How Old is the Land Surveying Profession?

Land Surveying might not be the “oldest profession”, (we all know what that is), but it’s close.  The first legal description of land was recorded in the Bible when God gave the Israelites the “Promised Land”.


(Num 34:1-12 NIV)  The LORD said to Moses, {2} “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance will have these boundaries: {3} “’Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. On the east, your southern boundary will start from the end of the Salt Sea, {4} cross south of Scorpion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, {5} where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Sea. {6} “’Your western boundary will be the coast of the Great Sea. This will be your boundary on the west. {7} “’For your northern boundary, run a line from the Great Sea to Mount Hor {8} and from Mount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, {9} continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north. {10} “’For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. {11} The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Kinnereth. {12} Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Salt Sea. “’This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.’”


In modern times, legal descriptions are part of the Title Deeds that we have written and recorded when we convey property to each other. Today’s modern descriptions are much more accurate with language containing “metes and bounds” (directions and distances) which describe the direction of each line beginning at a known point and running around the property and hopefully, (if the calculations are correct) making a closed figure.  These descriptions usually also contain references to monumentation (physical points like iron pipes, pins, stones or concrete monuments) which a surveyor can find when he actually performs the survey. It is these points that Land Surveyors measure to accurately retrace the intention of the legal description and accurately survey the land.  These property corners are considered evidence of boundaries very similar to evidence in a courtroom and should never be tampered with or removed.  Many States have very strict laws and fines in place for the purpose of protecting each property owners boundary corners; however, as we have already covered, this isn’t a new idea.   (Deu 27:17 NIV)  “Cursed is the man who moves his neighbor’s boundary stone.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”