Skip to Main Content

Geodetic Surveyors


People moved over the mountains and plains into the uncharted regions of the West as the United States expanded from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They charted their routes and surveyed and filed claims to mark property lines and borderlines.

Field studies in the United States were conducted in the early 1800s for establishing boundary lines for states and cities. The agency that formed to conduct these geodetic surveys was called the Survey of the Coast, renamed as the Coast Survey in 1836. The name has changed many times in the years since, and the agency is now known as the National Geodetic Survey, which is an office of the National Ocean Service.

There has been increased need for accurate geographical measurements and precise records of those measurements. Surveying measurements are used to determine the location of trails, highways, and roads; the sites of a log cabins, frame houses, or skyscrapers; the right-of-way for water pipes, drainage ditches, and telephone lines; and for charting unexplored regions, bodies of water, land, and underground mines.

As a result, the demand for professional geodetic surveyors has grown and the job has become more complex. Surveyors now use computerized systems to map, store, and retrieve geographical data more accurately and efficiently. This new technology has improved the process of surveying and also extended its reach. Technologies such as global navigation satellite systems enable surveyors to make detailed maps of ocean floors and the moon's surface.

Related Professions