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The history of land surveying is very interesting and diverse and it is in fact one of
the oldest professions in the world. In today’s guide we shall look at the history of
land surveying and how it has influenced modern land surveying.

About Land Surveying

Land surveying is the process by which land is surveyed and measured using mathematical

The history of land surveying dates back thousands of years and forms of land surveying have
been around since ancient man in all major civilizations across the globe.

Ownership of land has and still is a very significant part of the lives of everyone in the world.
Whether it was finding out which tribe owned which forest or the boundaries of major cities, the
history of land surveying is incredibly interesting.

Where did the History of Land Surveying Begin?

The first examples in the history of land surveying date back to the ancient Egyptians during the
building of the Great Pyramid at Giza in 2700 BC. There is evidence of the Egyptians using basic
geometry to redraw 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.

The Domesday Book, created by William the Conqueror in 1086 in England is another early
example of the history of land surveying. The amount of information about the land was very
impressive for the time, however the quality of land surveying was very poor and accuracy was

Possibly one of the best known characters in land surveying history was Napoleon Bonaparte –
who was very enthusiastic about accurate land surveying. He always ensured that he had very
precise maps, which were obviously very important when he was trying to conquer the world.
He had maps produced that were drawn down to scale both at 1:2500 and 1:1250. The
cadastres he had were used widely and spread quickly, however problems were encountered in
built-up areas where things changed quite rapidly.