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6 Essential Items for Outdoor Surveying: A Guide for Geography Students

Are you a geography student embarking on an outdoor surveying expedition? Unpredictable weather, rugged terrain, and various other factors make it crucial to have the right equipment. We have compiled a list of six must-haves to ensure you are prepared for any situation during your outdoor surveying experience. So, read on and equip yourself with these essentials to make your outdoor surveying more accurate and enjoyable.

Outdoor Surveying

6 Essential Items for Outdoor Surveying

Topographic Map and Ruler

A topographic map is an essential tool that provides crucial details about the area you are surveying. These maps display a clear representation of the terrain with contour lines, natural features, and man-made structures. It is highly recommended to use a mylar or waterproof map that can withstand tough weather conditions. Along with the map, a ruler or a specialized map scale is necessary to take accurate measurements, which is essential for calculating distances and determining locations on the map.

High-Quality Compass

A reliable and accurate compass is indispensable for outdoor surveying. It will aid in orienting the map correctly and assist you in navigating through unknown terrain. An ideal compass should have a liquid-filled capsule for stability, an adjustable declination scale, and luminescent markings for visibility in low-light conditions.

Smartphone with Compass Function

Combining technology with traditional instruments is a great way to enhance your outdoor surveying skills. Many smartphones like huawei p60 pro are now equipped with a compass function and integrated GPS, which can be extremely helpful for finding precise locations or tracking your journey. Be sure to download a reliable and accurate GPS mapping or surveying app that complements your outdoor activities.

Outdoor Surveying

Handheld GPS Receiver

Although your smartphone can be useful for carrying out basic tasks, a handheld GPS receiver is specifically built for outdoor applications. With features like a barometric altimeter, electronic compass, and rugged, waterproof design, these devices offer accurate location and altitude data, making them indispensable tools for surveying. Additionally, a GPS receiver can store your waypoints, tracks, and routes, simplifying your fieldwork and providing real-time information on your location.

Comfortable and Durable Backpack

Carrying all of your surveying equipment can be a challenge, so investing in a comfortable and sturdy backpack is essential. Look for a backpack with ample storage and organization options, including multiple compartments and external loops for attaching equipment. Ensure that the backpack is constructed from durable, water-resistant materials and has well-padded shoulder straps for added comfort during long hours in the field.

Weather-appropriate Clothing and Footwear

Finally, it’s crucial to wear the right clothing and footwear for the weather conditions and terrain you’ll be encountering. Opt for moisture-wicking, quick-drying clothes that will keep you comfortable and dry during your survey. Choose footwear with proper support, water resistance, and traction to tackle various terrains with ease.


Outdoor surveying can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience if you pack and prepare the right tools and equipment. As a geography student, you must invest in essential items like a topographic map, compass, smartphone with compass function, handheld GPS receiver, comfortable backpack, and appropriate clothing and footwear to ensure a successful outdoor survey. Equipped with these essentials, you’ll be ready to face any challenge the great outdoors throws your way. Happy surveying!

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