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The majority of farmers in the world still practise some form of subsistence farming. Their draught-animal and handwork-based farming practices, however, cannot be compared with the completely mechanised and highly automated precision-farming practices that are becoming the norm for many of their North American colleagues. Hence, ‘farming’ is a term too general to be explanatory. The same may be said of the term ‘surveying’. A modern surveyor cannot anymore do without a digital computer, which he needs to swiftly perform complex mathematical operations on measurement data he acquires with sophisticated and highly automated equipment. The same technology enables an earth-moving machine automatically to dig a canal or to terrace a slope, according to the spatial form that has been geometrically designed in a computer and transferred to the machine’s navigation and operating system. But like all farming, surveying too is based on some generic concepts independent of the technology used to put these into practice.

Version 2, 2005