The position of Surveyor General has a rich lineage that dates back to 1529 in Scotland, however, the position of advisor to the government on regulation and control of resources goes back to the time of Archimedes if not much further.
In Canada the modern Surveyor General's office was established after confederation in 1871 but the office existed in Quebec in 1764 and in 1749 in Nova Scotia.
The Surveyor General once managed many of the King's Works (such as roads, gardens and woods); however, in Canada the position has long focused on the survey, settlement and sustainable use of Crown land. Royal Instructions were first issued in 1763 that required an accurate survey to be made of Quebec by the Surveyor General so as to allow for the security of property.
Today, the job of the Surveyor General is one of boundary management primarily for First Nations but also for Canada Lands, National Parks and the International Boundary.
However, there are other aspects of the Surveyor General's mandate that bear examining.