Dakota Datebook

NDSPL (Land Surveyors)


Nowadays, if you want to build a new structure, you must first hire land surveyors to inspect the land and find the best way to construct your building. While today we think of land surveying as a profession involving complicated math and devices, the concept has been around for thousands of years to plan architecture and establish boundaries. For Stonehenge, the builders used simple rope and peg geometry to determine how to build the iconic structure. In medieval Europe, towns and villages would simply have groups of people walk the determined borders many times and memorize them. While neither of these techniques were difficult, they are still considered land surveying and paved the way for the profession we know today.

An increase of global trade and railroads produced a higher need for land surveying.  Organizations developed to help ensure that all surveyors are certified and up to date on the best techniques. Thus the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, or A-C-S-M, was created to help advance land surveying and provide the most current information and equipment for its members.

North Dakota has its own organization, the North Dakota Society of Professional Land Surveyors, or N-D-S-P-L. They held their first organizational meeting in 1976 on February 16th in Bismarck. They established a constitution and by-laws, and on this date they received their certification from the A-C-S-M.

The North Dakota surveyor’s group  to unite all professional surveyors in the state, establish minimum requirements for the job, and increase surveying standards and education. One way is by giving out scholarships. Another way is by holding a math contest called the TrigStar, which helps develop student interest in the math necessary for surveying jobs. It’s a long way from using a rope and a peg!


Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas









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