Measurement documentation (aka, field notes) is a written record of field measurements. Because measurements are subject to errors, information about the three error sources is also documented:

  • Natural - conditions under which the measurements are made
  • Instrumental - equipment used to make the measurements
  • Personal - who had what role in the measurement process

Depending on the field operation, additional information may be included such as sketches, explanatory notes, closure checks, etc.

Why cover manual field notes when most contemporary data collection is done digitally? For a beginning surveying student, writing down measurements:

  • reinforces learning the field process, and
  • provides visualization of the data and running results.

Digital data collection can benefit from supplemental notes as well, since some information is easier to capture in written form. For example, detailed explanatory notes and support sketches may be cumbersome, if not impossible, to include in a data collector, but can be simply compiled in written form.  

Despite their emphasis here, documentation is not limited to measurements. In a boundary resurvey, the surveyor might record physical evidence descriptions and witness statements.