Historical Development

The activities of the Surveyor (geometer) underpin the majority of activities relating to land and real estate. The origins of the European surveying profession as we know it today can be traced back to the introduction of a comprehensive tax cadastre at the end of the 18th century. The surveyor played a key role in the transition to the property cadastre and the development of the property registration system. These developments in turn led to comprehensive mapping systems and multipurpose cadastre that in turn support many services in the construction industry.


A Publicly Appointed and Regulated Surveyor is a member of the liberal professions and undertakes professional activities. The profession requires:

  • a high level of academic qualifications
  • ability to work in the private sector
  • personal liability and accountability
  • ability to undertake activities under government authority
  • Publicly Appointed and Regulated Surveyors are entrusted with activities on behalf of the state.

The professional Publicly Appointed and Regulated Surveyor deals with the real estate cadastre, an area subject to government control and legislation. He is required to work within the laws of particular jurisdictions relating to professional standards and competency, and within the profession’s own code of conduct.

With this delegation of functions, States pursue the aim of opening up public functions to competition and reducing costs as well as improving the effectiveness of public registers in the economy. In this context, the appointment of a highly qualified member of the liberal profession is an advantage for citizens in their quality of consumers, as they can select their service provider from a pool of competing commissioned individuals, all of whom are on an equal footing. It has been proven historically that the organizational form of the liberal professions, under State supervision in terms of personnel and specialist knowledge, or in self-administration in conjunction with efficiency-based competition, is a very efficient approach. In the above-mentioned countries, there are roughly 4,500 offices with one or several members of the profession and about 2 to 70 staff, organized under the umbrella of the CLGE. Incidentally, the profession is about three hundred years old, originating from the European continent.

This solution has numerous advantages, such as a direct contact with the client, a more balanced distribution of surveyors throughout the national territory, public procurement procedures for the awarding of important mandates, the obligation to maintain a high level of competences and of training. However, this presupposes a properly functioning organization to manage the controlling and follow-up of the different files between the private and the public sector. It must be emphasized that mixed systems do also exist (surveyors working as civil servants or independent professionals).

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