• Bryant N. Sturgess
  • Frank T. Carey


Trilateration is a method of control extension, control breakdown, and control densification that employs electronic distance-measuring instruments (EDMIs) to measure the lengths of triangle sides rather than horizontal angles, as in triangulation. The triangle angles are then calculated based upon measured distances by the familiar law of cosines. Trilateration consists of a system of joined and/or overlapping triangles usually forming quadrilaterals or polygons, with supplemental horizontal angle observations to provide azimuth control or check angles. Zenith angles are required where elevations have not been established or differential leveling is not contemplated, in order to reduce slope distances to a common reference datum.


Zenith Angle Angle Observation Group Error Eccentric Position Sight Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bomford, G. [ 1971 ] 1977. Geodesy. 3rd ed. Reprinted. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bryan, Darrell G. 1980. Scale variation in trilateration adjustment applied to deformation surveys. Master’s thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.Google Scholar
  3. Burke, K. F. 1971. Why compare triangulation and trilateration. Technical Papers from the 31st Annual Meeting, ACSM, March 7–12.Google Scholar
  4. Carnes, P. S. 1961. Temperature variations in the first two hundred feet of the atmosphere in an arid region. Missle Meteorology Division, U.S. Army, Signal Missile Support Agency, New Mexico.Google Scholar
  5. Carter, W. E., and J. E. Pettey. 1981. Report of survey for McDonald Observatory, Harvard Radin Astronomy Station and vicinity. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NGS 32.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, R. E., F. S. Foote, J. M. Anderson, and E. M. Mikhail. 1981. Surveying theory and practice. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Dracup, J. F. [1969] 1976. Suggested specifications for local horizontal control surveys. Revised.Google Scholar
  8. Dracup, J. F. 1976. Tests for evaluating trilateration surveys. Proceedings of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, Fall Convention, Seattle, Washington, September 28-October 1.Google Scholar
  9. Dracup, J. F.1980. Horizontal control. NOAA Technical Report NOS 88 NCS 19.Google Scholar
  10. Dracup, J. F., and C. F. Kelley. [1973] 1981. Horizontal control as applied to local surveying needs. Reprint. ACSM Publication.Google Scholar
  11. Dracup, J. F., C. F. Kelley, G. B. Lesley, and R. W. Tomlinson. 1979. Surveying instrumentation and coordinate computation workshop lecture notes. 3rd ed. ACSM.Google Scholar
  12. Fronczek, C. J. 1977. Use of calibration base lines. NOAA Technical Memorandum, nos. NGS10.Google Scholar
  13. Gossett, Captain F. R. 1959. Manual of geodetic triangulation. Special Publication #247.Google Scholar
  14. Greene, J. R. 1977. Accuracy evaluation in electro-optic distance measuring instruments. Surveying and Mapping.Google Scholar
  15. Ingham, A. E. 1975. Sea surveying. John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  16. Kelly, M. L. 1979. Field calibration of electronic distance measuring devices. Proceedings of the ACSM, 39th Annual Meeting, March 18-March 24.Google Scholar
  17. Laurila, S. H. 1976. Electronic surveying and navigation. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  18. Meade, B. K. 1969. Corrections for refractive index as applied to electro-optical distance measurements. U.S. Department of Commerce, Environmental Science Services Administration, Coast and Geodetic Survey.Google Scholar
  19. Meade, B. K. 1972. Precision in electronic distance measuring. Surveying and Mapping.Google Scholar
  20. Moffitt, F. H., and H. Bouchard. 1975. Surveying. 6th ed. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  21. Poling, A. C. 1977. Elevations from zenith distances (machine computation) with 6-Place natural tangent tables, 0°–45°.Google Scholar
  22. Robertson, K. D. 1975. A method for reducing the index of refraction errors in length measurement. Surveying and Mapping Journal.Google Scholar
  23. Robertson, K. D. 1979. The use and calibration of distance measuring equipment for precise measuration of dams (revised). Fort Belvoir, Va.: U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, E.T.L.Google Scholar
  24. Specifications to support classification, standards of accuracy, and general specifications of geodetic control surveys. [1975] 1980. Revised.Google Scholar
  25. Tomlinson, R. W., and T. C. Burger. 1977. Electronic distance measuring instruments.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryant N. Sturgess
  • Frank T. Carey

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations