Cadastral Mapping Specialist (CMS)

The purpose of the CMS designation is to recognize professionalism and competency in cadastral mapping techniques that support proper valuation for tax purposes, property tax administration, and property tax policy.

Professional designees may use this designation in conjunction with the production of maps and other graphic images and objects that support property appraisal and assessment administration in accordance with IAAO's commitment to excellence.


    To qualify for the CMS designation, the following qualifications and requirements must first be demonstrated to be eligible to sit for the master examination:
  1. The candidate must have at least three (3) years of experience in cadastral mapping.
  2. The candidate must have credit for the following five (5) educational courses:
    1. IAAO Course 101: Fundamentals of Real Property Appraisal
    2. IAAO Course 600: Principles and Techniques of Mapping
    3. IAAO Course 601: Cadastral Mapping Methods and Applications
    4. IAAO Workshop 171 Standards of Professional Practice and Ethics
    5. Residents of the United States are required to take either IAAO 151 or a Foundation-approved two-day USPAP course. Examination cannot be challenged. Residents outside the U.S. must provide proof of passage of a course covering the particular appraisal standards that govern appraisers within their jurisdiction in lieu of taking either IAAO 151 or a Foundation-approved two-day USPAP course. In the absence of a local standard, USPAP is required.
  3. Prior to sitting for any exam a candidate must be enrolled and in good standing in the CMS program.
  4. The candidate must pass an eight (8) hour Case Problem on Cadastral Mapping.
  5. The candidate must pass a four- (4-) hour CMS Master Examination. The examination can be given only after all other requirements have been met.
  6. Upon successfully completing the CMS Master Examination, the candidate must submit an affidavit attesting to his or her experience before the designation can be conferred.
  7. The candidate must be a high school graduate or the equivalent.


The Case Problem Examination

The Case Problem Examination on Cadastral Mapping is an eight-hour cadastral mapping exercise. The candidate is provided with a base map, aerial photograph, subdivision plat, and several deeds. The candidate must plot the deed and subdivision descriptions and resolve technical inconsistencies. Successfully completing the case problem requires technical and mapping problem-solving skills. The candidate is allotted a maximum of eight hours for completion.

IAAO case examinations are an intense, in-depth experience unlike other IAAO exams. Designation candidates are expected to have a mastery of the core course material and its application to real world situations.


To prepare for this examination, it is recommended a candidate thoroughly study the demonstration problems, exercises and associated solutions, chapter reviews, quizzes, work problems, data, and information found in the basic core curriculum courses, with a focus on Courses 600 and 601.

An optional workshop is available to assist in studying for this examination: IAAO Workshop 854 CMS Case Problem Review Workshop. Although not a substitute for studying the course materials, this workshop assists candidates in what to expect from a case study examination, including a practice exam. It WILL NOT cover any and all topics and concepts that will be covered in the exam. This workshop is offered in the classroom or the workshop materials can be purchased for self study.

The case problem exam can be taken at a location and time that is agreeable to both you and your proctor. Approved proctors are IAAO professional designees, specifically CAE and CMS designees. You can locate designees using IAAO’s Membership Directory. If necessary, other IAAO designees or arrangements, such as exam testing facilities, can be approved upon request.

Once you have secured your proctor and agreed upon the details, you can use the Designation Examination Application form to schedule your exam session. It is recommended that your application form, along with your payment, reaches our office at least three weeks ahead of your desired exam date; two weeks is required to ensure your exam date without incurring an additional fee.


The Master Examination - CMS

The written master examination for the CMS designation is specific to the subject. It is a test of competence, testing the candidate’s knowledge of the specific subject. Specific instructions on the form and content of the examination are provided to the candidate prior to sitting for the examination. The examination is given only after all general and specific requirements have been satisfactorily completed. The examination may be administered by a proctor at any location and on any date; it is preferred that the proctor be a CAE designee or a designation holder in the specialty. However, the Professional Development Committee (PDC) may authorize a non-designee to proctor the examination. Proctors cannot be related to the candidate, nor may they proctor if there is any potential conflict of interest.

An oral examination may be required at the discretion of the PDC. A candidate failing a master examination is permitted to retake it after thirty (30) days.

Content provided for informational purposes only. IAAO’s Designation Program is governed by IAAO Procedural Rules. In the event of a discrepancy, the Procedural Rules prevail.