Surveyors have an important role in history | News, Sports, Jobs

From left to right: Todd Courinos and Anthony Pascuzzi (Precision Laser & Instrument, Inc.), Amy Lesher, Bill Sorg, Todd Hendricks, Jim Hunter, Joe McGraw, Dan Barry, Scott Johnson and Allen Yard.

On March 3, the Northwestern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors (PSLS) met at Bent Run Brewery in Warren for the election of chapter officers, professional networking and to briefly discuss the review “Standards of Practice for Professional Land Surveyors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” as recently adopted by PSLS on November 19, 2021. Land surveyors also discussed the upcoming National Survey Week and the importance of this week in shedding light on the land surveying profession. Surveyor’s Week (March 20-26, 2022) was recently recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by Proclamation from the Governor’s Office.

Representatives from Precision and Laser & Instrument, Inc of Ambridge, Pennsylvania also attended the meeting and gave a presentation and discussion on new surveying technologies.

The purpose of this article is to shed light on National Land Surveyors Week and why it is important to recognize the contributions of land surveyors today and throughout our history. National Land Surveyors Week is celebrated this year from March 20-26 and was created to raise awareness of the land surveying profession and to recognize the contributions of land surveyors and the vital services they provide to the public.

You may not know that Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson were all surveyors. The surveying community often refers to Mount Rushmore as “Three Surveyors and That Other Guy”. These notable surveyors played a vital role in the early development of America.

You can think of a surveyor like that guy or girl in an orange vest along the road looking through a strange instrument mounted on a tripod. Despite little public awareness of the surveying profession, the role of a surveyor is as important today as it has been throughout history.

The roots of the surveying profession can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where surveyors were known as “rope tensioners” because they used a calibrated rope to measure distances. Surveyors in ancient Rome measured roads, aqueducts, canals, buildings, city lots, and land subdivisions using an instrument called a groma. The Romans were very keen on property boundaries. In Roman religion, Terminus was the god who protected boundary stones. Terminus is the Latin word for a terminal. Sacrifices were made to sanctify each landmark, and in Roman times landowners celebrated a feast called the “Terminals” each year to honor Terminus.

Today, the primary tools of a land surveyor consist of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), a level and level staff, an optical surveying instrument called a total station that measures and calculates angles and distances using both electronic distance measurement (EDM) and an electronic digital theodolite, data collector and computer-aided design (CAD) software for drafting maps. There are also robotic total stations that can be controlled remotely once set up. Modern surveyors may also use Geographic Information System (GIS) for planning, mapping, or geographic data management, drones for aerial mapping, and 3D scanning technology known as ground sensing and ranging. light (LIDAR).

A professional land surveyor is a person registered and licensed by a state board to engage in the practice of surveying. States sometimes differ in their definition of surveying, but in general, a land surveyor is someone qualified to determine the precise position of objects on, above, or below the earth’s surface. Land surveyors combine history, research, science, technology, and mathematics to benefit the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to ensure quality land and asset management.

Land surveyors search public and private records and investigate and analyze evidence of the location of boundary lines. Performing a boundary survey involves locating, relocating, establishing, re-establishing, or re-tracing property lines, road allowances, easements, or alignments.

Surveyors place corner monuments and outline the location of property lines for the preparation of deeds, act as expert witnesses in disputes involving property lines or land issues, and measure and map the contour terrain by calculating angles, distances, areas and volumes. A surveyor delivers the results of his work in the form of 2 and 3 dimensional data, detailed maps and/or plans, descriptions and reports. A surveyor “Spot” of an object’s precise location is of crucial importance in all surveying disciplines.

Land surveyors work in a number of disciplines across the country, including survey work associated with delineation of property boundaries in the field, land subdivision, hydrographic mapping, accident reconstruction and forensics, utility lines, buying or selling property, environmental planning, engineering and architecture, oil and gas development, construction layout, forestry and roads iron. Several agencies employ land surveyors, including private survey companies, land management companies, utility companies, transportation departments, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service. wildlife, USDA Forest Service and National Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) and conservation agencies. .

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a professional land surveyor is called a PLS. Professional land surveyors are licensed to practice by the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. In order to obtain a professional license as a land surveyor, and after meeting the minimum education requirements, a person must first pass the Fundamentals of Surveying test from the National Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Surveyors ( NCEES) to become a Land Surveyor in Training (SIT).

A person must then obtain 4 or more years of progressive surveying experience under the direct supervision of a professional land surveyor or similar experience approved by the Board of Record after obtaining an SIT certificate. Once this experience has been obtained and approved by the Board of Record, a person can take the NCEES exam in the Principles and Practice of Surveying and the Pennsylvania state-specific exam. After meeting these requirements and passing these exams, one can obtain professional land surveyor status.

Pennsylvania Registration Law (Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law – Act of May 23, 1945, PL 913, No. 367 Cl. 63 as amended) requires every professional surveyor in the Commonwealth of PA to complete 24 hours professional development hours every two years in order to maintain their professional license. Professional land surveyors are also subject to by-laws published by the National Board of Registration of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, 49 Pa. Code 37.1 – 37.111. Members of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors (PSLS) adhere to the Standards of Practice. PSLS members are also members of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) which adheres to the “Surveyor’s Creed and Canons”, describing the ethics that the professional land surveyor follows. Surveyors undertake to use their knowledge “for the advancement and improvement of human welfare”, placing service and honor before profit and personal advantage. Investigators strive to maintain client confidentiality, avoid bias or vested interests when presenting analyzes and opinions, and only accept assignments within their particular area of ​​expertise.

A list of local professional land surveyors can often be found in local planning and zoning offices, the yellow pages, through an Internet search, or by word of mouth. According to the referenced demographic sources, the average age of a professional surveyor in America is over 50 years old. As many surveyors retire, the demand for a surveying professional is only expected to increase in the future. If you know someone who wants to pursue this profession, ask them to contact a professional land surveyor to observe the work or answer questions about the profession. You can also find additional information about the profession by visiting the National Society of Professional Land Surveyors website at If you know a land surveyor in your area, don’t forget to wish them a Happy National Land Surveyors Week!

Joe McGraw is president of the PSLS Northwest Chapter.

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