Blog : The History of Land Surveying

The History of Land Surveying

Did you know that Land Surveying is one of the oldest professions in the world? Let’s look at the history of land surveying and how it has influenced modern land surveying.

Land Surveying

Ownership of land has always been and is still today a very significant part of the lives of everyone in the world. Whether it was used to establish which ancient tribe owned which land segment or the boundaries of major cities as they formed across the globe, the history of land surveying is incredibly interesting.

By definition, Land Surveying is the process by which land is surveyed and measured using mathematical means.
The first examples of land surveying date back to the ancient Egyptians in Giza during the constructing of the Great Pyramid in 2700 BC. There is evidence that the Egyptians used basic geometry to draw boundary lines when the Nile overflowed its banks.

The Romans were the next civilization to advance on the initial land surveying techniques of the Egyptians. Historical evidence shows that the Roman Empire was the first civilization to employ an official land surveyor within their Empire. They used simple tools to create straight lines and angles. The land surveyors had a range of jobs in the Empire and some of their work is still evident today.

One of the best-known players in land surveying history was Napoleon Bonaparte – who was trying to conquer the world. He always ensured that he had very precise maps produced that were drawn down to scale both at 1:2500 and 1:1250. The cadastres he had, a comprehensive land recording of the real property’s metes-and-bounds, were widely used.

Modern Land Surveying

As time has progressed, land surveying tools and techniques have advanced and the role of land surveyors is much broader than it was in the past. These days land surveyors have access to much more accurate tools such as GPS (global positioning systems). Of which, any large project will need GPS-based surveying in order to be in compliance with state, federal and sometimes local laws.

Total Stations are also very commonly used in today’s land surveying. A total station is an electronic/optical instrument that uses electronic transit theodolite in conjunction with electronic distance meter (EDM). It is also integrated with a microprocessor, electronic data collector and a storage system allowing for a more precise land surveying process. Total stations are mainly used by land surveyors and civil engineers, either to record features as in topographic surveying or to set features such as roads and boundaries.

A newer technology on the scene that is in its infancy are the use of drones. Drone surveys, aerial surveys, UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) surveys, and UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) surveys are an increasingly popular method of surveying form the air. Mapping with drones is done using Photogrammetry which is the science of making measurements from Photographs. Multiple overlapping photos of the ground below are captured as the aircraft flies autonomously along a flight path that we specify beforehand.

At Stoner & Associates, we have a long-standing company history within the surveying industry and are very knowledgeable with the latest equipment and techniques available to provide accurate surveys. Most importantly, we work hard to be part of your team and to answer any and all questions pertaining to various easements, the survey, certifications, and title commitments.

For more information regarding commercial property easements and surveying services offered by Stoner & Associates, please call us at (954) 585-0997 or request a quote.



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Fort Lauderdale Surveyors
4341 Southwest 62nd Avenue
Davie, Florida  33314
Phone: (954) 585-0997
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