Here are just a few common survey workflows in TPC Desktop

We’ve tried to provide a little something for everyone.

We just scratch the surface here, but you can still get a feel for how TPC Desktop™ works and how it can work for you.

Expand the sections below to see how TPC Desktop does the workflows you do everyday.

Find lots more resources and workflows in our Learning Center

Get Step-By-Step instructions in our Learning Guides

Find lots more resources and workflows in our Live Demo

Short Videos

We use short videos, many just a few minutes long, to show you how TPC Desktop does a workflow.

Some videos include a short outline so you can see where we are going.

Interesting Topics

With so many workflows to choose from, we’ve tried to pick some that are at least interesting.  Like how TPC Desktop does layout parking lot striping with a few simple commands.

We won’t cover everything of course, but we hope the topics we have selected will give you an idea how you might use TPC Desktop for your most common workflows.

Deeper Dives

Some of the workflows include a deeper dive, usually a recorded webinar, were we explore that workflow in more detail.

These are generally about an hour long.  So go get a cup of coffee, sit back and follow along.

Doing Your Research

Survey research is all about figuring out where to hang your hat.

Deed Research

TPC Desktop has tools to streamline deed research with quick data entry from a keypad and Traverse Drawing Settings to differentiate issues.

  • Enter all the deeds.
  • Use the same POB and basis of bearing.
  • We use colors and line types to differentiate adjacent boundaries.
  • Get a good picture of what you are dealing with.
  • Identify potential gaps and overlaps.

 Deed Research (4:33)

Found Monuments and Projecting Locations

Control Points and Side Shots

Getting Data Into Your Surveys

Learning Center: Traverses

 Import / Export Learning Guide

 Traverses Learning Guide

In Traverse PC, you enter data into traverses.  That’s how it gets it’s name.

You can enter data manually, like you would for record data, or import data into a traverse from a data collector.

Entering Record Data

Lets take a deeper dive and look at entering record data into a traverse.

  • Start a new traverse in the Traverse Manager
  • Start with assumed coordinates because this is a Local Grid survey
  • TPC Desktop draws the data as you enter it
  • Learn how to enter bearings, using quadrants
  • Enter a tangent curve – learn about CW vs CCW curve data
  • Correct any mistakes you make
  • Learn to use the COGO Horizontal Curve dialog when you need it

 Entering Record Data (10:47)

Entering Field Data

Taping a House Foundation

Importing Total Station Data

Importing GPS / GNSS Data

Calibrating Data

Learning Center: Calibrations

What do you do when you get data that doesn’t match your survey’s coordinate reference system (grid)?  You know, grid to ground, state plane to local, metric to imperial, inches to feet and the list goes on.

In TPC, you just calibrate it.

Calibrations use Least Squares to fit any coordinate system to another coordinate system. User can then forward/reverse calibrate between the two plus use any existing calibration as the Site Calibration for a survey.

TPC Desktop computes a least squares transformation that lets you use as many point pairs as you need to get the exact fit you need.  Data is rotated, translated and scaled to best fit your survey. Then, when you need to send your survey back to the other coordinate system, just reverse calibrate it. Pretty simple.

Calibrating a Photo

Calibrating Drawing Objects

When you calibrate a photo to your survey, pick as many point pairs as you can find on the photo, then let TPC Desktop’s Least Squares calibration routine create the best fit for you.

TPC Desktop even generates a world file for the photo, so that when you insert it into the next drawing, it comes in at its calibrated position – automatically.

 Calibrating a Photo (4:49)

Calibrating an XRef

Site Calibration - GPS / GNSS to Local Site

Taking a Deeper Dive into Calibrations

Checking Closure & Adjusting Your Data

The Closure View is dedicated entirely to reporting closures and adjusting coordinates.  It’s your one-stop-shop for closure and adjustments.

Learning Center: Closure

 Closure Learning Guide

Checking Lot Closure

Checking lot closure is easy with TPC Desktop.  Just open the Closure View!

  • Check the closure of a lot in the Closure View
  • The Closure View is a snap shot of a traverse
  • Checking and setting the closing points
  • Including lot areas in the Traverse Manager
  • Balance coordinates to remove linear error
  • The Traverse View now shows adjusted bearings and distances
  • But the raw data is still available

 Checking Closure and Adjusting Coordinates (8:42)

Reporting Lot Closure

Balancing Coordinates

Converting Between Grid and Ground

Drawing As You Go

People choose TPC Desktop everyday because they want faster drawings.  See how TPC Desktop does it.

Learning Center: Quick View™

 Quick View™ Learning Guide

Every survey has at least one drawing and some have a lot of them.  Working with drawings in TPC Desktop is easy.

Working Drawing – Drawing as You Go

As you enter your survey data, TPC Desktop creates a working drawing for you.  This will become the start of your finished drawing.

 Working Drawing (1:02)

Drawing in TPC

Learning Center: Quick View™

Learning Center: Smart Drawing Objects™

 Quick View™ Learning Guide

Starting a New Drawing

  • Moving From a Working Drawing to a Finished Drawing.
  • 0:40 Add a new drawing via the Drawing Manager.
  • 1:00 Selecting the Mortgage drawing template
  • 1:22 Drawing with tagged traverses
  • 1:33 Drag-n-drop lot label
  • 1:50 Drawing template sets initial drawing size
  • 2:19 Explore Paper Space objects provided by the drawing template
  • 2:35 Explore Survey Space objects

Starting a New Drawing (2:58)

Scaling Your New Drawing

Using Drawing Variables to Save Typing

Using Smart Drawing Objects™ to Save Time

Adding Drawing Setbacks and Offsets

Using Drawing Templates


Learning Center: Quick View™

 Quick View™ Learning Guide

It starts with your data and ends with your drawing.

That’s something we like to say here at Traverse PC because everything we do is about streamlining your workflows, getting you to a finished drawing as quickly as possible.


Moving From Control Surveys to Topo and Site Surveys

  • We collected topo and site shots while we did our control survey.
  • Separate the appropriate points into topo and site traverses.

 Moving From a Control Survey to Topo and Site Surveys (4:10)

Adding Site Features

Using Point Codes

Working With Surfaces

Learning Center: Surfaces

 Surfaces Learning Guide

Adding a surface in TPC is wickedly simple

Creating a Surface from a Traverse

See how easy it is to create a surface from a traverse of topo points.

Creating a Surface from a Traverse (3:02)

Editing a Surface Border to Better Define It

Modeling a Surface With Breaklines

Sharing Your Surface with CAD

Computing Slopes

Computing Volumes

Doing COGO

Every survey involves some kind of COGO (COordinate GeOmetry calculations).

A lot of COGO just happens in TPC Desktop, like inserting a mid-point on a line.  Other COGO has special routines, like computing a best-fit curve.

Learning Center: COGO

COGO Learning Guide

Computing a Best Fit Curve

Horizontal Curve Fitting

  • Fit a horizontal curve using Average radius or Least Squares.

Best Fit Horizontal Curve (4:45)

Computing an Average Project Location

The Amazing What List

Taking a Deeper Dive Into COGO

Delivering Your Survey

Learning Center: Reports

When the work is done, it’s time to deliver the goods and get paid!

Lot Closure Report

Here is a quick example of using the report view to output a lot closure.

Output Lot Closure From the Traverses Manager (1:42)

Generating Reports

Taking a Deeper Dive Into Deliverables

Working With CAD

We like to call TPC The No CAD Zone, because it’s not a conventional CAD program. 

We use Quick View™ and traverses instead because they are so much better for surveying.

But when you need to, TPC Desktop communicates seamlessly with CAD, providing you the best of both worlds.

Learning Center: CAD

Exporting a Drawing to a CAD File

Export any TPC Desktop drawing to CAD, with layers, blocks polylines, MTEXT, polyfacemesh and all the CAD stuff you would  have gotten if you had done your survey in CAD.

  • This video introduces you to exporting CAD drawings
  • 0:11 Choose Tools | Export Drawing As…
  • 0:22 AutoCAD settings
  • 0:40 Open the DWG file in a CAD program (Bentley Viewer)
  • 1:01 Display the layers TPC wrote
  • 1:17 Everything is here, as if it had been created in a CAD program
  • 1:41 You get useful drawing objects anyone can use in the CAD program

Exporting a Drawing to CAD (1:52)

Exporting a Calibrated CAD File

Using the CAD View

Taking a Deeper Dive Into CAD

Working With GIS

TPC Desktop now supports 1) geographic, 2) projected and 3) local coordinates when importing and exporting shape files.

TPC Desktop can also import and export shape files without projection files. These are just coordinates that the user can use with or without a CRS.

Learning Center: GIS

Importing GIS Onto Current Drawing Layer

When you import GIS objects into a drawing, TPC Desktop now adds them to the drawing’s current layer. Just select the layer you want as the current layer for the drawing, then import your GIS file.

You can import any number of GIS files onto any number of drawing layers this way.

Importing GIS Onto Current Drawing Layer (1:35)

Importing Shapes With a Projection File

Take a Deeper Dive into GIS

Working With Google Earth

TPC and Google Earth are a great team

Learning Center: Google Earth

KML: Quick Peek

When you import GIS objects into a drawing, TPC Desktop now adds them to the drawing’s current layer. Just select the layer you want as the current layer for the drawing, then import your GIS file.

You can import any number of GIS files onto any number of drawing layers this way.

A Really Quick Look at KML (1:07)

Exporting a Drawing to Google Earth

Take a Deeper Dive into Google Earth

Surveying Public Lands

Cadastral Surveys – PLSS

 Cadastral Learning Guide

 Compare Editions

  Learning Center: PLSS  follow along in a BLM Training Session.

PLSS Closure and Areas

TPC Desktop computes true geodetics.  So for the PLSS, this means closures and areas are geodetic also – True Bearing and Ground Distance per the manual.  So the whole issue of apparent misclosure just goes away with TPC Desktop.

  • 1:00 Geodetic bearings and distances
  • 2:22 Geodetic areas
  • 4:00 Geodetic closures

Geodetic vs Grid Closures and Areas (6:59)

Construction Staking

Construction: Breaking ground to finished project

TPC Desktop has all the tools you need like

  • export to ASCII coordinates or geodetic positions
  • Grid <=> Ground conversions on Export
  • Stakeout report showing exactly where each point was staked
  • Convert to Survey tools that make sense and survey points out of CAD entities

Plat Checking

Plat Checking: Learn tips and tricks for plat checking

 Plat Check Learning Guide

Taking a Deep Dive into Plat Checking

  • This is a detailed, step-by-step walk through of one county’s workflow.
  • Their plat check method involves recreating the layout through TPC Desktop.
  • Then they check lot areas, offsets, curve parameters, etc. against the original submission.

 Thompson View (59:40)

Writing Legal Descriptions

Learning Center: Legal Descriptions

Turn any traverse into a legal description using our Phrase Driven Legal Description Writer

Sneak Peek

  • 0:46 Tools, Legal Description Report
  • 1:02 Generate Default (style) legal description
  • 1:24 Edit a phrase

Phrase Driven Legal Descriptions: Sneak Peek (2:27)

Taking a Deeper Dive into Legal Descriptions

Once you get your head around phrases, you can pretty much write any legal description you want to.

  • Typical Workflows (6:43)

    • We’ll take a quick look at 3 typical workflows
    • Add a legal description to a drawing
    • Write a legal description for a title company
    • Generate a Traverse Report for multiple lots, each with a legal description

    Styles  (16:21)

    • Styles are like drawing templates
    • Edit once, reuse many times
    • Styles are phrases and settings

    Settings (19:51)

    • Distance & Direction
    • Individual Courses
    • Area
    • Miscellaneous

    Phrases  (25:04)

    • Sequence phrases for POC and POB(25:59)
      • Editing phrases (27:09)
      • Including Point Of Commencement point chain in a traverse (36:01)
      • Creating a Point Of Commencement chain graphically (39:30)
    • Geometric phrases for tangent, radial, cusp, new direction, etc (44:03)
    • Nested phrases for descriptions and side shots (51:59)

Webinar: Phrase Driven Legal Descriptions (58:00)

Planning a Project

Planning: Quick & Easy with TPC Desktop

Every project begins with a plan.  Sometimes, your job is just providing the plan.

TPC Desktop has some great tools to help you provide plans of all kinds, like the parking lot shown here.

Parking Lot Striping

Parking lot striping is a great example of how TPC Desktop can help you get the work done fast.

  • TPC Desktop has the tools to do parking lot striping
  • or any other repetitive line work

Parking Lot Striping (10:08)

Taking a Deeper Dive into Planning

TPC Desktop does a lot more than just boundary surveys.  In this webinar, we take a look at all the drawings required for a parking lot project.

Webinar: (1:05)

  • Job Folder (2:35)
    • Subfolders for all contractors, city, client, etc
  • Site Survey (4:12)
    • background photos
    • use point codes to create features
  • City Requirements (6:36)
    • parking, lighting, access, etc.
  • Parking Layout (10:29)
    • meet all city requirements
    • use multi-point editing tools
    • show dimensions
    • create details
  • Grading & Drainage (33:10)
    • pervious / impervious areas
    • transects & grading plan
  • Pavement & Curbing (38:46)
    • generate quantities for bid
    • export CAD drawings for bid
  • BioSwales & Landscaping (42:34)
    • interior parking islands
    • bio-swales and typicals
    • landscaping
    • non-CAD contractor drawings
  • Overhead Lighting (49:35)
    • export to lighting engineer
    • incorporate lighting design
  • (not recorded) Construction Phases
    • Phase 1: subgrade
    • Phase 2: pavement, curbs, striping

Traverse PC’s Planning Workflows Webinar: (1 hr 5 min)