A cadastral survey is one on a scale sufficiently large to accurately show the extent and measurement of every field or other block of land.
The most common reason for such a survey is as a basis for taxation, but in some countries, particularly the US, it is associated at least as strongly with the need to accurately identify land boundaries; for example, there is an active Cadastral Survey within the Bureau of Land Management in the USA, which is responsible for maintaining records of all public lands. Such surveys often required detailed investigation of the history of land use, legal accounts and other documents, so it often includes a fair amount of detective work in matching physical surveys with records.
The word came into English by way of French and Italian from the Greek katastikhon, a list or register, from kata stikhon, “line by line”.
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