What is a Civil 3D Traverse?

Posted on March 6, 2013 by Nikki Szymanski:

Recently, a client came to me and was confused about the traverse inautocad_civil_3d_2013_16x9 (2) Civil 3D.  In the dictionary, traverse (noun) is defined as something that crosses, obstructs, or thwarts; obstacle.

In Civil 3D a traverse is used by surveyors in the field as a series of established stations tied together by angle and distance.

There are different types of traverse depending on what is needed.  Let me explain each one a little so you know when and where to use which:

Closed Loop

A closed loop starts with a known point and ends at the same known point. This point has been previously determined before setting up a survey in the field. This is the most common type used in the field. This may be used for boundaries, woods, and ponds.

Closed Connected

A closed connection starts with a known point and ends with a known point.  These points have been previously determined before setting up a survey in the field.  This is the second most commonly used type of traverse.


An open traverse starts with a known point, but ends with an unknown point.  This traverse extends long distances without the opportunity for the checking the accuravy of the on-going work.  Useful as a control for preliminary and construction surveys for highways, roads, pipelines and electricity transmission lines.  This is the least common in the field.

I hope this helps you decide which you need to use.  If you have any questions about Civil 3D or civil engineering workflow, let me know or visit our website.



Leave a Reply