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How Does Weather Affect Surveying

by Cindy on August 4, 2014

The weather can affect surveying in many ways.  Not only are the survey field personnel affected by the weather, but it can have an adverse effect on the equipment, as well. 
 
During light rain or snow, field crews can work; however, whenever the rain or snow is affecting visibility or there is lightning, a field crew should not be working.  If it is raining, and crews are working in or along roadways, extra safety precautions must be taken.  Crews need to watch out for motorists and vice versa.  Visibility maybe impaired and pavement can be slick which could lead to a tragic accident.
 
Extreme cold weather or heat can also affect survey instruments.  Some instruments have certain temperature ratings, and if operated outside that range, the accuracy of the measurement can be affected.  When field crews are working in extreme heat or cold they should take breaks from the weather to protect themselves from heat stroke or hypothermia, although proper clothing can help protect them. 
 
Heat waves or ‘shimmer’ can also affect the precision of measurements that are taken with electronic measuring devices. 
 
Wind is an invisible threat.  Depending on how fast the winds are blowing, equipment can be knocked down if not properly secured.  Damage from this sort of accident is generally very expensive. 
 
Wind can also cause issues with the field personnels’ sight.  Flying debris can damage the eye, although proper eye protection can help with this.
 
Most field crews work in all kinds of weather conditions to get the job done and take care of the client.   Proper safety training and knowing the equipment’s limitations will help get the project completed within the appropriate accuracy tolerances while keeping field crews safe.  The public can help with this by slowing down when coming upon a field crew or keeping a watch out for the crews when working along a road way.   
 
In addition, clients should recognize that adverse weather will inevitably slow the field work down and increase the costs of a survey.