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Debating the Boundary between Geospatial Technology and Licensed Land Surveying

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The boundary between geospatial technology and licensed land surveying has become increasingly blurred. This article presents the differences in the ways states define the practice of land surveying, and the extent to which they have included tasks related to geospatial technology. While most land surveyors view geospatial technology as complementary to their profession, a vocal minority has successfully lobbied state legislatures to expand their role to include any mapping activity, regardless of purpose. An analysis of statutes governing the profession of land surveying reveals that several states specifically exclude mapping tasks beyond the establishment of legal property boundaries.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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  • Surveying and Land Information Science (SaLIS) is the official publication of the American Association of Geodetic Surveying (AAGS) and the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS).

    SaLIS is a scientific journal devoted to reporting research and new work conducted to advance geodetic surveying, land surveying, large-scale mapping, and geographic information systems designed to advance the development and management of the cadastral parcel data layer and other land information applications. SaLIS publishes research articles, technical papers, technical notes, papers on the current state of surveying education, surveying history, book reviews, and current literature reviews. Every four years, the journal publishes the U.S. Report to the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). The Proceedings of the Surveying Teachers Conference are published bi-annually.

    For information about AAGS visit
    For information about GLIS visit

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