Strictly speaking, land surveying is measuring the land and its features and recording that data in a graphical form.
Surveying is the art of measuring and locating lines and angles on the surface of the earth.
~Breed and Hosmer, 1923
No one would deny that cartographers of old were artists. Maps were once more flourish than substance. Many would say that modern maps are simple utilitarian representations of the real world. Although the flourish of the sea monsters is gone, there are still some elements that are left to the whim of the map maker. In this aspect, survey plats or maps can be construed as artistic.
The act of surveying is a science. It uses the scientific process for gathering evidence and processes that data mathematically. Many laws and rules have been made for the recreation of lost or damaged corners. These laws lay down specific methods for accomplishing this. Unfortunately, there are many more situations that don’t have clear-cut answers on how to proceed.
Interpreting the intent of the land transactions when the descriptions are unclear can be very interesting. Comparing conflicting data and interpolating the corresponding answer can be daunting. Correcting errors and blunders in previous maps and descriptions is common. Retracing old surveys done with archaic equipment under adverse conditions by sometimes untrained people can be impossible.
All of these situations, combined or separate, require finesse in interpreting and calculating. There aren’t necessarily absolute answers. Two different surveyors may find, through their own investigations, different solutions. Each answer could be equally correct. Simply put, surveying is more of an art than a science.