Types of Chains Used in Chain Surveying

Civil engineers use chains to measure distances between points on land or water. Discover more about these chains here!

Chains are used by civil engineers to measure distances between points. They're made up of links that connect at right angles. The length of each link depends on its type. 

Types of Chains Used in Chain Surveying
 Types of Chains Used in Chain Surveying

The different types of chains used in surveying are:

  1. Metric Chains
  2. Gunter's Chain or Surveyor's chain
  3. Engineer's chain
  4. Revenue chain
  5. Steel Band or Band Chain


1. Metric Chain in Surveying (IS : 1492-1970)

  • Most commonly used chain in India
  • Available lengths are 5, 10,20 and 30m. Most commonly used chain is 20m.
  • For quick reading, tallies are provided at an interval. 
  • Tallies are provided every 1m for 5 and 10m metric chains, and every 5m for 20 and 30m metric chains. 
  • Brass rings are provided at every 1m interval.
  • The brass handle shows the total length of the chain. 


Metric Chain in Surveying (IS : 1492-1970)


2. Gunter's Chain in Surveying

  • Gunter's chain is also called as surveyor's chain.
  • 66 feet = 100 links
  • 1 link = 0.6ft
  • Measurement in furlongs and miles.
    • 10 Gunter's chain = 1 furlong
    • 80 Gunter's chain = 1 mile

3. Engineer's Chain

  • It is 100 feet long with 100 links
  • 1 link = 1 feet 
  • Distance measured in feet and decimals.


4. Revenue Chain

  • It is 33 feet long with 16 links.
  • 1 link = 2 (1/16) feet.
  • It is used in the cadastral survey.

5. Steel band or band chain

  • Strip of blue steel of width = 12 to 16mm, thickness = 0.3 to 0.6mm
  • Every 20cm, brass studs are there. Marking is provided every 1m.
Steel band or band chain
Steel band or band chain

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