Surveyor's Historical Society

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On October 14, 1977, a group of surveyors met during the annual ACSM / ASP (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping) California Conference:   Their interest - the preservation of the history of the science of surveying.  Their purpose - to form a society that would realize that purpose.   Thus, the Surveyors Historical Society (SHS) was formed.  

The Surveyors Historical Society is dedicated to the public purposes of preserving historical surveying instruments, artifacts, records and memorabilia.  SHS is also dedicated to educating the general public about the history of surveying.  The Society has developed programs to honor historical surveying points, and the surveyors who have made significant contributions to the profession through the implementation of a public marker program.  SHS cooperates at all opportunities with persons and organizations that share the public benefit purpose of education concerning the history of all branches of the science of surveying.

Acceptance of SHS objectives has grown rapidly and membership has spread around the world.  Exhibits have been set up on numerous occasions at state, regional and national meetings of surveyors and photogrammetrists

As a member of the Society you have access to the society-owned book collection together with access to other private collections, totaling several thousand entries, which provides the ability to identify and describe instruments for others.  Recognizing the Society's capabilities in this area, Teledyne Gurley has designated Surveyors Historical Society as its official referral source for responding to inquiries about old Gurley instruments.   The Society has access to most of Gurley's published manuals for each decade from the 1850's to 1930's.  In addition, with accessibility to other firms' catalogs, we are able to trace products by Keuffel & Esser to 1875; A. Lietz to 1888; Heller & Brightly to 1884; etc.  Another source of information about the evolution of surveying technology is hundreds of copies of surveying patents, many of which include illustrations depicting their working mechanisms.

Future efforts will be directed toward displays of surveying history of the world, to develop local surveying history, to help establish regional museums, and to search out old surveying records and instruments for a computerized database catalog.

Additional membership benefits include:

  • Receipt of Backsights, the official publication of the Society

  • Contact with others who are interested in the history of surveying

  • Participation in the affairs of the Society:  serving on the Board, attending meetings, serving on committees and exhibiting artifacts at conferences, museums and public buildings

  • Annual collectible postcard 

  • Satisfaction in the knowledge that you are supporting the research, acquisition and display of surveying memorabilia and instruments which have played a vital role in the history of surveying and mapping


Surveyors Historical Society is a non-profit, tax-exempt, public benefit corporation administered by a seven member Board of Directors.  All directors serve without compensation and are elected to a three-year term by the general membership.


For further membership information, contact:


Surveyors Historical Society

628 Ridge Avenue

Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025



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