Surveying and Mapping: History, Current Status, and Future Projections

by Paul R. Wolf, (M.ASCE),

Part of: Perspectives in Civil Engineering: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Society of Civil Engineers


Since the founding of ASCE in 1852, remarkable changes have occurred in all areas of civil engineering practice, including surveying and mapping. Instruments employed in surveying and mapping in the United States have evolved from compass and chain, through a period of transits and tapes, into another era of optical-reading theodolites, electronic distance measuring equipment, aerial photogrammetry, and finally into the current stage of high-speed computers, the global positioning system, robotic total station instruments, digital photogrammetry, and satellite remote sensing systems. This paper includes three parts: (1) a discussion of the history of surveying and mapping; (2) a description of the current state of the art of surveying and mapping; and (3) some projections on how surveying and mapping may evolve in the future.

Subject Headings: Surveys (non-geomatic) | Mapping | Surveying instruments | Project management | Photogrammetry | Global navigation satellite systems | Engineering profession


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