GIS for Land Surveyors – A Paradigm Shift


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Darryl Bailey, Surveyor-General, South Africa,


While GIS technology has been around for ages and land surveyors tend to feel that they deserve some claim to a large part of this domain. It seems common that GIS is invariably not “the go to tool” for most land surveying firms. There is all too often good reason for this. CAD is for many reasons still the land surveyors stalwart and GIS remains the poor cousin who just looks pretty or is the dark, shadowy enigma that looks good on a letterhead. This paper primarily focuses on GIS for cadastral survey work and seeks to make a case for “doing more with your GIS.” It would, hopefully, highlight where GIS can be most useful and how it could be used in conjunction with CAD (or possibly even replace CAD).

Primarily it will put forward certain methodologies to accomplishing different tasks. It will explore (some of) the reasons for a reluctance to more fully use GIS, and offer different perspectives that may help surveyors get more out of their GIS. The paper concludes with the reasons that it may be imperative that surveyors start gravitating towards using GIS sooner rather than later, in the light of global trends that are sure to follow on in South Africa in the near future.

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