What is Land Surveying?

Land Surveying is a highly technical field.  There can be very detailed legal research involved, extensive historical research, detailed on the ground research including occupation lines and owner testimony along with complicated mathematical calculations.  There are also many State and Local laws that must be adhered to along with State Court decisions that may influence the answer to a question.  These facts often create confusion about what the land surveyor is doing and/or how he/she arrived at the solution or plan that they did.  This section attempts to answer some of the questions that frequently come up.  This is a work in progress and will be added to as time goes by.  Please click on the tabs on the left for additional information.  If you have questions that are not answered here or else where on this web site please contact us with your question.

The national surveying organization, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, defines surveying as follows:

“Land surveying is the art and science of: 1) reestablishing cadastral surveys and land boundaries based on documents of record and historical evidence; 2) planning, designing and establishing property boundaries; and 3) certifying surveys as required by statute or local ordinance such as subdivision plats, registered land surveys, judicial surveys, and space delineation.  Land surveying also includes services such as mapping and related data accumulation; construction layout surveys; precision measurements of length, angle elevation, area and volume; horizontal and vertical control systems; and the analysis and utilization of survey data.”

Not only does land surveying include the highly visible land surveying work performed by personnel in the field it also includes intensive research, calculations, negotiations and mapping by office personnel. It generally takes a minimum of two (2) hours of office work for each hour of fieldwork.  Land surveying is a science when it comes to measurements and an art when determining the position of real property boundaries.

Land Surveying in the State of California requires a Professional Land Surveying License.  This license is issued by the State of California after meeting rigorous experience requirements and passing a difficult exam administered by the State.  After passing the exam each Land Surveyor is issued a license number unique to the individual.  Once licensed the Land Surveyor is governed by the rules of the California State Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and the rules and laws of the Business and Professions Code of the State of California.