Civil Engineering

civil banner 5Civil engineer, abbreviated as CE, is someone that works with planning the design and construction of facilities such as buildings, environmental and water projects, transportation, etc.


  • CVL - civil
  • CE - Civil Engineer
  • LS - Licensed/Land Surveyor


Civil Engineering Subtopics

Civil Engineering


Civil Associations


Civil Related Articles


Professional Engineering Licence


Civil Terms


  • Accepted survey  -  A survey accepted by the official having cadastral survey approval authority.
  • Adjoiner  -  To owner of land which touches the land of another.
  • Adjoining  -  To be in contact with, touching or contiguous.
  • Angle  -  Two rays sharing a common point.
  • Angle point  -  A point in a survey where the alinement of boundary deflects from a straight line.
  • Aquifer  -  Undergroung layers of saturated rock and sediment through which water is stored and can move.
  • Azimith  -  The direction of a line related to north.


  • Bar spacing  -  The minimum spacing that should allow the largest expected concrete gravel size to pass between the bars freely.
  • Base line  -  The east-west line that divides townships.
  • Basin  -  The entire area drained by a main stream and its tributaries.
  • Beam  -  A structural shape used to carry a load on its horizontal axis.
  • Bearing  -  An angle in degrees measured clockwise from north.
  • Benchmark (BM)  -  A relatively fixed point whose coordinates and elevation datum are used for leveling and construction.
  • Blaze  -  A mark made upon a tree trunk.
  • Borrow  -  Material taken from one location to be used in another.
  • Borrow pit  -  A bank or pit where earth is taken from for use as fill elsewhere.
  • Boulder  -  Fragments greater than 256 mm.
  • Boulder wall  -  A wall constructed of boulders and set in morter.
  • Boundary line  -  A line of demarcation between adjoining parcels of land.
  • Boundary monument  -  An object placed on or near a boundary line to preserve and identify the location of the boundary line.
  • Boundary survey  -  A mathematically closed diagram of the complete outside boundary of a site.
  • Bounds  -  A general description of buildings, property, roads, and etc. used in legal documents.
  • Broken boundary  -  A series of line segments representing a boundary which is not a straight line.


  • Capped rebar (CRB)  -  A rebar 18" long, 1/2" diameter, with a cap having the company name and license number stamped into it.
  • Chaining  -  The measuring a distance using a chain or tape.
  • Clay  -  Particles ranging in size from 0.002 mm and smaller.
  • Closing corner  -  A corner established where a survey line intersects a previous fixed boundary at a point between corners.
  • Coarse aggregate  -  Particles ranging in size greater than 4.75 mm.
  • Cobble  -  Rock ranging in size from 65 mm to 256 mm.  Larger than a pebble and smaller than a boulder.
  • Collapse slump  -  The fresh concrete collapses completely.
  • Closed joint  -  A joint that is invisible or barely visible between two adjacent slabs or stones.
  • Column  -  A structural shape used to carry a load on its vertical axis.
  • Compass bearing  -  Uses magnetic north as a reference point. 
  • Concrete  -  A composite material that is created by mixing binding materials, aggregates, and water in specific porportions.
  • Concrete monument found (Con Mon F)  -  A permanent marker set by a land surveyor to reference controll points or property corners.
  • Concrete slump  -  An on the spot test to determine the consistancy and workability of fresh concrete.
  • Corner  -  The location of intersecting boundary lines.
  • Coordinate system  -  A grid where the axes are apart 90 degrees.
  • Corrosion  -  A process through which metal deterioates and returns to its natural oxidation state by a chemical reaction.
  • Cotton spindle  -  A 6" to 8" spindle used where you would typically use an iron pipe or rebar as a momument.
  • Culvert  -  A pipe or tunnel that carrys a stream under a road or highway.


  • Datum  -  An abstract coordinate system used to reference a known location.
  • Dead load  -  The full weight or pressure applied downward to a fixed location on the ground and relatively constant over time.  The weight is usually measured in pounds per square foot (psf).  The dead load can be calculated accurately because the load is constant.
  • Deed  -  A document that transfers title to real property.
  • Deep well  -  A well that draws water from beneath an impermeable stratum.
  • Density  -  The ratio of the amount of matter in an object compared to its volume.
  • Dynamic pressure  -  The amount of total pressure resulting from the media velocity.


  • Easement  -  The legal right to use another persons personal property.
  • Egress  -  The right to go on the land of another.
  • Elastic modulus  -  The ratio of the stress applied to a body or substance to the resulting strain within the elastic limits.
  • External distance (E)  -  The distance from the PI to the midpoint of the curve.


  • Factor of safety  -  The ability of a system's structural capacity to be usable beyond it's expected or acrual loads.
  • Flat roof  -  A roof having a pitch 10 percent or less to the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     bhorizon.      
  • Footing  -  Distributes the weight of a building or structure foundation, walls and columns.  Footings are generally associated with shallow foundations.  Piers are normally associated with deeper foundations.
  • Found (FD or FND)  -
  • Found corner (FD or FND)  -  An existing corner on a public land survey found by a field survey.
  • Foundation  -  Supports a building or structure and transfers the load level across the soil.
  • Friction  -  The mechanical resistance to the relative movement of two surfaces.
  • Friction coefficient  -  The ratio between two contacting surfaces and the frictional force that resists the normal force of the object.


  • General property parcel map (GPPM)  -
  • Geodetic survey  -  A percise survey that takes in the shape of the world.
  • Gradient  -  The rate of rise and fall.
  • Grid bearing  -  The northwards direction along the grid lines of a map used as a reference point.
  • Grid north  -  The direction of the north-south grid lines on a state plane coordinate system.
  • Gunter's Chain  - A distance of 66 feet or 4 poles.


  • Half section  -  Containing more or less 360 acres.


  • Ingress  -  The right to enter a tract of land.
  • Intersection sight distance (ISD)  -  The distance a motorist should be able to see other traffic in the intersection in order to enter safetly.
  • Iron pipe (IP)  -  A pipe 18" long, 3/4" outside diameter, with a plastic cap set inside having the company name and license number stamped into it.




  • Landmark (LM)  -  A marker made on a permanent feature of the land like rocks, trees, etc.
  • Land Surveying  -  The act of surveying to establish the correct property description or establish land boundaries.
  • Length of curve (L) (LC) (horizontal)  -  The distance from PC to PT.
  • Licensed/Land Surveyor # (LS)  -
  • Lightweight concrete  -  This concrete has strengthening properties that are not the same as normal concretes, with the mixing of binding materials, a lighter aggregate, and water in specific porportions.
  • Limit of disturbance (L.O.D.)  -
  • Live load  -  These loads are the dynamic forces from occupancy and use.  They are the forces that move through the building such as momentum and vibration.  But also included are appliances, cars, furnature, people, etc.  The weight is usually measured in pounds per square foot (psf).  The live load can not be calculated exactly because it can change over time.


  • Magnetic bearing  -  The direction toward the magnetic north pole as a reference point.
  • Magnetic concrete nail (MAG)  -  Stamped on top of nail.  Makes them easier to be found by metal detectors.
  • Magnetic north  -  The direction in which a magnetic needle of a compass points.
  • Manning equation  -  Is a commonly used equation for the uniform flow in open channels.
  • Marsh  -  Wetlands that features permanent large areas of land with shallow bodies of water that include a large amount of grasses.
  • Mean sea level  -  The average height of the surface of the sea.
  • Meridian  -  An imaginary north-south lines converging at the north and south poles.
  • Metes  -  A boundary defined by the measurement between terminal points of each straight run used in legal documents.
  • Metes and bounds  -  The boundary lines of land with angles and points used in legal documents.
  • Middle ordinate (M)  -  The distance from the midpoint of the curve to the midpoint of the long chord.
  • Minimum building setback (MBS)  -
  • Monument  -  A permanent marker set by a land surveyor to reference controll points or property corners.


  • Not to scale (NTS)  -


  • Overhead electric (OHE)  -
  • Oxidation  -  The loss of electrons in a chemical reaction.


  • Passing sight distance (PSD)  -  The distance a motorist should be able to observe the trafic in order to pass safetly.
  • Plane coordinates  -  Coordinates that represent the location of points on a plane.
  • Platt  -  A drawing that represents the survey area such as section corners, bearings and distances, parcel numbers, mineral rights, etc.
  • Pressure  -  It is the force exerted perpendicular to the surface of an object and is expressed as force per unit area.
  • Private storm drain easement (PSDE)  -
  • Property line (PL)  -
  • Public drainage easement (PDE)  -  Allows public utilities to acces a persons property to make any improvements to drainage as necessary.


  • Quarter corner  -  A corner halfway between the corners of a section.
  • Quarter section  -  Containing more or less 160 acres.


  • Rebar and cap (R/C)  -  A rebar 18" long, 1/2" diameter, with a cap having the company name and license number stamped into it.
  • Reinforced concrete  -  Concrete containing steel reinforcement (steel rods or mesh) provides resistance to internal forces that weaken the structure.
  • Right of way (R/W)  -  The legal right to cross the property of another person.
  • Roughness coefficient  -  Measures the roughness of the flow against the ground surface in an open channel.


  • Section  -  Containing more or less 640 acres, a division of a township.
  • Section corner  -  A corner at the extreme section boundary.
  • Shear slump  -  If one half of the cone slides down an inclined plane.
  • Shear Modulus  -  The ratio of the tangential force per unit area applied to a body or substance to the resulting tangential strain within the elastic limits.
  • Shear stress  -  Tends to deform the material by breaking rather than stretching without changing the volume by restraining the object.
  • Silt  -  Particles ranging in size from 0.002 mm to 0.05 mm.
  • Slurry  -  The measurement of the height loss from a compacted cone of fresh concrete.
  • Span  -  The distance between supports.
  • Stopping sight distance (SSD)  -  The distance traveled by a vehical from the time it is observer to the time it comes to a stop.
  • Survey  -  The field note record of measurements and observations of the work performed.


  • Tangent  -  A line that touches a curve at just one point such that it is perpendicular to a radius line of the curve.
  • Thermal expansion coefficient  -  The percentage change in the length of the material per degree of temperature change, heated solid or liquid.
  • Tie point  -  The point where the survey connection is made.
  • Torque  -  It is a measure of how much twisting is applied.
  • Township  -  A quadrangle having sides approximatelly 6 miles in length with parallels and medians.
  • Township corner  -  A corner at the extreme township boundary that also falls on a section corner.
  • Township lines  - Boundary lines that run north and south and stop at range lines.
  • Traverse  -  A sequence of randomly located distance and angles between measured survey lines and points in order to locate something or set property corners.
  • True bearing  -  The direction toward the geographic north pole as a reference point. 
  • True north  -  A direction parallel to the earth's axis pointing to the north pole.
  • True slump  -  The concrete just slumps a little and more or less maintains its moulding shape.
  • Turn angle  -  Using an instrument to measure or set an angle.


  • Utility easement (UE)  -  A utility company has the right to access another persons property to install, maintain, and repair without actually owning the propery.



  • Weephole  -  A hole that allows water to escape from, such as the bottom of pipe support to stop corrosion, or from behind a retaining wall to relieve pressure.
  • Witness corner (WC)  -  When a property corner can not be set at a corner, a witness corner is set, usually on the line at a measured distance.




  • Zero slump  -  The fresh concrete maintaines the actual shape of the mould.



Display #
Algebric Difference in Grade
Brake Reaction Distance
Braking Distance
Braking Distance on Grade
Clearance Length
Concrete Volume
Decision Sight Distance
Distance Traversed by Opposing Vehicle
Distance While Passing Vehicle Occupies Left Lane
Earthwork Cross-section Area
Earthwork Cross-Section Volume
Equipment Location Plan
Initial Maneuver Distance
Intersection Sight Distance
Job Concrete Mix Volume
K Value
Length of Crest Vertical Curve for Stopping Sight Distance
Passing Sight Distance
Roof Angle, Pirch, Run, and Slope
Stopping Sight Distance
Tensile Strength of Concrete