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The expertise of a licensed professional land surveyor may benefit your project even if not required by state law or local jurisdiction.

Professional land surveyors licensed in California are required to have qualifying experience and pass an examination by California Department of Consumer Affairs Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists(Board).

Land surveyors retrace property lines, perform boundary line adjustments, prepare topographic maps, prepare subdivision maps, and perform construction surveys, among other duties.

It is unlawful for anyone to do land surveying or offer to do land surveying unless he or she is currently licensed as a land surveyor. Civil Engineers licensed before January 1, 1982 (or have a license number below C33966) may also perform land surveying services if they are competent.

Only licensed land surveyors can use the title “land surveyor.” Other land surveyor titles regulated by the Board include “professional land surveyor,” “licensed land surveyor,” “land surveyor,” “land survey engineer,” “photogrammetric surveyor,” “survey engineer,” “geodetic engineer,” or “geometronic engineer.”


Licensed professional land surveyors can provide the following services:

  • Prepare legal descriptions and maps for subdividing property
  • Perform boundary line adjustments
  • Replace lost or obliterated property corners
  • Set boundary markers or property corners, also known as monuments
  • Retrace boundaries for fences and other purposes
  • Locate, relocate, establish, reestablish, or retrace any property line or boundary of any parcel of land, right-of-way, easement, or alignment of those lines or boundaries
  • Prepare legal descriptions and information shown with the description of any deed or other title document
  • Prepare maps or plats for plot plans
  • Stake the location of fixed engineering works for construction purposes*
  • Determine boundary discrepancies
  • Locate, relocate, establish, reestablish, or retrace the alignment or elevation for any of the fixed works embraced within the practice of civil engineering*
  • Determine contours of the earth’s surface for topographic maps*
  • Photogrammetric surveying or aerial topographic mapping A survey that does not determine property lines, but is made only for geological or landscaping purposes, does not require a licensed land surveyor.

* These tasks may also be done by civil engineers licensed after January 1, 1982 (and consequently, have license numbers greater than 33965) as long as boundaries are not determined.

  • All land surveying maps, plats, reports, descriptions, or other documents issued must meet the following requirements:
    Be prepared by a licensed land surveyor or licensed civil engineer legally authorized to practice land surveying or by a subordinate under his or her direction;
  • Contain the surveyor’s or civil engineer’s signature;
  • Contain the surveyor’s or civil engineer’s seal or stamp;
  • Contain the expiration date of the license; and
  • If multiple pages or sheets have been prepared, the signature, seal or stamp, and expiration date of the license need only appear on the originals of the map or plat and on the title sheet of the report, description, or other document.

Adapted from California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists