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(263) The platting of a survey made with the compass, consists in drawing on paper the lines and the angles which have been measured on the ground. The lines are drawn "to scale," as has been fully explained in Part I, Chapter III. The manner of platting angles was referred to in Art. (41), but its explanation has been reserved for this place.

(264) With a Protractor.

A Protractor is an instrument made for this object, and is usually a semicircle of brass, as in the figure, with its semi-circumference divided into 180 equal parts, or

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degrees, and numbered in both directions. It is, in fact, a miniature of the instrument, (or of half of it), with which the angles have been measured. To lay off any angle at any point of a straight line, place the Protractor so that its straight side, the diameter of the semi-circle, is on the given line, and the middle of this diameter, which is marked by a notch, is at the given point. With a needle, or sharp pencil, make a mark on the paper at the required number of degrees, and draw a line from the mark to the given point.

Sometimes the protractor has an arm turning on its centre, and extending beyond its circumference, so that a line can be at once drawn by it when it is set to the desired angle. A Vernier scale is sometimes added to it to increase its precision.

A Rectangular Protractor is sometimes used, the divisions of degrees being engraved along three edges of a plane scale. The semi-circular one is preferable. The objection to the rectangular protractor is that the division corresponding to a degree is very Fig. 179.

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unequal on different parts of the scale, being usually two or three times as great at its ends as at its middle.

A Protractor embracing an entire circle, with arms carrying verniers, is also sometimes employed, for the sake of greater accuracy.

(265) Platting Bearings. Since "Bearings" taken with the Compass are the angles which the various lines make with the Magnetic Meridian, or the direction of the compass-needle, which, as we have seen, remains always (approximately) parallel to itself, it is necessary to draw these meridians through each station, before laying off the angles of the bearings.

The T square, shown in Fig. 14, is the most convenient instrument for this purpose. The paper on which the plat is to be made is fastened on the board so that the intended direction of the North and South line may be parallel to one of the sides of the board. The inner side of the stock of the T square being pressed against one of the other sides of the board and slid along, the edge of the long blade of the square will always be parallel to itself and to the first named side of the board, and will thus represent the meridian passing through any station.

If a straight-edged drawing board or table cannot be procured, nail down on a table of any shape a straight-edged ruler, and slide along against it the outside of the stock of a T square, one side of the stock being flush with the blade.

A parallel ruler may also be used, one part of it being screwed down to the board in the proper position.


Fig. 180.

If none of these means are at hand, approximately parallel meridians may be drawn by the edges of a common ruler, at distances apart equal to its width, and the diameter of the protractor made parallel to them by measuring equal distances between it and them.

(266) To plat a survey with these instruments, mark, with a fine point enclosed in a circle, a convenient spot in the paper to represent the first station, 1 in the figure. Its place must be so chosen Fig. 181.

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that the plat may not "run off" the paper. With the T square draw a meridian through it. The top of the paper is usually, though not necessarily, called North. With the protractor lay off the angle of the first bearing, as directed in Art. (261). Set off the length of the first line, to the desired scale, by Art. (42), from 1 to 2. The line 1----2 represents the first course.

Through 2, draw another meridian, lay off the angle of the second course, and set off the length of this course, from 2 to 3. Proceed in like manner for each course. When the last course is platted, it should end precisely at the starting point, as the survey did, if it were a closed survey, as of a field. If the plat does not "close," or "come together," it shows some error or inaccuracy either in the original survey, if that have not been "tested" by Latitudes and Departures, or in the work of platting. A method of correction is explained in Art. (268). The plat here given is the same as that of Fig. 175, page 151.

This manner of laying down the directions of lines, by the angles which they make with a meridian line, has a great advantage, in both accuracy and rapidity, over the method of platting lines by the angles which each makes with the line which comes before it. In the latter method, any error in the direction of one line makes all that follow it also wrong in their directions. In the former, the direction of each line is independent of the preceding line, though its position would be changed by a previous error.

Instead of drawing a meridian through each station, sometimes only one is drawn, near the middle of the sheet, and all the bearings of the survey are laid off from some one point of it, as shown in the figure, and numbered to correspond with the stations from which these bearings were taken. The circular protractor is convenient for this. They are then transferred to the places where they are wanted, by a triangle or other parallel ruler, as explained on page 27. The figure at the top of the next page represents the same field platted by this method.

A semi-circular protractor is sometimes attached to the stock end of the T square, so that its blade may be set at any desired angle with the meridian, and any bearing be thus protracted with out drawing a meridian. It has some inconveniences.

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(267) The Compass itself may be used to plat bearings. For this purpose it must be attached to a square board so that the N and S line of the compass box may be parallel to two opposite edges of the board. This is placed on the paper, and the box is turned till the needle points as it did when the first bearing was taken. Then a line drawn by one edge of the board will be in a proper direction. Mark off its length, and plat the next and the succeeding bearings in the same manner.

(268) When the plat of a survey does not "close,” it may be corrected as follows. Let

ABCDE be the boundary
lines platted according to
the given bearings and
distances, and suppose that
the last course comes to E, A
instead of ending at A, as
it should. Suppose also

Fig. 183.




that there is no reason to


suspect any single great


error, and that no one of the lines was measured over very rough

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