Land surveyors have been around for millennia and numerous histories have been written about them. Here are a few bits of that history.
- Land surveying is the second oldest profession in the Old Testament.
- Going back to at least 3,000 BCE, land records were required to be kept and ‘rope stretchers’ and mathematicians were the ones to do it. Evidence of the early surveys includes a stone survey map depicting fields and containing a written description of the land.
- Initially all measurement was done using straight lines and right angle. These techniques were especially prevalent in the Nile Valley of Egypt, because much of the land was flooded every year, creating a need to re-locate boundary lines. The Greeks used land surveyors extensively in their roads and aqueduct projects.
- For centuries, some communities practiced ‘beating the bounds’ where the community would gather to walk and mark the boundaries of property, so that all could witness and agree upon their location, preventing disputes. Since memory can be a tricky thing, the community would literally beat their children, usually with enough force to cause pain but not to injure. The pain would help to set the location into that child’s memory, long after they might otherwise forget.
- To land surveyors, Mount Rushmore is known as the “three surveyors and the other guy”, because George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson were all land surveyors, but Teddy Roosevelt was not.