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The field notes of any survey are the only original record of the survey that the survey party has once it leaves the field. Therefore, the field notebook must contain a complete record of all measurements made or determined during the progress of the survey. It should include complete sketches, descriptions, and remarks, when necessary, to clarify the notes. The best survey fieldwork is of no value to the using unit if the notes are not accurate, legible, and complete in every detail.

Note. The acronyms and abbreviations in Figure 4-1 are used in the example field notes shown in Figures 4-2 through 4-21.


The field notebook (DA Form 4446 [Level, Transit, and General Survey Record Book]) is a hardback, permanently bound book for recording all survey data determined in the field. On the flyleaf inside the front of the book are instructions to the finder for the return of the book if it is lost. Also on the flyleaf are spaces for the identification of the notebook. (See Figure 4-2.) Each set of two facing pages constitutes one numbered page. The page number appears in the upper right corner. The first two facing pages are reserved for the index of the contents of the notebook. (See Figure 4-3.) The index should be kept current at all times.


a. Recorded field notes consist of a combination of tabulated data, sketches, and descriptions. The total record of any survey in the field notebook should provide a clear and concise picture of the survey performed. This information will include descriptions of the starting and closing stations, a description of any principal station established, the area or locality in which the work is performed, the purpose of the survey, and general remarks on weather, terrain, or other conditions that may be factors in evacuating the results. The information in the field notes must be complete enough that anyone not familiar with that particular survey operation can take the notebook, return to the locality, and recover or reconstruct any portion of the survey. Figures 4-3 through 4-21 are examples of common types of field notes kept by the recorder.

b. Data are recorded in the field notebook in tabulated columns according to a prescribed plan. Enough spaces are provided to permit entry of mean values as they are determined by the recorder.

c. Sketches must be made when needed. For example, if the description of an SCP in the trig list is vague, incorrect, or missing or if maps of the area contain errors, a sketch is required. Each sketch should be drawn to an approximate scale and include a grid north line. Important details of the sketch may be exaggerated for clarity. Sketches should show distances to at least two reference marks from any principal station that might be buried underground. Reference marks should be permanent in nature. If permanent reference marks are not available, the survey party should emplace semipermanent marks. Sketches also are used when necessary to indicate heights of survey signals and other points when vertical angles are observed to other than instrument height. A small protractor, which can also be used as a straightedge, should be used as an aid in making sketches. Each sketch should be legible and should be drawn large enough to ensure that it can be understood. Each station shown on the sketch should be identified.

d. Description should be used to supplement the information shown in the sketch. Remarks may be made to clarify measurements, weather, terrain, and observing conditions. The remarks should include any other factors that might be of any value in the evaluation of the survey. Approved abbreviations and conventional symbols will be used on sketches and in descriptions.


a. Each numbered page of the field notebook provides space for recording information pertinent to the survey. The type of survey (traverse, resection, and so forth) and the date are entered at the top of the left side of the page. Weather conditions (two variables that identify visibility and temperature), the type and serial number of the instrument, and the names of the party personnel are entered across the top of the right side of the first page of each survey. The rest of the pages are used for recording survey data (instrument readings, mean angles, and distances); for designating the survey stations; for recording telescope positions or number of repetitions measured; and for recording remarks, sketches, and descriptions. The chief of party will check data entered on each page and initial each numbered page before leaving the field. (If an incorrect angle or distance is discovered, it can be remeasured before the party leaves the area.) The instrument operator also should check recorded values for each occupied station before taking down the instrument.

b. All entries in the field notebook will be printed in capital block letters and in a neat and legible manner. Always use a sharpened pencil with lead soft enough to be readily seen but hard enough to be smear proof (3H or harder). Entries will never be made in ink. The recorder goes with the instrument operator and records the data in the field notebook as they are announced to him. He then reads data back to the instrument operator to ensure his entry is correct. Field data entries are recorded directly in the field notebook and not on scraps of paper for later transfer. As the entries are made, the recorder computes and records mean values and, for ease of identification, encircles the data that will be used to compute the survey. The recorder will immediately notify the instrument operator of any incorrect angle before the instrument is moved from the station. Station descriptions, sketches, and remarks are entered in the notebook before the survey party moves to the next station and must be complete enough to permit reestablishment. Only the data for that specific survey will be recorded on the page. Data pertaining to surveys other than the one in progress will be recorded on other pages.

c. Erasures are not permitted in the field notebook. If an incorrect entry is made, it is corrected by drawing a single line through the incorrect data and entering the correct data directly above the incorrect data. When a page is filled with data, sketches, or remarks that will not be used because of a change in plans, the page is crossed out by drawing diagonal lines between opposite corners of each side of the page and printing the word VOID in large letters across each side of the page. (See Figure 4-20.) Figure 4-19 is an example of a partially voided page on which all other recorded data are correct.


Procedures covering all situations cannot be prescribed; therefore, the examples in Figures 4-2 through 4-21 should be used as a guide in developing suitable techniques. PADS data will also be recorded in DA Form 4446. In the heading, enter the designation of the type of survey performed (PADS survey). The date will be the actual date of the PADS survey. In the heading of the adjoining page, show the PADS serial number (electrical mounting base), the spheroid number, and the total mission time. Across from these three items, enter the names of the PADS operator, assistant operator, and the Z-VEL time used to conduct the mission. Label the columns below the heading, from left to right, as follows:

  • STA--to identify the updated or marked stations.
  • ID NO--to identify the storage position in the PADS computer corresponding to the update or marked stations. The PADS can store up to 30 positions.
  • PAE--to identify the function performed at each position.
  • U/A--to identify unadjusted or adjusted data.
  • EASTING--to identify the universal transverse mercator (UTM) grid zone and casting grid of the position.
  • NORTHING--to identify the northing grid of the position.
  • EL--to identify the elevation of the position.
  • TAZ-GAZ--to identify the true azimuth and grid azimuth of a plumb bob two-position azimuth mark.
  • DISTANCE--to identify the distance (in meters) from the last marked position, when required, or the distance measured in an optical measurement.
  • MALFUNCTION--to identify any malfunctions during the survey mission.

Note. Use the next recording page for recording horizontal angles, grid azimuth, and offset distances for all optics measurements performed during the survey. The rest of the page will be used for remarks.


A field survey notebook is as valuable to the enemy as a captured map. The notebook would enable the enemy to locate battery centers, OPs, and other military assets (radars, mortars, and such). For this reason, every effort must be made to safeguard the notebook.

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