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The want of a work on Practical Surveying has been long felt, and is generally acknowledged. The numerous publications on surveying would seem to preclude the necessity of anything new. But upon examination we find the wants of the student have been consulted, rather than those of the practical man. Indeed, many of the publications in general use appear to have been written by those who were engaged in the instruction of youth, and who were unacquainted with the practical part of surveying, excepting perhaps so far as may have been requisite for the information of the classes under their


I have conversed with many persons who have been extensively engaged in land surveying, and I have not in a single instance met with any one who has not expressed his unqualified conviction of the want of a work adapted to the purposes of the practical surveyor. Within a few years there have been published several works on surveying: amongst them may be mentioned that by John Gummere, a treatise which cannot be too strongly recommended to those who wish to become familiar with this subject; and had it been as well adapted to the wants of the practitioner, as to those of the student, no other need have been desired. Professor Davies' “ Elements of Surveying" is an excellent performance. Flint's “Surveying.” also contains much useful practical information. But still there seems to be wanted a more minute detail of expedients employed in the field.

With a view to supply this defect, the following pages have been written, designed as a suitable treatise to be placed in the hands of those who wish to become familiar with the practice of surveying. A systematic arrangement has not been followed; but as my object is to supply the wants of the practical man, (those of the student hava ing already been supplied by the authors mentioned, this will be a matter of minor importance.

In submitting the work to the public, it is not pretended to be complete in itself, but only introductory to a subject of much importance hitherto almost entirely neglected. If it prove a useful auxiliary to those who are about assuming the responsible duties of practical surveyors, the object of the publication will have been accomplished.


Norristown, Montgomery county,

Pa., June 1853,



It is of the first importance to every young person, about commencing the practice of Surveying, to furnish himself with suitable instruments. These should be of the very best character, both as regards the workmanship and their adaptation to purposes in which they are intended to be employed. His success may depend upon this choice, his pretensions to accuracy, in what he may undertake, must rest very much upon it. Unless he is acquainted with the use of the Instruments in the field, it would be well to advise with some person in whose judgment he can confide. It would also be advisable to visit the shops of the different instrument makers, and examine the various instruments in use. He may be enabled by these means


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