Field notes are the only record that is left after the field survey party departs the survey site. If these notes are not clear and complete, the field survey was of little value. It is therefore necessary that your field notes contain a complete record of all of the measurements made during the survey and that they include, where necessary, sketches and narrations to clarify the notes. The following guidelines apply.
LETTERING.- All field notes should be lettered legibly. The lettering should be in freehand, vertical or slanted Gothic style, as illustrated in basic drafting. A fairly hard pencil or a mechanical lead holder with a 3H or 4H lead is recommended. Numerals and decimal points should be legible and should permit only one interpretation.
FORMAT.- Notes must be kept in the regular field notebook and not on scraps of paper for later transcription. Separate surveys should be recorded on separate pages or in different books. The front cover of the field notebook should be marked with the name of the project, its general location, the types of measurements recorded, the designation of the survey unit, and other pertinent information.
The inside front cover should contain instructions for the return of the notebook, if lost. The right-hand pages should be reserved as an index of the field notes, a list of party personnel and their duties, a list of the instruments used, dates and reasons for any instrument changes during the course of the survey, and a sketch and description of the project.
Throughout the remainder of the notebook, the beginning and ending of each day'swork should be clearly indicated. Where pertinent, the weather, including temperature and wind velocities, should also be recorded. To minimize recording errors, someone other than the recorder should check and initial all data entered in the notebook.
RECORDING.- Field note recording takes three general forms: tabulation, sketches, and descriptions. Two, or even all three, forms may be combined, when necessary, to make a complete record.
In TABULATION, the numerical measurements are recorded in columns according to a prescribed plan. Spaces are also reserved to permit necessary computations.
SKETCHES add much to clarify field notes and should be used liberally when applicable. They may be drawn to an approximate scale, or important details may be exaggerated for clarity. A small ruler or triangle is an aid in making sketches. Measurements should be added directly on the sketch or keyed in some way to the tabular data. An important requirement of a sketch is legibility. See that the sketch is drawn clearly and large enough to be understandable.
Tabulation, with or without added sketches, can also be supplemented with DESCRIPTIONS. The description may be only one or two words to clarify t he recorded measurements. It may also be quite a narration if it is to be used at some future time, possibly years later, to locate a survey monument.
ERASURES ARE NOT PERMITTED IN FIELD NOTEBOOKS. Individual numbers or lines recorded incorrectly are to be lined out and the correct values inserted. Pages that are to be rejected are crossed out neatly and referenced to the substituted pages. THIS PROCEDURE IS MANDATORY since the field notebook is the book of record and is often used as legal evidence. Standard abbreviations, signs, and symbols are used in field notebooks. If there is any doubt as to their meaning, an explanation must be given in the form of notes or legends.
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