We currently live in what is often termed the information age. Aided by new and emerging technologies, data are being collected at unprecedented rates in all walks of life. For example, in the field of surveying, total station instruments, global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) equipment, digital metric cameras, laser-scanning systems, LiDAR, mobile mapping systems, and satellite imaging systems are only some of the new instruments that are now available for rapid generation of vast quantities of observational data.
Geographic information systems (GISs) have evolved concurrently with the development of these new data acquisition instruments. GISs are now used extensively for management, planning, and design. They are being applied worldwide at all levels of government, in business and industry, by public utilities, and in private engineering and surveying offices. Implementation of a GIS depends on large quantities of data from a variety of sources, many of them consisting of observations made with the new instruments such as those noted above and others collected by instruments no longer used in practice.
However, before data can be utilized whether for surveying and mapping projects, for engineering design, or for use in a geographic information system, they must be processed. One of the most important aspects of this is to account ...