The surveyor's has a public utility mission which is to draw up the plans and topographic documents relating to property ownership. They are basically topographers. The profession of surveyor is governed by regulations. In the United States, there are state-specific examinations for licensed surveyors; in the UK, the profession is governed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
In France the profession of publicly appointed surveyor is regulated; surveyors are approved by a commission made up of representatives from the civil service and the Ordre des Géomètres-Experts.
Surveyors can be involved in many activities such as civil engineering, archaeology and mapping. They may be called upon to establish boundaries, trace the path of a motorway, map coastlines, soils etc. or carry out topographical surveys.
They can also be involved in many fields related to land property ownership, housing or land surveying. They must be able to give reliable advice on shared boundaries, easements and the division of land, and also on the value of property. In the UK in the 1970s, building surveying became a profession in its own right, involving pre-acquisition surveys, insurance claims, planning applications, compliance of buildings and land with regulations and also the restoration of old buildings.. The surveyor must have geometrical knowledge, legal knowledge and the ability to use the various instruments and techniques of their profession.