GEOG 482
The Nature of Geographic Information

9. Horizontal Positions

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Surveyors have developed distinct methods, based on separate control networks, for measuring horizontal and vertical positions. In this context, a horizontal position is the location of a point relative to two axes: the equator and the prime meridian on the globe, or x and y axes in a plane coordinate system. Control points tie coordinate systems to actual locations on the ground; they are the physical manifestations of horizontal datums. In the following pages, we review two techniques that surveyors use to create and extend control networks (triangulation and trilateration) and two other techniques used to measure positions relative to control points (open and closed traverses).