Follow in the footsteps of notable past US surveyors such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Daniel Boone!  The majority of famous early explorers had a surveying/mapping background and their work allowed the land to be settled.  Land surveying has been said to be the second oldest profession in the world with the first land surveys dating back to nearly 3,000 years ago when Egyptian surveyors subdivided the fertile land around the Nile River and then would subsequently be required to re-survey it after the annual flooding.

Without realizing it, everyday each of us enjoy the benefits of the hard work a surveyor did…be it last week or two centuries ago.  Most people (other than the approximate 45,000 licensed surveyors and 57,000 non-licensed surveyors in the US) do not take the time to ponder much about the road they are driving on (except why it’s so bumpy or why there is so much traffic on it) – why that road runs north/south/east/west, or how it originally came about.  Here in Michigan, as well as if you’re in a state not being one of the original thirteen colonies or Texas, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself driving on a road that is a “mile” road.  During your drive you’re traveling on the exact same path as past surveyors traveled.  After the American Revolutionary War, the US Government found itself in authority of areas of land west of the original thirteen colonies.  Lead by Thomas Jefferson, the US government tasked surveyors to “subdivide” the land, breaking it into 1 mile tracts to distribute it as a reward for Revolutionary War soldiers, to be sold to raise money for the government and encourage settlement of the country.

A few benefits of being a surveyor:

  • A great assortment of indoor and outdoor work, meaning you don’t have to be chained to a desk if you don’t want to be.
  • There is a large range of jobs that involve the theory of surveying – you can have opportunities to work in many different industries from construction to municipal to forensic to archaeology.
  • Surveyors have opportunities throughout the world, be it small town USA or Sydney, Australia.
  • Surveyors have access to the latest technology and equipment.
  • Surveyors can work for themselves, in private firms or in government departments.
  • Well educated and experienced surveyors are always in demand.

Brad E.G. Oliver, PS
Director, Land Surveying Services