What Is Chain Surveying?


Chain surveying is a popular method used in land surveying to determine distances and create accurate measurements of various properties. It is a technique that has been in practice for centuries and is still widely used today, especially in areas where modern technology may not be readily accessible. Chain surveying involves the use of a chain, often made of metal or fiberglass, that is laid out on the ground to measure distances between various points on a property. This method is effective for mapping out the boundaries of a property, creating topographic maps, and planning construction projects.

Why Use Chain Surveying?

Chain surveying is a cost-effective and reliable method for determining measurements in land surveying. In areas where modern technology such as GPS may not be the most accurate or practical option, chain surveying can provide precise measurements that are essential for accurate mapping. Additionally, chain surveying is a simple and straightforward method that can be easily taught to new surveyors, making it a valuable tool for surveying teams. This method also allows for measurements to be taken in areas with rough terrain or obstructions that may make using other surveying methods difficult.

The Process of Chain Surveying

The process of chain surveying involves several key steps to ensure accurate measurements and mapping. First, surveyors must establish benchmarks or reference points on the property that will serve as starting points for measurements. These benchmarks are typically marked with a stake or other visible marker to ensure that they can be easily located throughout the surveying process.

Next, surveyors will use a chain, often consisting of 100 links or units, to measure distances between points on the property. The chain is laid out on the ground in a straight line between two points, and the total number of links used is recorded to determine the distance between the points. This process is repeated for multiple points on the property to create a comprehensive map or survey of the area.

In addition to using a chain, surveyors may also use other tools such as a compass or level to ensure accurate measurements and create detailed maps. These additional tools can help surveyors account for any variations in elevation or terrain that may affect the measurements taken with the chain.

Benefits of Chain Surveying

Chain surveying offers several key benefits that make it a valuable tool for land surveyors. One of the main advantages of chain surveying is its simplicity and ease of use. Unlike more advanced surveying methods that require specialized equipment and training, chain surveying can be easily learned and implemented by surveyors of all skill levels. This makes it a versatile and accessible method that can be used in a wide variety of surveying applications.

Chain surveying is also a cost-effective option for surveying projects, as it requires minimal equipment and can be completed with a relatively small team of surveyors. This makes it an ideal choice for smaller surveying firms or projects with limited budgets. Additionally, chain surveying is a reliable method that can provide accurate measurements even in challenging terrain or conditions, making it a valuable tool for surveyors working in remote or undeveloped areas.


Overall, chain surveying is a valuable method that offers a simple, cost-effective, and reliable option for land surveyors. This traditional method has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular choice for surveying projects of all types. Whether surveying a large property, mapping out boundaries, or planning a construction project, chain surveying can provide accurate measurements that are essential for successful land surveying.

Need Land Surveyors in Texas?

At Smyth Surveyors, Inc., we offer professional, official, and dependable land surveying in Texas. Our staff are all trained and licensed with our owner holding an L.S.L.S license. We can offer surveying for gas and oil well locations, pipeline right-of-way acquisition and construction alignment, determination of original survey boundaries, title boundary surveys, topographic surveys, and construction staking. If you are looking for a surveying company that has a prestigious record and an impeccable reputation look no further than Smyth Surveyors, Inc. Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly project managers and set up some time with us!