Land surveyors work to define and measure the boundaries of a piece of property, which is then used in legal documents like deeds, or architectural and engineering calculations in order to develop the land. Despite the proliferation of technology, land surveying in Idaho requires a working knowledge of math. Depending on the specific survey type, a land surveyor might need to use math, computer science, mechanical drawing and physics skills.
What surveyors do
Land surveyors perform a number of duties, which boil down to finding and measuring property lines. While this sounds relatively simple, especially in developed areas, obstacles like water, hills, mountains and thick vegetation can make the job challenging. Any time a person or company wants to buy, sell or develop a piece of land, having a survey done can give them a better idea of what they’re dealing with.
Land surveyors are often used to resolve property disputes between landowners, determine where to place utility lines, verify the accuracy of a deed description, divide subdivisions into parcels and more. Their surveys can include property lines as well as elevation, floodplains and other features.
Surveys can be performed on the ground, via drone or aircraft and through specialized software.
How surveyors use math to accomplish their goals
Here’s an overview of how surveyors might use math, depending on the project:
- Measuring the property: Legal documents like deed descriptions require accurate, precise measurements. Land surveyors have to be competent in measuring angles, distances and directions, as well as collecting data to run computations (either through a computer program or by hand). Basic math courses like algebra, trigonometry and geometry are useful here.
- Data research: Surveyors often need to reconcile conflicting documents, like legal title and deed descriptions, maps, drawings and more. Their job is to compile all the existing data on the property and analyze it, which requires complex mathematical skills and an eye for detail.
- Drafting: Mechanical drawing or drafting is another facet of a surveyor’s job—they need to be able to plot lines and coordinates to produce an accurate, detailed map drawn to scale. This is especially important when they’re helping developers create plans for the land. Calculus, differential equations, geometry, statistics, probability and trigonometry are all useful skills in this department.
- Computer-based data analysis: Finally, math skills come in handy when working with modern technology. Today’s software allows land surveyors to input data and have the computer perform calculations, but they still need to know enough math to troubleshoot computer bugs or other problems that crop up.
In other words, having solid math skills isn’t a nice bonus—it’s an absolute necessity for any land surveyor. It’s a discipline that relies on precision, and even small errors can throw off legal documents or architectural plans. If you’re deciding between surveyors, compare their training. A math-heavy educational background can indicate a detail-oriented, precise surveyor who will be more likely to provide the services you need for your project.
For land surveying in Idaho, reach out to the team at Mason & Associates today.