Tips for the Non-Surveyor

Have you ever been curious about surveying markouts and/or what the flags and spray paint mean?

If you are interested in learning the color codes, please read on!

It is important to know that these color codes follow a guideline suggested by the American Public Works Association (APWA). These utility markouts have 6 main colors, and can be referred to as color systems, survey flag colors, survey color codes, and other similar names. Even though there are multiple names for these utility markouts, the meanings behind the color codes and what they are used for always remain the same.

The 6 main survey color codes are as follows:

  • Red is used for electric power lines;
  • Orange is used for telecommunications;
  • Green is used for sewers and drain lines;
  • Yellow is used for natural gas, oil, steam, and petroleum;
  • Purple is used for unknown utilities; and
  • Blue is used for potable water.

To conclude, knowing what each color code means will help you identify what is located underground and can potentially protect your life or someone you know.

Image from Utility Survey US