The Influence of Technology on the Land Surveying Profession
Land surveying has grown from a technical occupation into a profession. This study traces the rise of professions and the criteria that defines the requirements for an occupation to be granted such status. It then recognises the origins and importance of accurate measurement in antiquity before following the developments in land surveying that changed the occupation in late medieval England from that of an estate manager or overseer to one of an expert in land measurement. The research identifies this period as a paradigm shift, the first, making the following period the 2nd paradigm in land surveying. There follows a comparison between the present institutional arrangements for surveying and the criteria established for the status of a profession. It concludes that land surveying in its current form meets the requirements of a profession. Following a discussion on the nature of modern surveying, consideration is given to the changes that have taken place in the last 60 years. The challenges faced as a result of technological change, through first the electronic age and then the digital age, are identified. The question of whether these challenges and their resultant developments have fundamentally changed the profession, heralding a 3rd paradigm, is then addressed. The views of land surveying academics, practitioners, senior government employees and staff of professional institutions in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia are addressed through exploring their views, by in-person interviews, of what sits at the core of land surveying today. Specifically they are asked to address the changes that have taken place by considering what has been abandoned as obsolete in degree programmes and in practice, and what has taken its place. It is concluded that land surveying remains a profession with unique expertise in the management of all aspects of measurement data, its gathering, its analysis, its presentation and its storage. No new paradigm is identified. Using methodology based in grounded theory, the research identified related issues for the profession. The first was the belief that land surveying, as a profession, had a poor public image and was identified with only the field aspects of the profession. It was apparent that the poor public image was linked to a poor self-image by surveyors themselves. Attempts to change that image by the adoption of a new term, geomatics, in the late 20th century has not delivered the anticipated improvements, and dissatisfaction with the term was identified in all of the jurisdictions visited. In the meantime it was apparent that the term “geospatial’ was gaining popular use and was replacing, by stealth, references to geomatics.
Advisor: Hulbe, Christina Louise; Grant, Donald Bruce; Strack, Michael Sainsbury
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Surveying
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: surveying; geomatics; profession
Research Type: Thesis