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Celebrating Surveyors: The Masters of Measurement.


Today, 21st March is Global Surveyors’ Day which celebrates the masters of measurement who have shaped history.

Virtually nothing is constructed without a surveyor. Surveyors facilitate the development of our country and are quiet achievers who constantly have to grow and develop their skill to stay on top of latest technologies and their applications. Think 3D laser scanners, drones, Global Navigation Satellite Systems - where would we be without Surveyors? 

Here are some interesting facts about surveyors and measurements:

  • Famous surveyors in history include: Captain James Cook, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, John Oxley, Thomas Mitchell and Charles Sturt.
  • Over 3,000 years ago surveyors played an important role in the construction of the pyramids and are depicted in the form of pictures on the walls of ancient Egyptians tombs. The Egyptian word for surveyor roughly translates to “rope stretcher”.
  • Surveying was one of the cornerstones of the European exploration of Australia such that the Surveyor-General is one of the two oldest established public offices in the country.
  • In 1923 the Sydney Harbor Bridge was setout by surveyors using triangulation, slide rule, trigonometric and logarithm tables.  Each angle was observed 24 times and the mean adopted.
  • In 1960’s the 10,000 prefabricated shells and tiles of the Sydney Opera House had to be setout to 3mm accuracy by surveyors.  At that time Sydney only had one computer and it filled a standard room.
  • A FINA approved Olympic swimming pool is actually 50.05m long to allow for the electronics timing touch panels at each end.
  • The marathon distance of 42.195km used to be certified by a calibrated bicycle.  IAAF now certify the course using terrestrial scanners to determine the official “shortest possible route”.

Virtually nothing is constructed without a surveyor: roads, buildings, theme parks, sewers, shopping centers, toilet roll factories!

The physical world we live in today wouldn’t be possible without surveyors.

So if you are still doubting the importance of the surveyor, refer to your Bible (English Standard Version) Deuteronomy Chapter 27 Verse 17. 

“Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.”