Technique to calculate square feet of your land area

Anyone who has passed grade six mathematics would have been exposed to ways and methods of calculating the area of a piece of land. This is a very useful and vital piece of knowledge, which is useful throughout life whether one wants to build a project, determine the property line, or even parcel out land ownership. The calculation could get a little complex for irregular shaped pieces of land. Therefore, though all have studied it in school, a sort of mind refreshing would be useful. Here is a description of how to calculate square feet of your land area.

Difficulty level: Moderately easy

Resources needed:

  1. Pen or pencil
  2. Paper
  3. Scientific calculator
  4. Measuring tape (preferably one which is at least 5 meters)

Time needed:

It is difficult to say how much time will be needed to complete the project for it depends entirely on the size of land to be measured. For small, private properties, the whole exercise should be done in 5-6 hours.


  1. Take the piece of paper and make a rough drawing of the shape of your land. Try to be as precise as possible though it is not necessary to be accurate. You will obtain a polygon of differing number of sides.
  2. Use the measuring tape to get the measures of all the different sides of the piece of land. Make these measurements in feet.
  3. Divide the piece of land on the paper into smaller units by drawing lines. Thus, your whole land should be a mass constituted by multiple triangles and quadrilaterals.
  4. Find out which sides of the triangles and quadrilaterals in the drawing do not have a measure. Measure these lengths in the land with the measuring tape (in feet) and fill in the newly obtained details on the paper drawing.
  5. Use the following formulae to calculate the areas of the triangles and quadrilaterals. For triangles: (Heron’s formula)
    Area = SqRt{s(s-a)(s-b)(s-c)} where s = (a+b+c)/2 and a,b,c are sides of the triangle.
    For quadrilaterals: (Brahmagupta Formula)
    Area = SqRt{(s-a)(s-b)(s-c)(s-d)} where s = (a+b+c+d)/2 and a,b,c,d are the sides of the quadrilateral.
    You can use simpler formulae for standard shapes. Use the formula (length x breadth) for calculating the area of squares and rectangles. For right triangles the formula is (0.5x base x height).
  6. Use the calculator to make the calculations and note down each measure on the piece of paper. Add up all the area measures to get the total area of your land in square feet.

Frequently asked questions:

Q. What should I do if my land holding is very large, say in kilometers.

Ans. Unbelievably, the measurement actually becomes easier then. Such large pieces of land are accurately measured and recorded in the governmental offices in your place. You can simply obtain the measurements from there and use the same principles and techniques laid out in this article to measure your land area. You may choose to measure the land in other units rather than square feet (acres, hectares, square kilometers, etc.)

Q. What should I do in case of medium-sized land holdings where a square feet is too small a measure, but I still want the measurements in square feet?

Ans. This should not be much of a problem at all. Measure all the lengths in whatever unit is comfortable for you. Before you whip out the calculator to determine the areas of the individual portions, convert all the measurements into feet. Conversion tables are easily available online.


  • Dividing the land into greater number of triangles and quadrilaterals on paper increases the accuracy of your measurements, while keeping the number low makes calculation easier.
  • Getting right-angled triangles and quadrilaterals, which are either rectangles or squares, makes calculations easier.
  • The task would get easier if there is someone to assist in the measurements. This way, the readings can be taken accurately and there will be no inadvertent errors in recording the measures.

Things to watch out for:

  • Make your measurements to at least two decimal points to get an accurate measurement. Else, the approximations can add or deduct considerable areas of your land.
  • If you are measuring in larger units and converting into feet, make use of three decimal places and make the approximations only after the areas of the smaller pieces have been determined. This will ensure that the approximation effect will not build on along the calculations.


The method described above is the most elegant and perfect way to determine the land area. Summing up the whole exercise, the key to accurate land area determination lies in three things – good approximation drawing, accurate measurements, and precise calculations.