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Donor: Royden Bonney

How many ways can you measure a piece of property? Meters, yards, feet, acres, hectares... what about chains?

Survey Chains (also known as Gunter's chain) were designed and introduced in 1620 by English mathematician Edmund Gunter (1581-1626), a survey chain consists of a handmade chain of 100 long wire lengths measuring exactly 22 yards, 66 feet, 4 rods or 1/80 of a mile. Ten square chains are equivalent to one acre. The small tags shown in the image below were attached to the chain to mark groupings of 10 links for ease of measurement.

Measuring with chains is not difficult - the equipment is easy to use and it does not require complicated mathematical formulas. Usually just 3 people were needed to complete a survey. However, land that has been built up, has steep slopes or is very wet is difficult to measure accurately. Modern surveyors use specialized equipment like GPS receivers and laser levels when measuring land to counteract these issues.


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