Surveying is an old profession which originates from ancient Egypt to about 3,000 years ago. It determines the position of certain building or land in three dimensions before construction of any structure begins. It can be performed by licensed surveyors only since they are the only ones who have the proper surveying equipment. Surveying is an essential part of mapping land boundaries, slopes, distances, features, enabling land development and accurate land dimensions.

Did you know that in the past, every surveyor used a specific surveying tool that would differ him/her from other surveyors? Or that the first president of the United States, George Washington was a known surveyor and map-maker?

  • In Greece and Rome, surveyors were people held with exceptional esteem, as they were responsible for the straight angles and perfect lines that shaped the remarkable buildings and coliseums that are still present today. They used a simple surveying tool called Groma.
  • Also, Greeks and Romans invented an early surveying tool called Groma, which was a long staff with a cross bar that served to measure right angles and straight lines. Groma is believed to originate from about 400 BC in Mesopotamia, which is today’s Iraq.
  • The biggest breakthrough in surveying technology occurred in 1773 when Jesse Ramsden, an English mathematician and scientific instrument maker, invented a circular dividing engine. The first quality circular dividing engine allowed the manufacture of very accurate mathematical and scientific instruments and tools. Also, Jesse Ramsden published a Description of an Engine for Dividing Mathematical Instruments in 1777.
  • Captain James Cook is one of the most famous surveyors in the world, because he is one of the first who sailed into every ocean and surveyed all the areas he discovered. He used a set of surveying equipments – a brass telescopic, a theodolite and small station flags. Captain Cook is also one of the first English to step on every major continent in the world and the first to cross both the Antarctic and Arctic Circles.
  • The first president of United States, George Washington, began his remarkable career as a surveyor, map-maker and soldier. He began to work as a surveyor’s assistant in 1748 at the age of 16, but after only a year, he became a surveyor for the newly created frontier country of Culpepper. There he gained a reputation as an honest, fair and dependable person.