Jacobus Thomas Roelants
Map of the planned road between Leuven and Lier, 1734
National Archives, hand drawn maps and plans
Inv. I, 207

OBJECT 13
Map of the planned road between Lier and Leuven, made by the surveyor Jacobus Thomas Roelants.

Until the nineteenth century, land surveyors were the main producers of maps. They measured lands and grounds upon request; for example,  in the case of a contestation, or when roads, buildings or water channels were built, or for the management and taxation of realty. As maps were always drawn for a specific purpose, there is usually only one example, sometimes a few.
Training to become a land surveyor existed, but in order to actually exert the profession, approval by the authorities was required. Land surveyors applied trigonometry principles to measure land and used a couple of measuring instruments, among which the most important was the cross staff that was often pictured in images of the surveyor.



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