Geospatial Engineering


USACE Survey Drivers

The objective of the Survey Drivers Project is to design, implement, and maintain a system for managing the standardized geospatial survey file formats of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, including, but not limited to the national standard published in the Engineering Manual, EM1110-2-1005, and all formats used internally by the New Orleans District such as LMN830 and Traverse Computation files. The Survey Drivers software is composed of a “back-end” DLL component written in Visual Basic 6.0 and a “front-end” DLL component written in C#. The back-end component is responsible for parsing and interpreting the various survey file formats. The front-end implements ESRI's Plug-in Workspace Factory Interfaces. Implementation of Survey Drivers as a "Plug-in Workspace Factory" allows ESRI's ArcGIS application to read any USACE survey file as if it were one of ArcGIS's native file formats. The system supports point, line, and polygon features, feature attribution, coordinate system definition, and metadata synchronization. In addition to ArcGIS, the Survey Drivers library can also also be used without ArcGIS in custom applications. Languages such as C++, Visual Basic, and Python that support interoperability with the Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) can access the non-ESRI classes in Survey Drivers. The Survey Drivers library saves application developers time and effort, by providing a simple object model to access information from standard survey files, in contrast to writing custom parsers for each new application. Survey Drivers includes extensive user documentation, including reference specification for the EM and LMN830 file formats, as well as command-line utilities for checking survey formats, compiling surveys into shapefiles, and exporting surveys to Google Earth format (KML).



Disclaimer The United States Government (the Government) furnishes these computer programs (along with any associated documentation) and the recipient accepts and uses them with the express understanding that the Government makes no warranties, expressed, or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, usability, or suitability for any particular purpose of the information and programs furnished. The United States shall be under no liability whatsoever to any person or organization by reason of any use made thereof. These programs belong to the Government. Therefore, the recipient further agrees not to represent these programs to anyone as other than Government programs. The recipient may not transfer these programs to others without also transferring this disclaimer.



• Survey Drivers User Guide (*.pdf 2,907 KB)

EM File Format Specification 2015 Revision 3(*.pdf  600 KB) - updated 12/03/2015

• LMN830 File Format Specification (*.pdf 44KB)

*Deprecated*EM File Format Specification 2009 Revision 2(*.pdf 267 KB) - updated 03/19/2012
• *Deprecated*EM File Format Specification 2009 Revision 1(*.pdf 258 KB) - updated 07/08/10
• *Deprecated*EM File Format Specification 2006 (*.pdf 157 KB) - updated 05/08/09



Current Release
• USACE Survey Drivers v2.0.3 (*.zip 10 MB)

• USACE Survey Drivers v2.0.2 (*.zip 8 MB)
• USACE Survey Drivers v1.6.8b (*.zip 10.95 MB)
• USACE Survey Drivers v1.5.0 (*.zip 18.01 MB)
• USACE Survey Drivers v1.4.0 BETA (*.zip 18.5 MB)
• USACE Survey Drivers v1.3.0 (*.msi 7.49 MB)


Release Notes
Version 2.0.3
  • Modified for use with ArcGIS 10.1 or later.
Version 2.0.2
  • Re-wrote the front-end of the application in C# to make it compatible with ArcGIS 10.
  • Modified the metadata functionality to generate metadata in both FGDC metadata format and ArcGIS metadata format.
  • Requires ArcGIS Version 10.0 or later.
Version 1.6.8B
  • Added “GridAzimuth” and “GeodeticAzimuth” attributes to cross-sections table. Grid Azimuth is the azimuth of the cross-section based on the native projection of the survey. Geodetic Azimuth is the calculation of the azimuth based on the survey’s spherical coordinates (latitude/longitude). Currently, the Geodetic Azimuth is only implemented for LMN830 files.
  • Added “BaselineIntersectX” and “BaselineIntersectY” properties to the cross-sections table. These values represent the coordinate where a cross-section intersects the survey’s associated baseline.
  • Added “BaselineOffset” attribute to cross-section points table. This value represents the distance from the intersection of the baseline and the cross-section to the point along the cross-section range line.
  • Added “RangeStartOffset” attribute to cross-section points table. This value represents the distance from the range line start point to the cross-section point along the range line.
  • Added “LateralOffset” attribute to cross-section points table. This value represents the distance from the cross-section point to the range line.
  • Implemented hatching features for profiles and cross-section M-values.
  • Added support for area features in the survey_to_kml utility program.
  • Added support for Louisiana HARN for State Plane Zone 1702.
  • Added error message for gages that are missing time or water surface elevation.
  • Recompiled utilities (survey_ogr.exe, survey_checker.exe, and survey_to_kml.exe) with Python 2.5 (previous versions were built with Python 2.4).
  • Added additional survey codes documented in Revision 4 of the EM09 format specification.
  • Added VERTICAL UPDATE to Benchmark Conditions domain.
  • Added NA2011 to Horizontal Epochs domain.
  • Fixed profile stationing algorithm to work in the special case where no points from the baseline can be projected onto the centerline
  • Fixed Convex Hull Calculation in survey_ogr.
  • Requires ArcGIS Version 9.2 or 9.3.
Version 1.5.0
  • Fixed to support metadata in ArcGIS 9.3.1
  • Fixed installer registration issues for Windows 7 and other windows systems that install programs in C:\Program Files (x86).
  • Added stationing calculation for EM profiles.
  • Fixed profiles. If a profile is missing a name, an error will no longer be generated and the profile starting northing and easting will be parsed.
  • Added benchmark references to gages.
  • Added missing profile descriptions in ArcGIS for EM files.
  • Added missing benchmark dates in ArcGIS for EM files.
  • Requires ArcGIS Version 9.2 or 9.3.
Version 1.4.0
  • included built-in support for State Plane and UTM coordinate reference systems outside of the state of Louisiana.
  • Requires ArcGIS Version 9.2 or 9.3.


• Engineering Survey Section Home Page


Geospatial Engineering
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