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Land Surveying History

Land Surveying is one of the oldest professions in the world.  It is the process in which land is measured using mathematical means.

Ownership of land is extremely important today and was thousands of years ago.  From surveying a forest to city streets, boundaries must be determined to define rights of the property.

There is evidence of land surveying dating back to ancient Egyptians during the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza in 2700 BC.  The Romans advanced land surveying techniques of the Egyptians.  They used simple tools to create straight lines and angles.

Probably the best known in land surveying history was Napoleon Bonaparte.  He was enthusiastic about accurate land surveying. 

New technologies and theories have become available.  Hundreds of years ago land surveyors used many means for measuring distances.  Chains with links that have a known length; surveyors in measuring horizontal angles would use some form of compass.  These methods were less accurate - not due to the land surveyor's work but due to the inaccuracy of the tools used.  Today, sophisticated equipment is used that is much more accurate.

Fundamentals of Land Surveying has not changed and the reason remains the same, but the techniques and methods have evolved over time.

Even with today's techniques, having knowledge and learning from surveyors who used the less advanced tools can be helpful.  I recently did a 75 acre job, and had to depend on the help of what I learned from my father and the "old school" way of surveying.  It is reassuring to me that I have that to fall back on when today's methods are not helpful.

(some information on the history of Land Surveying was gathered from

The Original Monument in Washington DC
Used when laying out the boundaries of the District of Columbia

This picture was taken when I visited Washington in 2011

Federal Boundary Stone for the District of Columbia.  Placed April 15, 1791

This picture was taken when I visited Washington in 2011 

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