What Surveyors do

Surveying is the science of the accurate determination of the relative positions of points above, on, or below the earth’s surface for the planning and efficient administration of the land, the sea and any structures thereon.

There are a number of different branches of surveying, all of them to do with measurement of the earth’s surface in one form or another:

For the purposes of this paper, the primary focus is on land surveying.

  • Land (or cadastral) surveying deals with the determination of land boundaries for legal purposes and land ownership
  • Geodetic surveying is concerned with very high precision measurement of the earth’s surface for the determination of latitude and longitude
  • Topographic surveying refers to the mapping of the earth’s surface by aerial, photogrammetric or ground surveys, or a combination of these methods
  • Engineering surveying relates to the location, design and construction of engineering works and installations
  • Hydrographic surveying consists of the preparation of nautical charts and maps of the marine environment and seabed
  • Mining surveying pertains to above-ground open cut mines and below-ground mines and tunnels.

Photo courtesy Office of Surveyor-General, Victoria