Surveying – The Bedrock of Infrastructural Development

Written by: Uchenna Omeje - Coordinator, Survey Services

Haphazard infrastructural development abounds in Nigeria, all because of improper planning. Up to date maps and plans are indispensable for effective utilization of any available geographical space. Destruction of property during any developmental activities by government and its agencies are all because of lack of, or improper planning.

Effective application of survey principles and procedures will go a long way to solving environmental problems in our society. This write-up examines one of the principles of Surveying (Working from Whole to Parts) and its application to infrastructural development.

Surveying is the science and art of taking measurements of features on, above, or beneath the surface of the earth for the purposes of representing same features on a map or plan. It is scientific because it makes use of laydown rules and regulations, as well as artistic because it makes use of human judgment for data representation and presentation.

One of the basic principles of surveying is Working from Whole to Part. This simply means that a general overview of a survey area must be carried out prior to the survey of individual components of the area. In more technical terms, it means survey of a whole project area prior to sub-division or survey of its separate components.

Applying this principle to infrastructural development, it will simply mean that prior to any infrastructural development, a wholistic view of the development must be ascertained before the actual development. This is only possible with the use of up to date and well scaled map of the infrastructure in view. In this write-up, we shall discuss step-by-step approach to infrastructural developments and stress the role of Survey and Surveyors in the process.

Infrastructural development is the technical and political process concerned with the development and design of land use and the built environment. Working from whole to part approach to infrastructural development is the best way to have the after-effect of the infrastructure in view prior to real development. This is achieved through the process of planning. The whole essence of planning for infrastructure is to create esthetic environment for human dwelling. Survey and survey principles are indispensable in the process. For a given infrastructure to be well planned, the following processes shall be involved;

  • Conception of the idea to develop the infrastructure,
  • Carrying out topographic survey, and produce topographic survey map of the area,
  • Design of the infrastructure on the topographic survey map,
  • Translation of the design on a map to the ground; otherwise called setting out
  • Development of the infrastructure.
  • Production and documentation of as-built survey plan of the area.

In all the above processes, surveying plays central role. With survey principles and procedures, a topographic survey is carried out. Also, with same principle, the design on paper is transferred on ground. Going through the above process makes it possible for all stakeholders to have a look at the development and make input prior to the real development. In other words, a wholistic view of the infrastructure is ascertained prior to execution.

Most decay environment/ slums in Nigeria are consequences of non-application of the Working from Whole to Part principle during the development. We enjoin all stakeholders to apply this principle in any infrastructural development to create an environment worthy of banqueting to the next generation.

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