Surveying with the purpose of defining borders actually dates as far back as 5000 years to the Middle East and Egypt. Rulers knew the value of establishing property lines because it was a way to extract revenue from the sale of land and to continue collecting taxes from new landowners. Delineating borders also gives a central government clearly defined spheres of influence.
The situation was much the same in our newly established United States. The fledgling American government had accumulated massive debts from various wars with both the British and the Spanish, and now were greatly in need of capital to finance the work of government. As new settlers arrived, land was being claimed without any compensation to the government, so the solution was to quickly send out surveyors to establish boundaries.
Since our government had been established with many of the powers and responsibilities being assigned to the states, it was important that each state define its borders as quickly as possible. States needed revenue to survive and they were often in conflict with their neighboring states over who owns what. As you’ll see in a later chapter, some of those conflicts still exist to this day.