Happy National Surveyors’ Week!
An Ancient Profession that Determines Land Boundaries
This week is National Surveyors’ Week, and we want to recognize all our professional land surveyors in the Central Coast for their hard work and for continuing the profession. They have been responsible for providing answers to the questions of land-boundary determination since the early days of civilization. Land surveyors were instrumental in the formation of property boundaries of the United States, which has provided its citizens with the enjoyment of property ownership.
Land surveying is the art of measuring and mapping the land using the most sophisticated, and some less sophisticated, techniques and technologies — beginning with steel tape and star constellations, up to presently measuring with Global Positional Systems, laser scanners, and drones.
Did you know three of the presidents carved into Mount Rushmore were surveyors? That is right, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson were surveyors. Even though the early stages of this profession dates as far back as Ancient Egypt, this profession is not well known by the public today, creating a decline in land surveyors. We all have seen those people on the road or somewhere in town with a “camera” aiming at an empty lot or busy street. They might’ve been a surveyor and not a photographer.
This career doesn’t just offer the opportunity to work in the office but also outdoors. One day we can be measuring land for a new development downtown and the next day be in the middle of nowhere measuring acreage for new solar farms.
Today, there are hundreds of job openings in land surveying in California and across the United States. There is a noticeable disparity of the number of surveyors between generations. As Baby Boomers and Gen X are retiring from the profession, there aren’t enough millennials to fill in these positions. The main reason is the lack of awareness of this career. We hear about the different careers in engineering, but we don’t hear about geomatics engineering or land surveying very often.
This profession doesn’t only involve mathematics, but it also incorporates engineering, science, and art. Land surveyors and engineers work in unison to complete different projects such as new housing developments, roads, bridges, parks, equipment fitment, and many more. Surveyors are typically the first to arrive to the site to measure the terrain and its topographic features, such as utilities, trees, structures, and anything of importance the design team might need to complete the design phase for future improvements. And surveyors are the last to leave when they set that last property corner or centerline monument for that new development or road.
What education do you need to become a surveyor? There are land surveyors with a variety of college backgrounds such as history, biology, civil engineering, environmental sciences, agriculture, geomatics engineering, and so on. A four-year degree is usually required, but it doesn’t have to be in land surveying. Many surveyors acquired their experience through internships and/or apprenticeship.
Land surveyors have and will continue to contribute to public safety and help enhance the quality of life around us. For this we celebrate them. If you see a land surveyor this week, wish them a Happy National Surveyors’ Week.
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