Surveying has been present from as early as the beginning of civilization and even is present in the Bible in books Exodus and Proverbs. The oldest historical records in existence today which bear directly on the subject of surveying state that the art had its beginning in Egypt. It is said that during this time the land of Egypt was divided into plots for the purpose of taxation. Annual floods of the river Nile swept away portions of these plots and surveyors were appointed to replace the bounds. These early surveyors were called harpedonapata (Rope Stretchers), since their measurement were made with ropes having markers at unit distances.
Due to this work surveying started to develop as it fell in the hands of great thinkers, scientists and engineers. Greek thinkers introduced the science of geometry into surveying, the practical minded Romans expanded on the engineering section of the art, creating instruments which aided in the practical part of surveying which lead to a significant development in the art of surveying. Due to the importance of engineering to the Romans in building their structures a surveyor's guild was formed. By this time surveying manuscripts were written and improved upon which lead to the first geometry manuscript which was largely devoted to surveying. Greek and Roman science of surveying was kept alive by the Arabs. Little progress was made in the art of surveying, and only the writings pertaining to it were called practical geometry.
During early civilization the earth was assumed to be flat, but evidence such as the earths circular shadow on the moon and watching ships gradually disappear as they sailed to the horizon suggested that this was not so, it was then slowly deduced that the planet curved in all directions.