Land Surveying

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Land Surveying


the process of determining and formally marking the boundaries of landholdings on the terrain.

Land surveying existed in Rus’ even during the period of the ancient Russian state. The development of feudal landholding led to the appearance in the 16th and 17th centuries of the “copy-clerk” land surveying; under this system the total area of the holding being surveyed was not determined, only the most important elements being measured (arable land, hay meadows, and woods). The results were entered in copy books. At the same time land survey books also appeared that described the boundaries of landholdings. In the 18th century the geometric method came into use in Russia; it accurately determined both the total area of the holdings and the area of all agricultural lands.

In the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th a general land survey was carried out. Between the 1830’s and the 1850’s there was a survey of joint holdings (the special mutual survey), a survey in which the pomeshchiki (landowners) took part. During the 19th century “expense” (koshtnye) surveys were made periodically at the wish of the pomeshchiki and at their expense. The actual surveys were made by district surveyors. The Land Surveying Institute opened in Moscow in 1835 to train highly qualified surveyors for Russia. A great deal of land surveying was done during the Peasant Reform of 1861 and during the Stolypin agrarian reform. Land surveying in Russia was closely tied to the establishment of a land cadastre, which showed the land’s productivity, quality, and designation.

Nationalization of land in the USSR brought about fundamental changes in the system of land use. The prerevolutionary land surveying system was replaced by land allocation, which is based on the latest advances in geodesy and cartography.


Veselovskii, S. B. Soshnoepis’mo: Issledovanie po istorii kadastra ipososhnogo oblozheniia Moskovskogo gosudarstva, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1915-16.
German, I. E. Istoriia russkogo mezhevaniia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1914.
Rudin, S. D. Mezhevoe zakonodatel’stvo i deiateVnost’ mezhevoi chasti v Rossii za 150 let. Petrograd, 1915.
Kolotinskaia, E. N. Pravovye osnovy zemel’nogo kadastra v Rossii. Moscow, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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