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Policy Statement 333 - Engineering Surveying Definition


Approved by the Committee on Advancing the Profession on November 6, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on March 13, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018 


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) defines engineering surveying as those activities involved in the planning and execution of surveys for the development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of civil and other engineered projects.

Engineering surveying may be regarded as a specialty within the broader professional practice of engineering and includes all surveying activities required to support the conception, planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of engineered projects. Engineering surveying excludes the surveying of real property, for the establishment of land boundaries, rights of way, easements, and the dependent or independent surveys or resurveys of the public land survey system. ASCE believes that this definition should be adopted by state engineering licensing boards.

Many civil engineers include engineering surveying in their practice of engineering.  ASCE advocates that engineering and surveying licensing boards should not require civil engineers to obtain a license as a land surveyor to practice engineering surveying within the definition and exclusions described above.


The following developments have contributed to confusion regarding the role of civil engineers in the practice of engineering surveying:

  • The development of land surveying as a profession separate and distinct from civil engineering;
  • The development of separate curricula and degrees at certain universities in support of land surveying as a separate profession; and,
  • The development of disputes before licensing boards concerning the right of civil engineers to practice surveying, given separate licensure for the practice of land surveying.  


Engineering surveying as defined herein is one of the necessary skills of a civil engineer.  

ASCE Policy Statement 333
First Approved in 1987