More so than any other diseases, VBDs respect no administrative boundaries; in addition, animal, human and commodity movements are increasing dramatically, with illegal or unknown movements difficult to quantify. Vector-borne disease surveillance therefore becomes a serious issue for local and national organisations and is being conducted more and more at the regional and international level through multidisciplinary networks. With economic and logistical constraints, tools for optimising and evaluating the performance of surveillance systems are essential and examples of recent developments in this area are included. The continuous development of mapping, analytical and modelling tools provides us with an enhanced ability to interpret, visualise and communicate surveillance results. This review also demonstrates the importance of the link between surveillance and research, with interactions and benefits in both directions.