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  • Julius Omer Bieker (1920 - 2005)
    CONCORDIA — Omer Bieker, 85, Concordia, died Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005. Mr. Bieker was born Aug. 16, 1920, at Big Creek. He was a bookkeeper and surveyor for the Cloud County Highway Department, retiring...
  • George Woods, Jr (deceased)
    He was the son of Colonel George and Jane McDowell. George, Jr. was instructed by his father on land surveying. George, Jr. his father and his brother John performed the original survey of Pittsburgh. ...
  • Hon. John Woods (1758 - 1816)
    John Woods, (1761, Bedford, Pennsylvania – December 16, 1816, Brunswick County, Virginia) was a Pennsylvania politician who served in the Pennsylvania State Senate and in the United States House of R...
  • Philip Van Cortlandt (1749 - 1831)
    DAR Ancestor # A117476 NEW YORK, BRIGADIER GENERAL Find A Grave Memorial Philip Van Cortlandt (August 21, 1749–November 21, 1831) was an American surveyor, land-owner, and politician from Westchest...
  • John James Dix, Jr. (1826 - 1910)
    John James Dix, Jr., surveyor, soldier, and Texas legislator, was born on March 27, 1826, in Washtenaw County, Michigan Territory. He was brought to Texas by his parents in the mid-1830s, and the famil...

Surveyors work with elements of geometry, trigonometry, regression analysis, physics, engineering, metrology, programming languages, and the law. They use equipment, such as total stations, robotic total stations, GPS receivers, retroreflectors, 3D scanners, radios, handheld tablets, digital levels, subsurface locators, drones, GIS, and surveying software.

Surveying has been an element in the development of the human environment since the beginning of recorded history. The planning and execution of most forms of construction require it. It is also used in transport, communications, mapping, and the definition of legal boundaries for land ownership. It is an important tool for research in many other scientific disciplines.

Surveying has occurred since humans built the first large structures. In ancient Egypt, a rope stretcher would use simple geometry to re-establish boundaries after the annual floods of the Nile River. The almost perfect squareness and north-south orientation of the Great Pyramid of Giza, built c. 2700 BC, affirm the Egyptians' command of surveying. The Groma instrument originated in Mesopotamia (early 1st millennium BC). The prehistoric monument at Stonehenge (c. 2500 BC) was set out by prehistoric surveyors using peg and rope geometry.

The mathematician Liu Hui described ways of measuring distant objects in his work Haidao Suanjing or The Sea Island Mathematical Manual, published in 263 AD.

The Romans recognized land surveying as a profession. They established the basic measurements under which the Roman Empire was divided, such as a tax register of conquered lands (300 AD). Roman surveyors were known as Gromatici.

In medieval Europe, beating the bounds maintained the boundaries of a village or parish. This was the practice of gathering a group of residents and walking around the parish or village to establish a communal memory of the boundaries. Young boys were included to ensure the memory lasted as long as possible.

In England, William the Conqueror commissioned the Domesday Book in 1086. It recorded the names of all the land owners, the area of land they owned, the quality of the land, and specific information of the area's content and inhabitants. It did not include maps showing exact locations.

Abel Foullon described a plane table in 1551, but it is thought that the instrument was in use earlier as his description is of a developed instrument.

Gunter's chain was introduced in 1620 by English mathematician Edmund Gunter. It enabled plots of land to be accurately surveyed and plotted for legal and commercial purposes.

Leonard Digges described a Theodolite that measured horizontal angles in his book A geometric practice named Pantometria (1571). Joshua Habermel (de:Erasmus Habermehl) created a theodolite with a compass and tripod in 1576. Johnathon Sission was the first to incorporate a telescope on a theodolite in 1725.[5]

In the 18th century, modern techniques and instruments for surveying began to be used. Jesse Ramsden introduced the first precision theodolite in 1787. It was an instrument for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. He created his great theodolite using an accurate dividing engine of his own design. Ramsden's theodolite represented a great step forward in the instrument's accuracy. William Gascoigne invented an instrument that used a telescope with an installed crosshair as a target device, in 1640. James Watt developed an optical meter for the measuring of distance in 1771; it measured the parallactic angle from which the distance to a point could be deduced.

Dutch mathematician Willebrord Snellius (a.k.a. Snel van Royen) introduced the modern systematic use of triangulation. In 1615 he surveyed the distance from Alkmaar to Breda, approximately 72 miles (116,1 kilometres). He underestimated this distance by 3.5%. The survey was a chain of quadrangles containing 33 triangles in all. Snell showed how planar formulae could be corrected to allow for the curvature of the earth. He also showed how to resection, or calculate, the position of a point inside a triangle using the angles cast between the vertices at the unknown point. These could be measured more accurately than bearings of the vertices, which depended on a compass. His work established the idea of surveying a primary network of control points, and locating subsidiary points inside the primary network later. Between 1733 and 1740, Jacques Cassini and his son César undertook the first triangulation of France. They included a re-surveying of the meridian arc, leading to the publication in 1745 of the first map of France constructed on rigorous principles. By this time, triangulation methods were by then well established for local map-making.

It was only towards the end of the 18th century that detailed triangulation network surveys mapped whole countries. In 1784, a team from General William Roy's Ordnance Survey of Great Britain began the Principal Triangulation of Britain. The first Ramsden theodolite was built for this survey. The survey was finally completed in 1853. The Great Trigonometric Survey of India began in 1801. The Indian survey had an enormous scientific impact. It was responsible for one of the first accurate measurements of a section of an arc of longitude, and for measurements of the geodesic anomaly. It named and mapped Mount Everest and the other Himalayan peaks. Surveying became a professional occupation in high demand at the turn of the 19th century with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The profession developed more accurate instruments to aid its work. Industrial infrastructure projects used surveyors to lay out canals, roads and rail.

In the US, the Land Ordinance of 1785 created the Public Land Survey System. It formed the basis for dividing the western territories into sections to allow the sale of land. The PLSS divided states into township grids which were further divided into sections and fractions of sections.

Napoleon Bonaparte founded continental Europe's first cadastre in 1808. This gathered data on the number of parcels of land, their value, land usage, and names. This system soon spread around Europe.

Robert Torrens introduced the Torrens system in South Australia in 1858. Torrens intended to simplify land transactions and provide reliable titles via a centralized register of land. The Torrens system was adopted in several other nations of the English-speaking world. Surveying became increasingly important with the arrival of railroads in the 1800s. Surveying was necessary so that railroads could plan technologically and financially viable routes.

20th century

At the beginning of the century surveyors had improved the older chains and ropes, but still faced the problem of accurate measurement of long distances. Dr Trevor Lloyd Wadley developed the Tellurometer during the 1950s. It measures long distances using two microwave transmitter/receivers. During the late 1950s Geodimeter introduced electronic distance measurement (EDM) equipment. EDM units use a multi frequency phase shift of light waves to find a distance. These instruments saved the need for days or weeks of chain measurement by measuring between points kilometers apart in one go.

Advances in electronics allowed miniaturization of EDM. In the 1970s the first instruments combining angle and distance measurement appeared, becoming known as total stations. Manufacturers added more equipment by degrees, bringing improvements in accuracy and speed of measurement. Major advances include tilt compensators, data recorders, and on-board calculation programs.

The first satellite positioning system was the US Navy TRANSIT system. The first successful launch took place in 1960. The system's main purpose was to provide position information to Polaris missile submarines. Surveyors found they could use field receivers to determine the location of a point. Sparse satellite cover and large equipment made observations laborious, and inaccurate. The main use was establishing benchmarks in remote locations.

The US Air Force launched the first prototype satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in 1978. GPS used a larger constellation of satellites and improved signal transmission to provide more accuracy. Early GPS observations required several hours of observations by a static receiver to reach survey accuracy requirements. Recent improvements to both satellites and receivers allow Real Time Kinematic (RTK) surveying. RTK surveys get high-accuracy measurements by using a fixed base station and a second roving antenna. The position of the roving antenna can be tracked.

21st century

Remote sensing and satellite imagery continue to improve and become cheaper, allowing more commonplace use. Prominent new technologies include three-dimensional (3D) scanning and use of lidar for topographical surveys. UAV technology along with photogrammetric image processing is also appearing.

Noteworthy Surveyors

Three of the four U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore were land surveyors. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln surveyed colonial or frontier territories prior to serving office.

David T. Abercrombie practiced land surveying before starting an outfitter store of excursion goods. The business would later turn into Abercrombie & Fitch lifestyle clothing store.

Percy Harrison Fawcett is a British surveyor that explored the jungles of South America attempting to find The Lost City of Z. His biography and expeditions were recounted in The Lost City of Z publication and later adapted on film screen.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveying