Laser Scanning in Maryland: Land Surveying or Not? The Board Speaks

Recently, the Maryland Board for Professional Land Surveyors addressed the question of whether the use of 3D laser scanning technology is subject to regulations governing land surveying.

The practice of land surveying is governed by Title 15, Business Occupations and Professions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland. That statute states in part in Section 15-101(j) (1) (v):

    (j)    (1)   “Practice land surveying” means any service, work, documentation, or practice, the performance or preparation of which requires the application of special knowledge of the principles of mathematics, the related physical and applied sciences, and the requirements of the relevant law, as applied to:

    (v)   utilizing measurement devices or systems, such as aerial photogrammetry, global positioning systems, land information systems, geographic information systems, or similar technology for evaluation or location of boundaries of real property, easements, or rights–of–way;"

3D laser scanning, just like photogrammetry or GPS, is a tool, and it is not the tool or the equipment itself that defines whether or not the licensure is required, but the end result or purpose for which such equipment is used. The Board emphasizes that it does not license the technology; instead, it is the purpose for which the technology is used that defines the licensing requirements. Therefore, the use of laser scanning for land surveying purposes must be conducted in accordance with the regulations.