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How to Permaculture design without accurate topographic images

 
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I recently acquired my land. It's borders are oddly shaped, any birds-eye view photos I can find of it or several years old, and in the 20+ years since man has left it to its own devices, it has allowed a small forest of mainly pines and birches to flourish. A nagging itch is telling me that I should start making designs of my property, which I plan to transform into a food forest, but I don't know where to start. There's already a number of ~20 meter tall trees, and I've built a greenhouse. The difficulty lies in transposing what's here now onto paper so that I can design for the the future.

I would appreciate any advice on getting started without relying on guess work. Should I rent a drone to get a new aerial photo, or are there reliable alternatives?
 
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This thread might be helpful:  https://permies.com/t/110082/permaculture-projects/Struggling-effective-base-map

I use google earth.  We can mark different locations on it then make several printed copies so we can draw on it.

Using a GPS to find certain location might also be effective.
 
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There's a few measuring techniques you could use to locate features. In my surveying days, when equipment was readily available, it was super accurate; but, a tape measure, plumb bob, and spirit level will still provide good accuracy e.g. To the centimetre if done right.

Alternatively, the A-frame level used by some Permies will also do the job.

In either method, you'll need a couple of known points of reference that are permanent and stable enough to work from e.g. Concrete patio, water meter, property boundary corner posts, etc, so you can use some basic trigonometry to locate things.

These measurements can then be transposed to a simple property plan.

Using aerial photos or a drone could be expensive, the company would need to provide photos to an acceptable scale - orthorectify - so you could use them for measurement. (Accurately scaling off aerial photos is hard without knowing a whole lot of stuff - Photogrammetry.)

So, triangulation is the most accurate and easiest way to locate features.
 
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Thanks for the details. Between several year old satellite photos and some referencing & triangulation I have a pretty good idea how to get started, and how to get it onto Illustrator
 
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