# Triangulation vs Trilateration | Triangulation/ Trilateration Advantages & Disadvantages

## Introduction

In triangulation vs trilateration, the word triangulation means making measurements from three different points and trilateration is when a measurement from four different points is used.

Triangulation is the process of using three different points to make a distance measurement while trilateration is the process of using four points.

## What is Triangulation

Triangulation is the process of using three different points to make a distance measurement. The two-dimensional XY coordinate system is used in this process.

In triangulation, you work with angles. The positions of the points of interest are computed using measured angles and two known points.

Distances are calculated from those angles, which are then used to calculate coordinates for the target points.

The term triangulation is derived from the Greek word “tri” meaning “three” and the word “gino” meaning “to know”.

## What is Trilateration

This is the Process of using four different lines (or points) to make a measurement. Distances are used in trilateration. You compute the angles based on those distances. Once computed, you can use them along with the distances to determine the location of the target points.

It is used in surveying and geodesy to determine the distance and position accuracy of an earth-based object.

It is based on the principle that if you take the sum of the distances from four points, you can obtain a very accurate estimation of the distance between these points.

## The Different Types of Triangulation vs Trilateration

Triangulation and trilateration are both used to measure distances. However, the common usage in surveying and geodesy is different from each other. In triangulation, we take three points to make a distance measurement.

On the other hand, in trilateration, we take four points to make a measurement. This makes a big difference in how we use the process of measuring distances and positions.

Triangulation is mostly used in surveying, while trilateration is more often used in geodesy.

Triangulation is commonly used with Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS).

This technology measures distance by studying the angle between different points. Using GPS, one can know the position of a person or object on Earth with an error margin at the most less than 5 meters.

Trilateration is mostly used when we are talking about surveying and finding the position of an object or person on the surface of the earth.

It is based on measuring distance by measuring the distance between different points. In this process, we can measure distances of objects above sea level with an accuracy of at least 1-meter with global positioning system (GPS) technology.

## Triangulation versus Trilateration: Advantages & Disadvantages

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of triangulation vs trilateration:

### Advantages of Triangulation

• Triangulation provides accurate measurements for larger distances.
• It is relatively cheap and easy to implement.
• One does not need sophisticated instruments or machines to make triangulation measurements.
• Triangulation also requires less time and effort in measuring larger distances.

### Disadvantages of Triangulation

• Triangulation may be more costly compared to trilateration.
• Triangulation is very difficult to use for many small surfaces or small areas as it requires more points to make a measurement. One must also have particular skills and experience to work with triangulation.
• Triangulation requires extensive training in surveying before one can make accurate measurements.
• In addition, triangulation requires more time and effort to take measurements from different points.

### Advantages of Trilateration

• Trilateration is more accurate than triangulation because it requires measurements from four points.
• It is also more suitable for small surfaces or areas as it requires less work to make the measurements.

As you can see, triangulation has many advantages and disadvantages. On the other hand, trilateration has a few more advantages and disadvantages than triangulation.

### Disadvantages of Trilateration

One disadvantage of trilateration is the equipment required to make the measurements. One must have a compass, a 48-00 line and other pieces of equipment to measure distances with trilateration.

As such, one should have specific skills and experience to work with trilateration. Thus:

• Trilateration is costly and requires complex equipment needed to make measurements.
• One must have skills and experience in surveying before one can use trilateration.
• Trilateration also requires more time and effort to make measurements.

### Conclusion

In conclusion, trilateration has a few advantages and disadvantages over triangulation in several aspects such as accuracy, cost, training required, and time needed to do a measurement with trilateration vs triangulation.

## Triangulation: Advantages and Disadvantages of Calculating Distance from 3 Points

When we talk about triangulation vs trilateration, we should be careful about calculating distance when using triangulation.

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of calculating distance from three points:

1. More accurate accuracy:

Triangulation gives us more accurate results of distance.

The process of triangulation is so easy that even a child can do it.

Triangulation is done by making three different measurements (distance, bearing, and elevation) of an object to get the distance of that object.

Trilateration also has very accurate accuracy in calculating distance using four points. The accuracy of trilateration is higher than triangulation.

1. Takes longer time:

Triangulation takes a longer time to calculate the distance compared to trilateration.

The process of triangulation is done by simply measuring the distance, bearing, and elevation of certain objects and make a simple calculation using this data.

In trilateration, we first have to find out which points we need to measure, then measure their bearing and lastly measure their distance from the first point.

It takes much longer time to measure the distance using trilateration than using triangulation.

1. More common:

Triangulation is the most common way of measuring distance.

Trilateration is not used commonly compared to triangulation, as it requires a lot of time and effort to measure distances by using four points.

4.Less accurate:

Trilateration has a less accurate accuracy in calculating the distance. To make this process easy, many people do not use trilateration to measure distances but they use triangulation.

Triangulation is used in surveying and finding the position of an object or person on the surface of the earth.

Trilateration is more often used when we are talking about surveying and finding the position of an object or person on the surface of the earth. However, the common usage in surveying and geodesy is different from each other.

Trilateration is mostly used when we are talking about surveying and finding the position of an object or person on the surface of the earth. It is based on measuring distance by measuring the distance between different points. In this process, we can measure distances of objects above sea level with an accuracy at least 1-meter with global positioning system (GPS) technology.

## The Different Ways to do Triangulation

There are different ways to triangulate.

Here are some of them:

1. Measuring three sides of a triangle: It is the most common way of triangulation and is used when we want to know the distance or position of an object in a triangle shape.

In this method, we first find out which points we want to measure, then measure their distance from each other and lastly calculate the distance between these points by using trigonometry.

1. Measuring the angle from two sides: It is used when we want to measure the distance between two points in a triangle shape.  The measurement of angles depends upon the direction in which you want to go.

In this method you first find out which points you want to measure, then measure their angle from each other and lastly calculate the distance between these points by using trigonometry.

1. Measuring three sides of a triangle with auxiliary points: It is used when we need to measure the distance of an object in a triangle shape and also have to use auxiliary points.

In this method, you first find out which points you want to measure, then measure the angle of each side with two auxiliary points, and lastly calculate the distance between these points by using trigonometry.

1. Triangulation of four triangles: It is used when we need to measure the distance between two points in a triangle shape with additional auxiliary points.

In this method, you first find out which points you want to measure, then measure the angle of each side with three auxiliary points, and lastly calculate the distance between these points by using trigonometry.

1. Triangulation from trilateration: It is used when we need to find the position of an object or person in a triangle shape with the help of trilateration.

In this method, you first find out which points you want to measure, then measure the angle of each side with two auxiliary points and lastly calculate the distance between these points by using trigonometry.

## FAQs

### What is the difference between triangulation and trilateration in surveying?

Trilateration measures distances to pinpoint GPS satellites’ exact position on Earth as they broadcast their location and time.

While surveyors use triangulation to measure distances between points, GPS positioning does not use any angles at all. Instead, it calculates distances by measuring the time it takes signals to travel from a satellite to a receiver.

Surveyors use trilateration to calculate local coordinates based on the distance from three or more points.

### How does triangulation work?

Also, using GPS devices we can measure distance by measuring the time it takes for a satellite to send us a signal and then receive that signal back.

Triangulation requires at least three angle (distance) measurements between known locations to fix any unknown location.

### How is triangulation used in surveying?

The most common uses for surveyors are to find distances between places, like using a map or compass.

When using triangulation to measure distance, we use trigonometry. The surveyor will create a right triangle to establish the location of the object.

Surveyors also use triangulation when they want to map out an area and need to determine distances across that area.

### How is triangulation used in geodesy?

Trilateration is also used to determine the coordinates of planet Earth in order to calculate its shape.

Trilateration measures distances between three points and uses trigonometry to calculate the distance between these points.

### How can you use trilateration in surveying?

In surveying, triangulation is used to measure distances between one location and a known point or places. Using GPS technology, we can measure distances by measuring the time it takes for a satellite to send us a signal and then receive that signal back.

Trilateration measures angles between one point and three known points. Measurements of angles depends upon the direction in which you want to go.

### How can you use trilateration in geodesy?

In geodesy, trilateration is used to measure distances between three points and uses trigonometry to calculate the distance between these points.

It is also used to measure distances of objects above sea level with an accuracy at least 1-meter with global positioning system (GPS) technology.

Trilateration measures distances between three points and uses trigonometry to calculate the distance between these points.

It is also used to measure distances of objects above sea level with an accuracy at least 1-meter with global positioning system (GPS) technology.

### How can I calculate distance with three points?

If you have to calculate the distance between two points in a triangle shape, you can use a calculator or app to measure the angle.

If you want to find out which points you have to measure first, it depends on the accuracy required for your work.

The more accurate your measurement is, the more points that are required.

### Is GPS triangulation or trilateration?

In a process known as trilateration, a global positioning system (GPS) device uses data from satellites to locate a specific point on the Earth. A GPS receiver uses radio signals to trilaterate the distances between satellites.

In a process known as triangulation, a surveyor uses trigonometry to measure the distances between two locations using three angles.

### Why do surveyors use triangulation?

It is used when we need to find the distance between two points in a triangle shape and also have to use auxiliary points.

In this method, you first find out which points you want to measure, then measure the angle of each side with two auxiliary points and lastly calculate the distance between these points by using trigonometry.

### What is trilateration How is user position computed?

Trilateration is the process of determining your position by knowing your distance from at least three known points.

The satellites themselves are the known points in GPS. It is critical to understand that this is a simple exercise in trilateration and not an exact representation of how the GPS positioning process works.

### What is the role of the second satellite used in trilateration?

Trilateration is a high-tech version of triangulation. The first satellite pinpoints your location on a sphere (top left of Figure). The second satellite pinpoints your location as a circle formed by the intersection of the two satellite spheres (top right). By solving the triangles from the first satellite, you can calculate the intersection point of this second sphere (bottom). This intersection point is your location.

### What are the types of triangulation in surveying?

• First-order triangulation, also known as primary triangulation:
• Secondary triangulation or second-order triangulation:
• Tertiary or Third-Order Triangulation:

### What are the kinds of triangles used in surveying?

• Right triangle or isosceles triangle: The isosceles triangle has two equal sides and two equal angles. It can be represented as follows:
• Other types of triangles:
• Triangles with internal angles greater than 180 degrees: