or open traverses.

traverse, closed—A survey traverse which starts and ends upon the same station, or upon stations whose relative positions have been determined by other surveys of equal or higher order of accuracy.

traverse, open—A survey traverse which begins from a station of known or adopted position but does not end upon such a station; open-end traverse.

traverse, planetable—A graphical traverse executed by a planetable.

traverse, random—A survey traverse run from one survey station to another station which cannot be seen from the first station, in order to determine their relative position.

traverse, stadia—A traverse (transit or planetable) in which distances are measured by the stadia method.

traverse, subtense bar—A traverse method in which course lengths are measured by use of a subtense bar.

traverse, transit—A traverse in which the angles are measured with a transit or theodolite and the lengths with a metal tape. A transit traverse is usually executed for the control of local surveys.

traverse error of closure—See error of closure (definition 5).

traverse line—See line, transit.

traverse station-1 A point in a traverse over which an instrument is placed for measuring (set up). 2 A point which has had its location determined by traverse.

traverse tables—Mathematical tables listing the lengths of the sides opposite the oblique angles for each of a series of right-angle plane triangles as functions of the length and azimuth (or bearing) of the hypotenuse. Traverse tables are used in computing latitudes and departures in surveying and courses in navigation. One argument of such a table is the angle which the line or course makes with the meridian (its azimuth or bearing), and the other argument is a distance. In tables used in land surveying, the distance argument is usually a series of integers, from 1 to 9, with which lines of greater length may be composed. In navigation, the distance argument may run to several hundred miles.

Source: NSPS “Definitions of Surveying and Related Terms“, used with permission.

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