The Surveys and Mapping Division operates under the umbrella of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries to provide, store and maintain geographical data, land related, aerial and hydrographic information for the Government, Private Sector and Public of the Trinidad and Tobago.
The Division was first headed by the Crown Surveyor and then in 1922, the first Surveyor General was appointed. This post was then changed to that of the Director of Surveys and Sub-Intendant of Crown Lands.
In 1959 during the re-organization of the Public Service a decision was taken to separate the Lands function from the Surveys function. This lead to the post of Commissioner of Lands. However, this post was only legally established in 1980 when the State lands Act was revised. Subsequently, the Director of Surveys was given the responsibility of executing both the legal and administrative functions of the Commissioner.
Next, in 1988 Cabinet accepted recommendations from a committee established by the Minister of Planning and Mobilization on the restructuring of the Division. This resulted in the separation of Lands and Surveys to create two separate entities:
- Surveys and Mapping Division and
- Commissioner of State Lands.
- To administer, co-ordinate, maintain and extend geodetic control networks, traverses, precise leveling or other precision measurements forming the National Survey Control System.
- To produce and maintain cadastral maps, topographic maps, hydrographic charts, photogrammetric data and mapping.
- To facilitate the co-ordination of aerial photography required for government purposes and capable of being used in the production of maps.
- To provide the survey infrastructure necessary to integrate land related information.
- To specify requirements for and where appropriate, arrange surveys for land acquisition, state leases, licences, state grants and redefinitions of state land boundaries.
- To receive, hold, distribute, reproduce and sell, topographic, cadastral and derived maps, aerial photographs and other survey and mapping documents required for government or public use.
- To authorize and where appropriate, charge for the use or reproduction of survey and mapping information recorded by the Division.
- To be custodian of a Survey Register and appropriate index survey plans in which any survey made by a Trinidad and Tobago Land Surveyor shall be registered.
- The establishment of the precise boundaries of the waters under the nation’s jurisdiction
- The provision nationally, of graphic and digital land related data to consistent standards of accuracy and integrity.