Why are surveyors licensed? Who are the support people and what can a non-licensed person perform?
License laws are created to protect the public. An individual may feel that he is qualified to measure and determine boundary line, but licensing establishes that an individual has at least a minimum level of knowledge and experience.
Support people such as a field technician and drafters may assist a licensed surveyor; but they are not the person responsible for the overall survey. Support personnel may measure, do calculations and research, but do not make final decisions.
What is land surveying?
Private use and ownership of land in Colonial America are at the root of Land Surveying. Prior to that time, only Royalty or very wealthy "landlords" owned land. However, in the New World, in an effort to expand colonization, land was almost given away to newly arriving immigrants. Establishing the divisions and boundaries between these new landowners became important to avoid conflicts and disputes between neighbors. Land Surveying, then, is the profession of creating and retracing on the site and documenting land divisions and boundaries. It is both an art and a science: an art due to the experience and creative nature involved; and a science due to the mathematical and scientific methods employed. All States license the practice of Land Surveying to assure the public that individuals in the profession have met minimum qualifications. Several years of education, tutorship and experience, as well as passing rigorous written examinations are required to become a Land Surveyor. Many unlicensed support personnel can also assist a Licensed Land Surveyor. These include, field crew members, drafters and researchers.
Is there a difference between land surveying and measuring?
Yes. While Land Surveyors use modern and mostly very accurate measuring tools in their profession, there are many tasks in their normal procedures that don't use measuring tools at all. Judgement, evaluation and past experience are just as important or sometimes more important than accurate measurement in solving a boundary issue. In fact, evaluating the measurement data along with other information and evidence is one of the major tasks of a Professional Land Surveyor. Arriving at the correct conclusion based upon all the evaluated items is the ultimate goal of a Land Surveyor.
Describe the difference between boundary surveying and construction staking.
Boundary surveying entails the process of determining where on the ground a particular parcel of land is in relation to other parcels and surrounding features. During the process, survey crews will use various surveying tools and techniques in their work. Stakes and or markers, sometimes called monuments, may be placed to indicate particular locations and or information. Only after proper evaluation and documentation by the Licensed Land Surveyor can these markers be judged "boundary" items. After this, these markers should usually be preserved.
On the other hand, while survey crews use many of the same surveying tools and techniques in construction staking, the markers established in the process are totally different. These stakes or markers are intended to inform the construction workers information about "where" to build the item being constructed so it will comply with the previous design. Once the item is built the markers can usually be removed.
Source: Utah Council of Land Surveyors