The Importance of a Professional Land Surveyor 

Land surveying is crucial to responsible land development and a professional land surveyor plays an integral role, from mapping project areas, identifying potential risks, and verifying plans. After all, it is essential for every project to start with good information, as that is the basis for everything that goes forward with that development or construction. 

While the profession of land surveying is becoming much more technology-driven, the role of a professional land surveyor remains irreplaceable. Says McSteen CEO, Kevin Woeste, “No matter how important we think technology is to our company, it will never replace our staff. We want to find tools to make the job easier for our crews, but not replace them. There will always be a need for surveyors in the field, locating monuments and collecting data.”

Land Surveying + Development 

A professional land surveyor is the first on-site for any development project, helping to determine the starting point for the project. 

Base Mapping 

Base mapping and site plans are instrumental to the design of any commercial or residential construction project for structure, concrete, and improvement placement. Particularly when it comes to design work, it is typically necessary to complete boundary surveys, topographic surveys, and utility locating, the information which is then put together for the base mapping/site plan for the project.  

Boundary Surveys

Requiring a significant amount of independent research and calculations—as well as literal stakes in the ground—a boundary survey is the highest and most accurate survey to establish boundary lines for residential, commercial, or industrial properties.

When performing a boundary survey, a professional surveyor pieces together research and calculations in conjunction with in-field observations and data collection, looking not just at one set of boundary lines but also at all the adjoining property lines, to ensure boundary lines make sense.

Topographic Surveys

Engaging a professional surveyor to conduct a topographic survey prior to the commencement of a construction project ensures that the land’s features will be suitable for its intended use. In addition, a topographic survey can provide valuable insight into how a site’s previous or current use affected the land, enabling better planning for future use.

Utility Locating 

While base mapping typically shows utility locations based on public and owner records, OUPS records and marking, and above-grade valves, manholes, etc., below-ground utility locating is necessary to most accurately map what is underground. This allows the property owner, developer, architect, and engineer to know exactly what they are dealing with upfront rather than discovering an issue once the project has already started. 

The Use of Technology in Land Surveying 

While the basics of surveying have stayed the same, the tools of surveying today are much more technical than they once were. Drones and lasers have replaced much of the telescope-on-a-tripod work. Remote sensing and satellite imagery continue to improve and become cheaper, allowing more commonplace use, and there is increasing use of three-dimensional (3D) scanning.

Technology is evolving on an almost daily basis, making things quicker, more efficient, more detailed, and more accurate. At McSteen Land Surveyors, we see innovation and the use of cutting-edge technology as a core fundamental that is driving the growth of our company. Nevertheless, it is our professional land surveyors who are trained to use an intricate combination of law, math, engineering, and physics and are essential to conducting land surveys.

Land Surveying as a Career

At McSteen, we have licensed surveyors in both our Boundary and Mortgage Location departments. They are the final voice and authority on our projects, utilizing their knowledge and experience to provide assurance to our clients that the product they receive has been performed with the utmost regard for quality. 

They review the data collected by the field crews, analyze the picture put together by our drafters, perform boundary calculations (for boundary surveys), and lastly review, sign and stamp our final survey.

What is Required to Become a Professional Land Surveyor in Ohio

Many land surveyors choose to earn a degree in land surveying, mapping sciences, surveying technology, or a similar degree. When pursuing this degree, students spend most of their time outside the classroom learning principles of drawing, mapping, measuring, and collecting and analyzing data.

While an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not required for all roles in the land surveying industry, in Ohio, only those professional land surveyors licensed by the State of Ohio Engineers and Surveyors Board are authorized to sign land surveys.  In order to gain licensure in Ohio, a degree is required. There are, however, other roles such as field or drafting technician, that do not require a degree but rather on-the-job experience and training.

The Future of Land Surveying 

Surveyors will continue to be needed to certify boundary lines, work on resource extraction projects, and review sites for construction. The exciting advancements in technologies are expected to increase worker productivity. Land surveying is one of the world’s oldest professions and has proven to be in high demand historically and is likely to be for the foreseeable future.At McSteen, our team of survey professionals is our greatest asset and we are always looking to build on it.

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