This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
[In the training of a boy for a trade or profession there is none so profitable for outdoor work as that of a surveyor. This article sets forth how to accomplish surveying and the making of simple maps with the use of commonplace tools that any boy can make.-Editor.]
Surveying and map making have always been two of the most interesting things a civil engineer has had to do. And, like George Washington, many of the men we look up to today as successes in different lines worked as surveyors in their younger days. Surveying takes one out of doors, and is apt to lead him into the unknown and unexplored byways of the earth.
Though modern surveyors often use precise and expensive instruments, creditable surveys can be made with simple and inexpensive apparatus. Of such apparatus, two of the simplest are the plane table andthe camera. Since one must know the principles of plane-table surveying before he can do camera surveying, this paper will describe the plane table alone, leaving the camera for another chapter.
A plane table is simply a drawing board mounted on a tripod so that it can be set up and worked upon in the field. One kind of plane table, which is used in the army for reconnaissance, does not even have a tripod; it is simply strapped to the arm of the man who is using it.
Plane-table maps vary greatly in scale and the area they represent. Landscape artists' plans may show only single city lots, while some topographic maps cover hundreds of square miles on a single sheet. For maps of a small farm, a park, or a residence block in the city, a plane table is almost ideal, since plane-table maps are made with rather simple apparatus and do not require much actual measuring on the ground. Most objects ,are located without ever going to. them, or even sending a rod-man to them.
This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network