About FIG

FIG Definition of the Functions of the Surveyor

As adopted by the General Assembly 23 May 2004

Definition as a .pdf-file.


A surveyor is a professional person with the academic qualifications and technical expertise to conduct one, or more, of the following activities;

  • to determine, measure and represent land, three-dimensional objects, point-fields and trajectories;
  • to assemble and interpret land and geographically related information,
  • to use that information for the planning and efficient administration of the land, the sea and any structures thereon; and,
  • to conduct research into the above practices and to develop them.

Detailed Functions

The surveyor’s professional tasks may involve one or more of the following activities which may occur either on, above or below the surface of the land or the sea and may be carried out in association with other professionals.

  1. The determination of the size and shape of the earth and the measurement of all data needed to define the size, position, shape and contour of any part of the earth and monitoring any change therein.
  2. The positioning of objects in space and time as well as the positioning and monitoring of physical features, structures and engineering works on, above or below the surface of the earth.
  3. The development, testing and calibration of sensors, instruments and systems for the above-mentioned purposes and for other surveying purposes.
  4. The acquisition and use of spatial information from close range, aerial and satellite imagery and the automation of these processes.
  5. The determination of the position of the boundaries of public or private land, including national and international boundaries, and the registration of those lands with the appropriate authorities.
  6. The design, establishment and administration of geographic information systems (GIS) and the collection, storage, analysis, management, display and dissemination of data.
  7. The analysis, interpretation and integration of spatial objects and phenomena in GIS, including the visualisation and communication of such data in maps, models and mobile digital devices.
  8. The study of the natural and social environment, the measurement of land and marine resources and the use of such data in the planning of development in urban, rural and regional areas.
  9. The planning, development and redevelopment of property, whether urban or rural and whether land or buildings.
  10. The assessment of value and the management of property, whether urban or rural and whether land or buildings.
  11. The planning, measurement and management of construction works, including the estimation of costs.

In the application of the foregoing activities surveyors take into account the relevant legal, economic, environmental and social aspects affecting each project.