FIG Definition of Surveyors - Proposal of the FIG Council, August 2003

FIG Definition of Surveyors as adopted in 1990 and the Proposal of the FIG Council in French.

A surveyor is a professional person with the academic qualifications and technical expertise

  • to practise the science of determination, representation and measurement of the location of the geometry of pieces of land, three-dimensional objects, point-fields and trajectories;
  • to assemble and assess land and geographically related information and
  • to use that information for the purpose of planning and implementing the efficient administration of the land, the sea and structures as well as objects thereon; and to instigate the advancement and development of such practices.

Practice of the surveyor’s profession may involve one or more of the following activities which may occur either on, above or below the surface of the land or the sea and may be carried out in association with other professionals.

  1. The determination of the size and shape of the earth and the measurement of all data needed to define the size, position, shape and contour of any part of the earth and their significant change.
  2. The positioning of objects in space and time as well as the positioning and monitoring of physical features, structures and engineering works on, above or below the surface of the earth.
  3. The development, testing and calibration of sensors, instruments and systems for the above mentioned purposes and other surveying purposes.
  4. The production and actualization of plans, maps as well as other scientific documents.
  5. The acquisition and use of spatial information from close range, aerial and satellite imagery and the automation of this process.
  6. The determination of the position of the boundaries of public or private land, including national and international boundaries, and the registration of those lands with the appropriate authorities.
  7. The design, establishment and administration of geographic information systems (GIS) and the collection, storage, analysis, management and dissemination of data within those systems.
  8. The process to analyse, interpret, integrate and homogenize spatial objects and phenomena in GIS, as well as to visualize and communicate them in maps and mobile digital devices.
  9. The study of the natural and social environment, the measurement of land and marine resources and the use of the data in the planning of development in urban, rural and regional areas.
  10. The planning, development and redevelopment of property as well as the assessment of value and the management of property, whether urban or rural and whether land or buildings.
  11. The planning, measurement and management of construction works, including the estimation of costs.
  12. The development of geospatial services tailored to diversified user communities.

In the application of the foregoing activities surveyors take into account the relevant legal, economic, environmental and social aspects affecting each project.