History of Land Surveying

land surveyingLand surveying is about the oldest professions on earth. From that time man has decided that a section of land should be owned by a tribe, the necessity of surveying began.

Land surveying is fascinating. The methods used try to decide which section of land is owned by whom, hopefully ending arguments once and for all.

In a nutshell, surveying is a process using mathematical methods for survey land.

How Land Surveying Started

The first accounts of surveying land extends back to ancient Egypt. Experts have discovered evidences which the ancient Egyptians used basic geometry to redraw the lines of boundary once the Nile River overflowed. An Egyptian land register going back 3000 BC was also found.

Following the Egyptians, the Romans – also quite possibly the most powerful civilizations belonging to the ancient world – practiced land surveying. They took it one step further and made “land surveyor” a state position throughout the Empire. These people were called agrimensores, commonly known as Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum. Though they used simple tools, they had been very thorough with their jobs and would create straight lines and correct angles by using these tools. After the lines were measured, they would create shallow ditches to mark the lines. In fact, a lot of the furrows they created exist today.

One of several recorded land surveying of the “modern” times belongs to William the Conqueror who wrote the Domesday Book in 1086. This book is actually a directory of names of land owners, the amount of land they owned and also other information about the land. While it was a brilliant variety of information during this time period, the bits of information weren’t 100% correct. The locations just weren’t accurate and the maps were not built to scale.

One of history’s greatest icons was also a passionate surveyor – Napoleon Bonaparte. The interest in surveying land was really just a product of his want to conquer the earth. Napoleon Bonaparte founded a registry known as the cadastre. This consisted of a registry of properties of a county, ownership details, locations and as many details about the land’s value. Yes, Napoleon Bonaparte can be viewed as a land surveyor – and a very smart man.

The methods put to use in land surveying have also evolved over the centuries, over time. Years back, people would use many different things to help them determine the distance from one location to another. For example, many have used actual chains with links as well as ropes. Not surprisingly, this didn’t give accurate results but they were without the more advanced technology we have today.

Today, land surveyors have the best technologies in order to help with their job. There is GPS, or Global Positioning System, which is one of the more accurate technologies being used today. Total stations are also necessary to a land surveyor, which employs the use of an EDM or Electronic Distance Measurement device together with a theodolite that enables precise angle and distance measurements.

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