General survey guidelines

Survey and Design Consultants performing survey work on projects funded, managed, or constructed by MassDOT must follow these guidelines, as well as those in the downloads provided below.

Table of Contents


  • MassDOT requires that all survey data be collected electronically for the preparation of baseplans.
  • The Consultant must be pre-qualified in MassDOT Architectural and Engineering Board's "S2- Total Station AutoCAD Base Plan Services" category.
  • For more information visit Prequalification of Architectural & Engineering Firms.


The package of Research Materials must be maintained and stored during the design process. At either the 25% or 75% design submission, the Research Materials package, along with the preliminary Right-of-Way plan must be submitted to the Director of the Right-of-Way Bureau at MassDOT. It is preferred that the research package be submitted in electronic format (scanned image files of plans and deeds).

Field Survey

  • The Survey Consultant shall obtain the latest MassDOT Standard Point Description Key Codes before commencing fieldwork.
  • Field control points shall be based the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83), and on the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88). The MassDOT Geodetic Survey Section will establish control at any MassDOT project location. A request for control must be made by the MassDOT Project Manager, and must be made at least six (6) weeks prior to the commencement of field survey work.
  • The Survey Consultant shall obtain MassDOT field notebook(s) from either the respective District Survey Office or the Boston Survey Office before commencing work.

Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)

  • Survey data files for project baseplans shall be delivered in AutoCAD Civil 3D format.
  • A Consultant submitting an AutoCAD format work product must have the demonstrable experience and resources to deliver satisfactory AutoCAD Civil 3D project files that require no further editing.
  • All CAD files must conform to the MassDOT Highway Division CAD Standards.


The following downloadable content provides further information on survey guidelines.

Additional Resources

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