# What are Azimuths and Bearings in Surveying?

**What are Azimuths and Bearings in Surveying? Azimuths and Bearings in Surveying Comparison**

**What are Azimuths and Bearing?**

Azimuths and bearings are horizontal angles that are used to depict or locate a line in relation to a meridian. The importance of azimuth and bearing in surveying, as well as their comparison, is outlined briefly here.

**Azimuth in Surveying**

Azimuths are horizontal angles measured clockwise from a meridian. Azimuths are often measured from north to south in plane surveying, however, astronomers and the military have chosen south as the reference direction.

Azimuths can also be described as horizontal angles measured in the clockwise direction from the reference meridian. Azimuths are sometimes referred to as a Whole Circle Bearing system (W.C.B).

It is generally recommended to declare the reference meridian before beginning surveying operations to avoid future confusions.

Forward azimuth indicates the line’s forward direction, whereas backward azimuth indicates the line’s backward direction. By adding or subtracting 180 degrees, the front azimuth may be transformed to the reverse azimuth.

Azimuth is used in border, control, and topographic surveys, among other things. Azimuths are also used in compass surveying and plane surveying, and are typically measured from the north. Azimuths are measured from the south in astronomy and the military.

The azimuths can be geodetic, astronomic, assumed, recorded, or magnetic in nature, depending on the meridian used.

After a complete station instrument has been properly oriented, azimuths may be read directly on the graduated circle.

This is accomplished by sighting along a known azimuth line with that value indexed on the circle, then rotating to the desired path. Azimuths are used in boundary, topographic, control, and other types of surveys, as well as calculations.

**Bearings Surveying**

Bearing is defined as the acute angle formed by measuring the reference meridian from the specified line. The line is measured from north or south to east or west, yielding an angle less than 360 degrees. N or S is used to express the angle, followed by the angle value and E or W direction.

Bearings are yet another way for indicating the direction of a line. A correctly stated bearing comprises quadrant letters as well as an angular value.

Geodetic bearings are taken from the geodetic meridian, astronomical bearings from the local astronomic meridian, magnetic bearings from the local magnetic meridian, grid bearings from the suitable grid meridian, and assumed bearings from an arbitrarily chosen meridian.

In the field, the magnetic meridian may be acquired by examining the needle of a compass and used in conjunction with observed angles to compute magnetic bearings.

A magnetic bearing is measured from the local magnetic meridian, a grid bearing from an appropriate grid meridian, assumed bearings from an arbitrary meridian, a geodetic bearing from a geodetic meridian, and an astronomic bearing from an astronomic meridian.

Observing the needle of the compass yields the magnetic meridian.

**Distinction between Azimuths And Bearings.**

Azimuths Surveying Vs Bearings Surveying: Definitions

Azimuths are horizontal angles measured in the clockwise direction from the reference meridian. Azimuths are sometimes referred to as a Whole circle Bearing System (W.C.B).

Bearing is defined as the acute angle formed by measuring the reference meridian from the specified line. The line is measured from north or south to east or west, yielding an angle less than 360 degrees.

**Azimuth Surveying vs Bearing Surveying: Azimuth Correction Method Surveying**

A technique for adjusting the azimuth in surveying:

- A method for rectifying the azimuth error of an electronic compass is revealed.

Measure the declination value corresponding to a preset azimuth angle while spinning the electronic compass 360 degrees.

- To suit the measured declination value, use a sine function.
- Offset, amplitude, and azimuth modifications are applied to the presented sinusoidal function.
- Exhibit a sinusoidal function.

Surveying Bearings: A method of correcting a bearing in surveying.

There are two approaches for correcting the bearing that has been influenced by local attraction:

- Included Angle Method- The traverse’s incorporated angles are determined first, followed by the traverse’s right bearings, which are determined to employ the included angles again beginning from the unaltered line.
- Method of Error Computation-The direction and number of local attractions are calculated at each survey point. The corrected bearing of the traverse is derived by starting with a line that is not impacted by local attraction. This method is more precise than the previously mentioned angle method. The majority of surveyors utilize it.

**Azimuth Surveying vs Bearing Surveying: Surveying Azimuth Types**

**Surveying Azimuths**

Depending on the meridian used, azimuths might be geodetic, astronomic, inferred, recorded, or magnetic in nature.

To avoid future misunderstandings, it is typically suggested to mention the comparative meridian before initiating surveying procedures.

- Grid Azimuths- The grid azimuth is the angle in the plan projection between grid north and the straight line from the point of observation to the point observed. Grid azimuth is the same as geodetic azimuth only when the point of observation is on the central meridian.
- Geodetic Azimuths- A reference to a spheroid’s pole in a plane perpendicular to the spheroid at the beginning or end of a line. The Laplace correction can be used to convert astronomic azimuths to geodetic azimuths.

To comprehend the difference between astronomic and geodetic azimuths, consider the little adjustment required in an instrument to keep it leveled over a point if the plumb line is deflected (deflection of the vertical).

This tiny modification will cause an equally minor change in the observed angle.

- Policy Azimuths- Azimuths must be regarded as north for work-related objectives.
- Astronomic Azimuths– An azimuth determined from the astronomical pole in a direction perpendicular to the gravitational direction at the observation location. Astronomical azimuths are calculated using celestial measurements.

**Surveying Bearings**

A line’s bearing is its direction relative to a defined meridian.

#### True Meridian-

A true meridian along a line is defined as a line along which a plane aligns with the earth’s surface after passing through the true north and south extremes.

As a result, it crosses both the true north and the true south. Astronomical research can be utilized to identify the route of the true meridian through a point.

True Bearing is a line that forms a horizontal angle with the true meridian through the poles of that line. Because the path of the real meridian via a point remains unchanged, the true bearing of a line is a consistent amount.

#### Magnetic Meridian-

A magnetic bearing from a suitable magnetic meridian, a grid bearing from a suitable grid meridian, inferred bearings from a suitable arbitrary meridian, a geodetic bearing from a geodetic meridian, and an astronomic bearing from an astronomic meridian are all measured. Observing the compass needle reveals the magnetic meridian.

Magnetic Bearing: A line’s magnetic bearing is the horizontal angle generated by the magnetic meridian passing through one of its extremities. It is determined with a magnetic compass.

### Arbitrary meridian-

An arbitrary meridian is any convenient direction towards a permanent and significant mark or signal, such as a church spire or the top of a chimney.

These meridians are used to compute the positions of lines in a small area.

The horizontal angle created by a line with any arbitrary meridian passing through one of its extremities is known as an arbitrary bearing. A theodolite or sextant is used to measure it.

**Applications of Azimuths Surveying vs Bearings Surveying**

Azimuth surveying is applied in:

- Survey of lands- A survey giving the most accurate information about the land and its boundaries
- Construction- Survey for foundations, roads, and rails
- Geology- Survey for mining, buildings, and construction sites
- Civil Engineering- Construction of buildings, bridges, and railways
- Geodesy- Surveying Earth Surface Data
- Railway Control – The data obtained from the survey are referred to as “beam”.

Bearing Surveying is applied in:

- In land navigation, a ‘bearing’ is generally calculated in a clockwise direction, beginning with a reference direction of 0° and increasing to 359.9 degrees.
- An angle is generally measured clockwise from the aircraft’s track or heading in aircraft navigation.
- Starboard bearings are referred to as ‘green,’ whereas port bearings are referred to as’ red.’

**Azimuths Surveying Vs Bearings Surveying: Forward and Back**

**In bearings surveying**

the bearing is typically determined by comparing the plane of sight to the direction of a line that is perpendicular to both the plane and true meridian.

This is where we begin surveying forwards and work back towards our original reference direction (0°) and we’ll have a bearing.

A lot of times, when we working out forward bearings, we’re actually working backwards also from our reference direction of 0°. We’re going backwards in addition to forwards.

**In Azimuths surveying**

The forward azimuth of the line along which the poll is being performed is the forward azimuth, and the backward azimuth is the reversing azimuth.

The values for advanced and backward azimuth would be adjusted throughout the instance of azimuth. Backward and forward azimuths can be calculated by multiplying or subtracting 180°.

If the forward azimuth is less than 180 degrees, the backward azimuth is computed by adding 180 degrees to the forward azimuth. If the forward azimuth exceeds 180°, subtract 180° to get the backward azimuth.

The forward azimuth of a line denotes its forward direction, whereas the backward azimuth indicates its backward direction. The forward azimuth can be switched to the reverse azimuth by adding or subtracting 180 degrees.

**Surveying Azimuth and Bearing Designations**

The working variants of forward and backward bearings are as follows:

- Back Bearing: Backward Bearing refers to bearings measured in the opposite direction of surveying progress, i.e., along the survey line’s backward direction.
- Whole Circle Bearing: Full circle bearings are bearings measured clockwise from the north. The value varies from 0 to 360 degrees. Diminished bearings are those measured from the north or south to the east or west, whichever is closer. The values for each quadrant vary from 0 to 90 degrees. It is also known as quadrantal bearing (QB).
- Observed Bearing: Observed Bearings are bearings taken in the field with an instrument.
- Fore Bearing: Fore bearings or forward bearings are bearings measured when surveying, i.e. in the forward direction of survey lines.

**Computation of Azimuths and Bearing in Surveying**

Azimuths and bearings are horizontal angles that are used to represent or locate a line in relation to a meridian.

Azimuth and bearing computation

Quadrant – Details

Quadrant 1 – North – East Direction: Bearing equals Azimuth

Quadrant 2 – South-East Direction: Bearing = 180° – Azimuth; Azimuth = 180° – Bearing.

Quadrant 3 – South-west. Bearing = Azimuth – 180°; Azimuth = Bearing + 180°

Quadrant 4 – North – West Direction: Bearing = 360° – Azimuth, Bearing = 360° – Azimuth, Bearing = 360° – Bearing

** Azimuths and Bearings FAQs**

**What is Azimuth surveying?**

Azimuth surveying is a method of surveying used to determine the direction of a line or feature in relation to a known point.

The azimuth of a line or feature is measured in degrees from a known reference point, typically magnetic north. This type of surveying is used in many applications, including construction and navigation.

This type of surveying is typically used in engineering and construction projects to align buildings, roads, and other structures.

**What is Bearing surveying?**

Bearing surveying is a surveying technique that is used to determine the location and orientation of a feature in relation to other features. This is done by taking bearings or angles of objects from the feature that is being surveyed.

**What is the difference between azimuth and bearings?**

Azimuth surveying is surveying that determines a line’s direction or position. Bearings are measured with an instrument, such as a compass or theodolite, and determine the line’s orientation with reference to true north or magnetic north.

**How do you convert azimuths to bearings?**

It is simple to convert azimuths to quadrant bearings and vice versa. An azimuth of 140°, for example, is larger than 90° but less than 180°, indicating that it is in the SE quadrant.

Because there are 180 minus 140 = 40 degrees between the South and the location, the quadrant bearing is S40°E.

**How azimuth angle is calculated?**

The azimuth is the angle between North and a celestial body, measured clockwise around the observer’s horizon (sun, moon). It determines the heavenly body’s orientation.

A celestial body due North, for example, has an azimuth of 0o, one due East 90o, one due South 180o, and one due West 270o.

**How do you find the bearing angle?**

A bearing is an angular measurement, taken clockwise from the reference direction, and it can be measured in degrees, minutes or decimal degrees.

The common way of measuring azimuths or bearings is the use of a magnetic compass. One can find the angle in degrees between North and object by pointing the compass to North at the object and reading the number at the graduated dial of 360.

**What are the types of bearings? **

There are various types of bearings, including plain, ball, roller, fluid, and magnetic.

**What is azimuth in geometry?**

Azimuth is the horizontal angle measured clockwise in radians from North to a specified point on a circle or sphere.

**Where are bearings used?**

Bearing can be used in land navigation, such as when measuring distances on a scale model railroad.

**How do bearings work?**

The bearing is the angle measured clockwise from the reference direction and can be measured in degrees, minutes or decimal degrees.

Bearing may also be called azimuth, or sometimes altitude. Bearing is a measurement of angular position relative to north.

The azimuth is the angle between North and a celestial body, measured clockwise from the observer’s horizon (sun, moon).

**What are Bearing and azimuth problems?**

Bearing and azimuth problems are tools used to convert between the two. These problems are generally easier than the other types of bearing or conversion problems, and require less time.

**What are forward bearings?**

Forward bearings can be measured along the survey line’s forward direction. This would be measured clockwise from North, i.e., 0°, 360°, etc.

**What are backwards bearings?**

Backward bearings are measured in the opposite direction of surveying progress as opposed to forward bearing, i.e., along the survey line’s backward direction. This would be measured counterclockwise from North, i.e., 90°, 180°, 270°, etc.