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Inv misc shovel 01.png
  • Survey
  • 40 yd range
  • 3 sec cooldown
  • 1 sec cast
  • Survey for archaeology fragments within a dig site. Each survey will direct you closer to the location of the fragments.
School Nature
Cooldown 3 sec
Other information
Requirements Archaeology

Survey is a skill linked to the Archaeology profession.


Surveying is the skill used to obtain archaeological fragments. These fragments are later combined to form archaeological artifacts.

Using this ability at a dig site will cause survey equipment known as a theodolite to appear. It resembles a telescope on a tripod and points in direction of a nearby find. A colored light indicates how far away the find is.

If you survey within 8 yards of the find, the find itself will appear.

Each successful survey run will gain you:

  • 5-9 archaeology fragments
  • a chance of finding a keystone


The theodolite aim can be off by as much as 30 degrees[citation needed] . While that isn't much when the find is within 50 yards, it can be substantial at longer distances. Still, it serves as a good approximation.

As a quick rule of thumb, a red light shows that mounting up will probably be worthwhile. You will probably want to run for about 5 seconds. You probably will want to stop short on a green light.

Survey results will only be gatherable for a few seconds before it disappears. If you are unsure you will be able to collect it immediately (because of interfering hostile mobs - or on PvP servers, hostile players), you will want to slay the mob (or discourage the player) before surveying. If players can stay in the same spot where the find appeared, survey again and it will reappear without counting against the total for that dig site.

If you survey at a dig site without exhausting it, then survey at a different dig site before returning to the first, the location of the next find at that first dig site will have been reset.

It is currently (early December 2010) possible for a find to be located within/on a wall steep enough that it cannot be reached from above or from below. In this case, reset the find location by going to a different dig site, digging, and returning.

There are also cases where the target location is outside the bounds you are allowed to use the Survey ability. For these cases, it may be possible to succeed by sidling along the boundary, surveying every few feet. If that does not work, or you lack the patience for it, you can also avoid this by going to another dig site and returning as above.

Priests can use survey while floating over water using [Levitate], however, the surveying equipment will not appear on the surface of the water - it will appear on the bottom of the body of water the priest is standing on.

Patch changes

  • Cataclysm Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): The number of fragments per survey was increased to 5-9.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): Undocumented change
    Cooldown reduced to 3 sec, down from 5.
  • Cataclysm Hotfix (2010-12-20): The search radius to find an Archaeology node from the Archaeology ability Survey has been increased. This will result in fewer searches needed while in the "green" range of surveying.
  • Cataclysm Hotfix (2010-12-14): Archaeology now gives 3-6 fragments per survey, up from 3 (2-4 or 3-5 at lower skill levels).
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Added

External links