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American Land Surveying, an Essential History: The Profession of Frontiersmen, Philosophers & PresidentsTX PLS Board Accepted Course

Patrick C. Garner, PLS

American Land Surveying examines the grand and sometimes tumultuous history of land surveying from its earliest days to its current status as a highly respected profession. The course surveys a period from the 1630s to today—more than 360 years.

From its earliest days, bold personalities were attracted to the work and famous men toiled in the field. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau all worked as surveyors, often serving crucial roles in their local communities as the creators of boundaries and lease holdings. Theirs were often the original footsteps, which surveyors for generations afterward retrace.

The course reviews ancient and pre-American colony surveys. It assesses Colonial and Public Land System surveys–how and why they developed into the complex systems that they are today. In addition to discussing famous personalities from the 18th and 19th centuries, the course reviews early surveying instruments, early surveying texts, metes and bounds descriptions and forms of monumentation. The expansion of federal and state surveyor regulations is discussed, as well as the movement within the profession in the 20th century to recognize the differences between surveys by civil engineers and surveys by boundary surveyors.

An overview is also provided of land surveying university programs, state licensure and the on-going discussion about the nomenclature of a Registered Land Surveyor (R.L.S.) versus a Professional Land Surveyor (P.L.S.). The role of accreditation by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), national exams, continuing education, national surveying organizations and state boards of surveying is discussed.

This American history is essential to the understanding of the tradition and rich heritage that underlies the profession of land surveying today.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.