Jared D. Wilson
Instructor of Land Surveying
Glenville State College
Glenville, WV
• What is surveying?
• Surveying is the art and science of locating points on, above, or
below the earth’s surface
• In essence, surveying is the collection and analysis of geospatial
• What is GIS?
• Geographical Information System
• A collection of geospatial data and the ability to analyze the data
in a detailed manner
As we can see, surveying and GIS are very closely related fields!
Who Utilizes Surveying and GIS?
• Governments
Law Enforcement Agencies
• Private Industry
• Construction
• Mapping
• Private Law Enforcement
• General Public
Again, the two disciplines share common usages.
Features of Surveying & GIS
Data collection, entry, editing, validation
Image analysis
Map creation
Data analysis and linkage
Data storage
The Surveying and GIS Relationship
• Characteristics of the Surveyor and GIS Professional
• Spatial data analysis and collection
• Surveyors play a critical role in the supplying of geospatial data
• GIS has roots in land surveying with regards to automated
• GIS, aka, LIS deals with land records and associated information
• GIS knowledge is included on the Surveying exams
Surveying Technology
• Surveying technology has rapidly evolved within recent years
Computers (Portable)
Computer Aided Mapping
Data Transfer (Cable and Wireless)
• This increase in technology has drastically decreased data
collection time and increased productivity
Fully automated mapping
Client Data Transfer
On Demand Production and Analysis
Global Clients
A Slight Disconnect Within the Professions
• What is the underlying factor that puts surveyors and GIS
professionals at odds?
• Accuracy!
• Survey grade accuracy has always been the biggest obstacle within
GIS and surveying
• The “Boundary”
• Surveyors are always aware when boundaries overlap or gap;
however, GIS professionals are not usually land surveyors, they are
data analysts
• GIS, in its infancy, trended more towards a shotgun approach with
regards to boundaries, but with its growth, more and more GIS
boundaries can better withstand court challenges
Part of the Solution
• Robillard stated it best, “No matter the amount of precision
involved in the data collection process, errors in surveying still
• The accuracy of survey measurements is becoming increasingly
better; thus, data pertaining to boundaries needs to be relayed to
GIS professionals
• Good data in, equals, good data out
• Historically, GIS boundaries were digitized from tax maps, which, are
a “sketch” of what the property boundary should represent
• Surveyors need to understand that they are responsible for
preparing accurate boundaries and GIS professionals need to
realize that if that data is needed, get it.
• It is not public information!
Another Part of the Solution
• Training
• Many of the surveyors practicing today do not have formal or
informal training on the utilization of GIS technologies and may
not fully be aware of the benefits that a GIS system can provide
• GIS professionals need to utilize surveyors knowledge concerning
data acquisition and potential analysis
• Cross-Training
• Should GIS professionals and surveyors work in close conjunction
with one another, each should undertake cross-training on
particular skills and work development of the other
• This would provide an element of appreciation on what both can
Data Integration – The Final Frontier
• Fully Integrated Data System
• Imagine a fully functional automated database that can deliver all
project documents, deeds, field notes, and coordinate system
• Then take that functionality and translate the data into project
location maps
• Finally, further translate the project data into cost versus time
GIS and Surveying are very compatible and with proper
education, a full integration of surveying and GIS can be

similar documents