icon-buildingicon-charticon-clipboardicon-courthouseicon-cubeicon-eagleicon-flagicon-glassicon-lidaricon-lidar2icon-planeicon-shakeAsset 2icon-vectoricon-widget
Animated GIF of a digital map
Digital orthoimagery of a freeway with building footprints and topographic mapping.

Intelligent Data Makes Intelligent Maps

Digital mapping systems contain embedded intelligent data, which can be visually interpreted by the user. This data, as a part of a Geographic Information System, can serve many applications.

Data can be attached to geographic features to develop a dynamic map with a storehouse of valuable information, quickly and easily accessible through GIS software. Typical examples of applications include:

  • Utility companies cataloging their infrastructures
  • Assessors using mapping for property assessment and taxing purposes
  • Engineers using data to aid in building projects

As with digital orthoimagery and lidar,  rigorous QA/QC processes are employed throughout the mapping process.

Digital orthoimagery of a residential / commercial area with multiple layers of digital mapping
full width digital map with planimetric mapping features
topographic digital map with elevation contour lines
Topographic mapping (contour lines and index contours) indicating elevation in a mountainous area.

Mapping Types

Topographic Maps

Topographic maps depict the three-dimensional shape of the Earth’s surface with contour lines at specific elevation intervals to display the shape of terrain (or relief) for both natural and man-made features.

Contour intervals are determined based on a client’s specific needs. The smaller the contour interval, the more precisely the map reflects the terrain.

Typical uses of topographic maps include:

  • Natural resource conservation
  • Environmental management
  • Public works design
  • Commercial and residential planning

Planimetric Maps

Planimetric maps consist of lines drawn around both man-made and natural features. These features are extracted from aerial photography—anything visible in the imagery can be digitized.

Typical items found in planimetric maps include:

  • Building footprints
  • Sidewalks
  • Street and curbs
  • Impervious surfaces
  • Utility lines
  • Vegetation

Topographic Mapping from UAS

While Surdex focuses on large area acquisition and processing, we do own Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for smaller, select projects. Download this PDF to read more about topographic mapping with UAS.

Process Details

digital map feature collection

Feature Collection

Technicians use inspection grids to systematically step through the entire project area capturing new features, updating existing features and retiring features no longer visible in the imagery. Having skilled technicians systematically review the entire project area is the only method that produces a quality product. This method allows an operator to review the data at the correct mapping scale and enables the identification of small changes that occur on individual features.

Learn More