TSA Surveying Course

Broaden your practical experience and supplement your theoretical knowledge

TSA’s Surveying Course, which is the backbone of The School’s work, was created specifically by TSA for the development of new entrants into the Geomatics profession, or those with experience but no formal training. It is intended to broaden the student’s practical experience and to supplement the theoretical experience gained from their employer.

The TSA Course is now run alongside the ProQual Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Surveying.  This provides a successful candidate with a recognised qualification and standard which is recognised by CSCS.  Although this is registered and billed for separately, it requires minimal additional effort for a candidate completing all six blocks of the course.  Further information can be found here.

The course is broken down into six two-week blocks spread over two years.

  • As both the course and students’ experience progress, a broader spectrum of subjects is covered in greater depth.
  • Theory is taught as an aid to understanding the principles behind the practical application.
  • Mathematical skills are taught as appropriate to the practical applications in each block.
  • Emphasis will be placed on students thinking through problems for themselves.
  • Students will be encouraged to share their experiences and methods of working and this will contribute to the body of knowledge and be of mutual benefit to all the students.

Prices – Six Blocks in total (prices excluding VAT)

TSA Member Company
Three blocks paid in advance: £1100 per block x 3 = £3300
Pay per block: £1200 per block

Non-TSA Member Company
Three Blocks paid in advance: £1520 per block x 3 = £4560
Pay per block: £1595 per block

CICES Member
Three Blocks paid in advance: £1369 per block x 3 = £4107
Pay per block: £1435 per block

Course transfer fee – £80.00

Duplicate Certificate and Letter of Authentication – £85


TSA Surveying Course Brochure

TSA Surveying Course Outline

TSA Course Terms and Conditions 2024


For new entrants into the Geomatics profession, or those with some experience but no formal training.


To broaden the student’s practical experience and to supplement theoretical experience gained from their employer.


The course is broken down into six two-week blocks spread over two years.

Course Material

The material produced is intended for course use and as an aide memoir to the subjects covered.

It is also a reference for general surveying; it is not meant to be a substitute textbook or an exhaustive coverage of the subject.


Surveying technology is constantly changing and new hardware and software solutions are regularly being introduced to the work place. We aim to inform students of the latest developments and to outline what is now possible and what will soon be possible.

The aim of the course is to illustrate, using modern industry standard instruments and programs, how to achieve the survey aims set out in each of the blocks. To demonstrate first principles, basic equipment will be used with methods that ensure the students understand what is happening and are not just button pressers with no understanding of the workings of the black box.

Aims and Outcomes

Set out below are the main aims and expected learning outcomes of the six basic blocks. These complement the initial course overview and the individual block synopsis.

Basic Surveying and Mathematics


To teach basic measurement skills for control of a small topographical survey in a safe manner with appreciation of scale and specification.

  • To be able to use a total station, level and tape with confidence and have a good knowledge of observing, booking and calculation techniques.
  • To have some appreciation of the development of map making.
  • To be able to scale from and find the scale of a map.
  • To convey an understanding of numerical and mathematical techniques which underpin surveying, and in particular basic trigonometry and the solution of right angled triangles.
  • Basic traversing and the calculation of bearings and distances from Co-ordinates.
  • To be able to deal with problems using a mathematical approach, compute by hand and have a clear understanding of accuracy, precision and checking.
  • To write a spreadsheet to reduce and adjust levelling.
  • To be able to write a dynamic risk assessment for a small survey.

Control and Detail Surveying


To be able to carry out a small topographical survey in the built or rural environment with an appreciation of the requirements of specification, scale and presentation of features in both plan and height, that others can relate to.


To be able to use a variety of survey equipment in an applied manner to acquire, compute, analyse and present survey data. Methods to be used include tachometry, polar radiation and chain survey techniques. To be able to adjust a traverse by different methods and understand the importance of prism constants and atmospheric corrections in measurement. To be able to use a digital level and present a monitoring survey report. Be familiar with both the sine rule and cosine rule for non right angled triangles. To be able to interpolate contours from spot heights and to survey and plot a simple topographical section.

Projections and Grids, GNSS Surveying, Photogrammetry, Advanced Fixation


To have an understanding of basic projections, grids and the shape of the earth. To be able to understand equipment and methods that require more detailed survey knowledge, of measurement and calculation, and to know how they can be applied. To solve problems and choose the best method of solving these problems.


To be able to use GNSS and total station surveying equipment in an applied manner to acquire data, and provide data, for other users. To be aware of the capability and limitations of photogrammetry and GNSS surveying and also understand the principles behind them. To be able to observe and compute intersection and resection. To be able to use co-ordinates in both a local plane grid, the OS National grid and latitude and longitude. To choose points suitable for a photo control.

Measured Building and Specialist Surveys


To acquire and apply specific detailed survey knowledge for specialist survey types. In particular, measured building, surveys for plan, elevation and cross sections. To understand the requirements and capabilities of laser scanning surveys. To understand how surveys are carried out underground and ways of locating buried objects and underground utilities. Know how to conduct a survey of a river, lake or harbour. With an awareness of the health and safety issues for all of the above.


To be able to survey a simple building and present a survey plot in plan, elevation and section. To see a Scanner demonstrated and be aware of data presentation and registration requirements for point clouds. Have a theoretical and practical understanding of surveying underground features and utilities. Safe lifting of manholes, using Radio detection and ground Penetrating radar equipment. Have a theoretical understanding of Hydrographic surveying in tidal and non tidal waters.

Construction and Engineering Surveys


To acquire and apply specific detailed survey knowledge to the engineering and construction industry in both surveying and setting out, with an appreciation of the different constraints and pressures in a dynamic environment safely. Using survey instrument and computer programs as well as hand calculations.


To be able to conduct simple construction survey and setting out tasks such as grid, gradient, slopes, horizontal and vertical curves by co-ordinates and by bearing and distance or offset methods.

Survey Management and Advanced Computer Usage

Survey Management Aim:

To understand the planning behind survey tasks, dealing with the survey team, the client and the public. To be able to read and produce a job specification and a job report. To consider the organisation and management of a commercial survey company. Outcome: To be able to communicate ideas clearly and to apply time and man management to a task, and be aware of the commercial constraints on a survey.

Advanced Computer Usage Aim:

To appreciate and practise the use of computer solutions in the manipulation and presentation of three dimensional and attributed data.


To be able to survey data for 3D models and compute cut and fill volumes and areas. To be familiar with the methods required for complex data capture and presentation for GIS based Systems. To write a spreadsheet for computing and adjusting a traverse.


This course will recognise the importance of continued professional development. During each block the students will have a formal assessment, which will accurately chart their achievement against the block aims. These assessments will highlight both strengths and limitations, and are provided to the employer as a written report at the end of each block.
The assessments will also be discussed with the students. At the end of each block, the employer will be provided with details of the “work experience” assignment tasks. Students should complete these assignments prior to commencing the next block.

In addition to this the students will be completing their ProQual Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Surveying as they progress through the course. 

The marked assignments are an integral part of the course that reinforce what has been learnt and lead to further development. It is important that students are encouraged and assisted, where necessary, to do this work.

At the end of the course there will be a Graduation Ceremony and presentation of awards. Final summary reports of the Students’ results and grades will be produced.

Course Dates

Course 66
  • Course 66 Block 1
  • Course 66 Block 2
  • Course 66 Block 3
Course 65
  • Course 65 Block 1
  • Course 65 Block 2
  • Course 65 Block 3
Course 64
  • Course 64 Block 2
  • Course 64 Block 3
  • Course 64 Block 4
Course 63
  • Course 63 Block 3
  • Course 63 Block 4
  • Course 63 Block 5
Course 62
  • Course 62 Block 3
  • Course 62 Block 4
  • Course 62 Block 5
Course 61
  • Course 61 Block 6
Course 60
  • Course 60 Block 6

In addition to the TSA Surveying Course, short technical courses of 2-5 days duration are also currently available on Setting Out, Using a Total Station and Levelling. A number of other short courses on Utility Mapping, Photogrammetry and other specialist topics are also offered.

> More about our short courses


  • RICS believes that technically proficient surveyors are the bedrock of the profession and the TSA Survey School provides a vital service in providing technical training courses. These courses give a solid grounding in the principles of surveying and help provide the technical surveyors that our UK geospatial survey industry so needs. Those completing the TSA courses can achieve RICS membership through the AssocRICS route.

    James Kavanagh, RICS – Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’

  • The TSA Surveying Course has been a fantastic educational resource for our junior staff and those that go through it have gained excellent theoretical knowledge in areas which are vitally important to our business

    Jacobs UK Ltd

  • The TSA Surveying Course is providing a valuable resource for the education of tomorrow’s Surveyors

    President of the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

  • Since the TSA launched the Surveying Course back in 2002 we have enrolled a student on most intakes and our company is now seeing the benefits of this unique and very successful training course.

    Milton Keynes Surveys

  • Since the inception of the ‘TSA Surveying Course’ I have placed students on most intakes. The content and delivery of every one of the six training blocks has provided stimulation and valuable knowledge to my staff which has in turn improved our survey team’s productivity.

    Richard Maltby – Maltby Land Surveys

  • Our trainee surveyors have benefited enormously from the TSA course which has given them the background knowledge in surveying processes and mathematics which we do not have the opportunity to do under the pressure of our daily workload. As a result, the company benefits from the acceleration in the progress of staff both in the field and office.

    M J Rees & Co

  • We have put three of our staff on to the TSA training course and I can say without doubt that the course has been beneficial both to them and to us. They now have the grounding to put them on their way to being proficient surveyors. We would definitely recommend this course.

    Tony Rogers – APR Services

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