Land Surveying Uses GPS

Land surveying is a profession that greatly utilize the GPS system.

ladn surveyingToday, man-made constellations are in orbit. Their purpose is to provide instant, exact and global positioning information. This global positioning system of GPS is revolutionizing the modern construction sites, automating and guiding land surveying equipment, providing instantaneous circles and volume gap, simplifying total and controlled surveys. Nearly everyone involved in the land surveying and construction industry has heard something about satellite positioning technology or maybe you or someone you know is already using it. Whether an operator or a casual observer, there are still many questions about how this exciting system really works.

These positioning satellites don't stay in one place like the stars; they orbit the earth about twice a day. Constantly transmitting uniquely identified radio signals that can be perceived by specialized units on earth. These signals are used to precisely measure the distance to the receiving instrument from each satellite visibly overhead.

Just as stars have exact locations in the sky, the locations of the GPS satellites are also defined, becoming orbiting reference points. Using a process based on triangulation, a GPS receiver processes the signals from multiple satellites to compute an accurate position on Earth, which is why it is widely use in land surveying.

land surveyingFor mobile applications that require high accuracy, such as three dimensional machine control, there are two requirements that must be met. First, the signals from a minimum of five satellites must be received at all times. And second, those five satellites must be distributed across the sky. This is called Dilution of Precision or DOP. The simple rule of thumb is this, the more satellites received the better your system will perform.

All land surveying receivers incorporate standard GPS tracking technology; unfortunately the GPS satellite constellation alone cannot continuously make the minimum requirement of accurate mobile positioning. For any given location, there are times in a day when there are less than five available satellites or very poor DOP.

Now, consider a land surveying job site with trees, buildings, or other obstructions when satellite receptions are easily be further reduced. All land surveying GPS receivers suffer this same problem because they all use the same satellites to operate.

Even the planned signal modernization to the GPS satellites won't solve this problem. An obstruction that blocks one signal blocks all signals from that satellite. A land surveying equipment provider has solved this problem. The solution isn't adding more signals from the same satellites; it's adding more satellites.

Today, there is a second positioning satellite constellation in operation, the Glonass System. This positioning system is operated and maintained by the Russian government; much like the GPS is operated and maintained by the United States government; combining these two satellite constellations give land surveyors access to 38 different satellites; 14 more than a GPS-only system.

The additional satellites mean stronger and more accurate positions and better performance in obstructed land surveying areas. These additional satellites mean maximum up time in all land surveying locations, in all conditions.

For an up to date and accurate land surveying service, contact Enterprise Land Surveying at (888) 936-8426 or better yet, you may fill out our contact form request and a licensed land surveyor will contact you. 

Licensed Land Surveyor: Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

A licensed land surveyor trusts his GPS system like  his gun in a battlefield. Though it sometimes do not provide all the info that you may need, it is nonetheless very helpful in producing an accurate boundary survey.

Many have heard of “Big Brother” being able to track our movements. One of my favorite TV shows is “Person of Interest” where a secret machine keeps track of all conversations and people’s “criminal intent” in order to help the heroes stop the crimes before they happen.

While I’m SURE that there are tracking capabilities in most cell phones and different government agencies CAN track our locations, we might be a ways away them being able to determine criminal intent.  But there IS a recent application in England that I found very interesting.

licensed land surveyorNestle (yes, the chocolate company) is placing GPS Trackers in six KIT KAT bars in their aptly named “We’ll Find You” marketing campaign in the UK. When the person opens the package it notifies KIT KAT and the prize delivery team will find them within 24 hours and present them with a check for £10,000 (about $16,000.) See the article here.

Just about all new type cell phones, all smart phones, iPads and other tablets, lots of cars (more than you think), public transportation vehicles, golf carts, and watches have GPS devices in them now days. Another place they are, and rightly so, are in ankle monitors used by law enforcement. But, what you might not realize is that the electronic devices mentioned above can work just like the ankle monitor. Now, while it is true that you can disable the GPS tracking device in your cell phone or tablet, that doesn’t give all of us complete comfort in walking around with these devices on us.

Now, I’m not trying to be a conspiracy wonk here, but it is POSSIBLE that this could be taken advantage of by well-meaning agencies. And, as we know, law enforcement can make mistakes in identifying the correct suspect.  Of course, as a licensed land surveyor myself, I WANT emergency services to be able to find me if and when I need their service, so this is a double edged sword. Most of us probably have nothing to worry about in this regard, but if you worry about this sort of thing, it could keep you up at night.

licensed land surveyorEven as a licensed land surveyor, having used GPS technology in land surveying for almost 20 years, I still trust them more than I should.

One example is when I was in an unfamiliar town my GPS navigation device told me to take a “road” to the right. I slowed down and attempted to turn but it was a power line.  Not wanting to believe that Gizell was wrong (yes I named her), I went to the next street and turned and tried to find the “road” further back. I ended up driving down the sandy power line, which turned into a bike lane until I was finally stopped by a gate. As I backed down the bike lane looking for a turn-around spot I thought, “maybe this wasn’t a road and maybe my GPS device is fallible.” Of course, I soon justified Gizell by recalling that a human had to “digitize” the roads in and she just did what they programmed her to do.

If you need to turn off your GPS tracking device in order to sleep tonight, call your device’s customer service line and stay away from KIT KAT bars. If you would like to find out how GPS surveying technology can help you in surveying your property boundary, call a Licensed Land Surveyor at Huntsville Land Surveying at (256) 585-6002.

Land Surveyor: Worldwide Land Disputes

land surveyor

A land surveyor may not be recognized as much as a doctor or a lawyer, but no one can dispute that they play a very crucial role on Earth.

As proof, several countries all over the world have unsettled land disputes over other countries. Some may have been settled through the International Court of Justice, Treaty conditions, or a claimant country’s sovereignty has been recognized. And of course, these were all settled with the help of a land surveyor.

Let’s take a look at some of the famous land disputes all over the world settle by a land surveyor:

  • Mayotte (Africa) – Claimants are France and Comoros. France gained full control under the 2009 referendum, the population supported an overseas department of France, and so became one on March 21, 2011. 
  • Ligitan and Sipadan (Asia) – Claimants are  Malaysia and Indonesia. The 2002 International Court of Justice ruling awarded both islands to Malaysia, but left unsettled the maritime boundary immediately southwest and west of the islands between Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Eastern coast Narva and Petseri County (Europe) – Claimants are Russia and Estonia. Russia recognized them as a part of Estonia with Treaty of Tartu, 1920. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia continued administering it.
  • Tuzla Island and Strait of Kerch; Sarych (Europe) – Claimants are Ukraine and Russia. The conflict arose in 2003 when the Russiam authorities started to build a dam towards the island. Since then Ukraine established a border garrison on the island for a closer surveillance. The reason for the conflict is the fact that Tuzla island strategic location gives Ukraine full rights over the main channel in the Strait of Kerch and, this, the access to the Sea of Azov.
  • San Andres and Providencia (Central America/ Caribbean) – Claimants are Colombia and Nicaragua. Colombia currently has full control because Honduras de facto recognises Colombian claim.
  • Los Monjes Archipelago (South America) –  Claimants are Venezuela and Colombia. Velenzuela gains full control because Colombia no longer claims the islands, only the surrounding water.

A piece of parcel is something that signifies power and resources thus many countries fight over it. If big countries have unsettled disputes over a piece of land, small land disputes also happen between siblings, husband and wife, and neighbors. Though you can’t hire a land surveyor from an International Court to settle your small land disputes, you can always hire a local land surveyor who can survey your property and resolve any encroachment claims and/or equally divide a property as mandated by law.

A land surveyor plays a very vital role in settling land disputes, big or small. If you are in a situation that you may need the expertise of a land surveyor, please contact Enterprise Land Surveying at (888) 936-8426 today or go to our Contact page and send us an email.

Topo Surveyors Make Topographic Maps

Topo Surveying and Topo Surveyor

topo surveyorA Topographic Surveyor also known as a Topo Surveyor collects the survey data to locate man-made and natural marks and its elevations on a particular portion of land. The topo surveyor normally includes any man-made underground marks such as utility lines, if they are marked in advance. It will also illustrate ground level installations such as utility poles, buildings, walls, and many other significant improvements.

The utilization of standard topographic surveying procedures (not those shown in this image) are commonly employed to provide a precisely measured plan of the terrain. This method also includes the mapping and drawing phases of projects to document the locations and layout of the improvements, road, buildings, and many other engineering and architectural projects in the construction industry.

Why Hire a Topo Surveyor?

The purpose of getting a Topo Surveyor to do a topographic survey is to obtain an accurate map and documentation of the present state of a parcel of land that will be constructed on; either a building, a wall, or any other construction activity. The design engineers make use of the topo survey as they plan the design and then the proposed final surface.

It is important to have this plan as this allows the Engineer to compute, analyze, and estimate the amount of earthwork that might be required. The Engineer will also be able to balance the amount of earth work to minimize the dirt to be taken off or onto the construction site. An architect may also make use of the topo survey the same way as the Engineer.

Additionally, the architect may plot the surface in 3D to picture the finished look with the improvements he might add. This plot may be presented to the contractor, building owner, or the land owner before the actual construction takes place. An accurate topo survey is a big help to ensure the installations and improvements fit within the site boundaries.

Common Methods that a Topo Surveyor use

topo surveyorThe two common methods of doing a topographic survey are Aerial Topo Survey and Ground Based Topo Survey. How the topographic survey is done would vary depending on the size of the project and the contour interval desired. It is important that a topo surveyor understand how to carry out both in any circumstances. Choosing the proper method, based on the project requirements is an important decision that the topo surveyor should be able to help with. Having been involved in both types of topo surveys will allow the topo surveyor to make use of the most appropriate method.

An Aerial Topographic Survey is done from a point above the ground surface using either a plane, helicopter, un-manned aerial vehicle, or a crane to get the aerial camera above the ground.  The distance above the ground is determined by the precision needed for the topo survey. Aerial photos of the ground surface are then taken and examined by a photogrammetrists who does the mapping from these stereo pairs of photos. By looking at the two overlapping aerial photos, the improvements and breaklines are gathered.

A Ground Based or Conventional Topographic Survey is done when there is a need to get more precise contours and spot elevations or if the site is small.  The Aerial Topographic Survey is limited in the precise vertical and horizontal point location on the ground surface. This a somewhat simplified discussion of the two methods of completing a topographic survey. While this is an overview, you should read and research more if you desire to learn in depth about topographic surveys. Or, just talk to a topo surveyor.

If you need a Topo Survey completed, please call Montgomery Land Surveying today at (334) 625-9540  or fill out a contact form request for more information concerning your land surveying needs.

Introduction to Enterprise City, AL


enterprise city

Enterprise City is "Southeast Alabama's most beautiful little City"

Nestled in Coffee County, eighty-five miles southeast of Montgomery, is one of Alabama's most beautiful and thriving little CIties. 

Enterprise City is known as "The Friendly City" and this was fully proven by her oopen-arms and open-homes policy during the first activation of Camp Rucker and is even more pronounced today with Rucker re-activated.

Enterprise City's industrial and agricultural growth are closely linked together and her fine citizenship, beautiful homes, good schools and churches, afford her plenty to boast about. The BOLL WEEVIL MONUMENT is the only monument in the world glorifying a pest.

Enterprise City's climate is unsurpassed both for winter and summer mildness. Enterprise City is the "Peanut Capital of teh World" and the City with the latch string always on the outside of the door.

The Importance of Land Surveying in the Modern World

land surveyinngMost of you have probably never thought about land surveying until you needed it at some point. Many of us hear about land surveying all the time but never really give it much thought.

Since an investment in land and/or a home will likely be the largest investment you will ever make in your lifetime, knowing where your property lines are becomes very important indeed.

The art of land surveying was developed centuries ago. In fact, it’s one of the oldest professions in the world. The fact that it was used by man at such an early time and is still being used now shows how important surveying is to our survival.

Surveying land has many uses. Boundary surveying, for instance, allows you to know where your property corners or property lines are. This is especially helpful when disputes with a neighbour or with other people arise in terms of where your property ends.

If your family wants to divide a tract of land and transfer ownership to other family members, a boundary survey is the first step to do so. If you’re having a building constructed, it is very important that you have the land surveyed to make sure that you are not encroaching onto other peoples’ property.

A mistaken building location is very expensive to fix so you might as well invest in a boundary survey to prevent this.

"Land Surveying saves money, time, lives, and properties''.

A topographic survey, or topo survey for short, is another important type of land surveying. A topo survey is done to locate natural and man-made features on a particular parcel of land.

A topographic survey is different in that the elevation of the land is surveyed which means it can show man-made underground features, retaining walls, utility lines and etc.

Before you start any kind of construction activity, it’s important to have a topo survey done in the area so they’ll have an accurate record of the land’s existing conditions. Yes, that spot with the new mall in the neighbourhood had to have a topo survey done first.

Now, a flood survey or flood determination – this is very important too. It isn’t evident just looking at a property whether you are at risk of flooding or not. And, in some cases, even looking at the flood maps doesn’t give you an accurate answer.

The flood survey determines the elevation of the home and compares that to the base flood elevation. This is the only way to be sure you’re not in a flood hazard zone. If you’ve just been told that you live in a flood-prone area, having that confirmed by a professional land surveyor would let you know how to best proceed.

When getting flood insurance, insurance companies would require an elevation certificate from you. A land surveyor would be able to assist you with this.

If a company wants to invest in another state, or if there is a national lender on a commercial project, they will likely need an ALTA Land Title Survey done before anything is constructed. An ALTA Land Title Survey is a lot like a regular boundary survey except that nationally accepted ALTA Standards are used to guide the surveying effort.

Land surveying standards vary widely from state to state and an ALTA Land Title Survey is used to cut down on this variation. Also, an ALTA Land Title Survey typically is more involved than the state standards variety.

Because of this, an ALTA survey can be more anywhere from 50% to 200% more expensive than using the state standards only. If you need this type of survey, I suggest seeking an experienced land surveying company who is familiar with these additional requirements.

In summary, there are many uses for a land survey and for seeking the services of a land surveyor. If you’re unsure of your situation, consult Enterprise Land Surveying at (888)-936-8426 today or go to the Contact page and send us an email.

Land Surveying Cost: Getting Your Money’s Value

Land surveying, basically, is the science and art of establishing or re-establishing property corners, property lines and/or boundaries. There might be different reasons why someone wants a piece of land surveyed. The most common is to see whether a piece of land is susceptible to flooding, to subdivide real estate to sell or deed to relatives as well as to know if there are any encroachments. This might happen when a neighbour disputes you are using a part of his lot or vice versa (for more about this, click here).

land surveying costIf you need to have a chunk of property surveyed, the first thing that may come to mind is “how much would land surveying cost?”

There are plenty of factors determining exactly how much land surveying cost. The fact that this kind of service has to be done by an expert contributes a great deal to the overall land surveying cost, but choosing a non-professional to survey your land is dangerous and probably illegal for the non-professional. That is why you really should to take a good look around before settling with a surveying company.

If you must work inside a particular budget, discuss this with the surveyor up-front. Often times he may manage to offer land surveying cost saving steps to get the work you need done within these cost limits. The form of the land also needs to be considered. A square or even a rectangle piece of land is easier to survey than an odd shaped parcel, or one with a lot of sides. With the latter, the surveyor would need to take more time in surveying the curves as well as the bends meaning the land surveying cost of the service would increase. The actual size of the land is also an important factor here.

Remember that the land surveying cost is usually proportionate to the time and effort that a land surveyor would spend on the project. If the land that you’re having surveyed is not accessible, or has thick vegetation, then the total price of the survey might go higher. This is true of the varying weather conditions that might affect the work. Surveying in warm weather is sort of slower to keep from putting the crew members in danger. Also, most surveying can't be done during the rain.

When requesting for a quote, remember that surveyors base the estimate on expected conditions at the site. These conditions could change, bringing about additional costs. Always inquire about these potential additional land surveying cost scenarios.

All that being said, competitive prices are also to be expected, this is why we recommend selecting a surveyor based upon his experience and reputation rather than on the price he writes on a piece of paper. Usually it is far better to shell out a good amount of money on a survey that’s well-done rather than select a company with a very “affordable” price but have the survey repeated because the results were wrong.

To sum up, you should always discuss the expenses of the survey before you ask the surveyor to begin his work. You should also receive a contract that lets you understand what is expected of the land surveyor. This is one of the most important steps in getting your land surveyed.


If you wish to get a free quote on your land surveying cost, PLEASE CALL enterprise LAND SURVEYING TODAY AT (888) 936-8426 OR FILL OUT A CONTACT FORM REQUEST FOR MORE INFORMATION CONCERNING YOUR LAND SURVEYING NEEDS.

Land Surveyor 2.0 – What Land Surveyors Can Do Today

The profession of land surveying has constantly evolved. Basic principles of trigonometry are still at the foundation of land measurements, but the roles of a land surveyor, the tools that are employed and the governance surrounding land divisions have been a continuous story of change. Today’s successful land surveyor has found a way to survive the changes to his business that have come with the automation of machines. He’s not building muscles by pounding hundreds of stakes in the ground, but instead marking property lines and locating various infrastructures. Three-dimensional digital drawings are driving the machines that used to rely on operators being guided by wooden stakes that were placed there by a land surveyor. This recent evolution within land surveying requires the land surveyor to embrace the changes that have come with our digital world.

Land Surveyor 2.0 must possess skills beyond land definition, planning and measurements. Weaving data from various sources into a cloud based resource is the new trend.

land surveyor The idea of Land Surveyor 2.0 is not mine. I heard it at a recent conference where the concept was presented by Mr. CheeHai Teo, the director of FIG (Fédération Intenationale des Géomètres). FIG is the oldest continuously operating organization devoted to the affairs of land surveyors worldwide. His ideas caught my curiosity and I could easily relate his comments to the current state of affairs with a land surveyor I know myself. Mr. Teo stated that Land Surveyor 2.0 must Measure, Model and Manage.

 What does this mean today on the modern construction site? For a land surveyor, it’s not about staking points and alignments anymore. The machines can cut the lines and trim the elevations to match the digital models without a lot of wood in the ground. It has become more about establishing control and setting property lines. According to Tim Smith of Professional Land Surveying Inc. in Southern California, the modern land surveyor has lost an intimacy with the land on many construction projects. He may see a project in the very early stages and then not again until it’s almost completely built. Now his decisions must be based on data and not experience. The data are not just his measurements, field notes and property descriptions; data cannot always be analyzed with maps and spreadsheets alone. Visualization of the data while applying a variety of filters is one method of bringing the data to life. This allows the data to be manipulated in new and useful ways.

The sources and the tools for analyzing data have been evolving alongside Land Surveyor 2.0. A familiar example of this is Google Earth. Virtually any place on the planet can be viewed from an aerial perspective and many places are even accompanied with ground based photographs that can be sewn together. Several surveyors I know today are using Google Earth to get an idea about the terrain surrounding their project site before they visit it in person. But Google Earth is not limited to imagery. There are various overlays that can be applied. Street names, public transportation corridors, bodies of waters, civil boundaries and other layers can be viewed on top of the satellite images.

land surveyorFor Land Surveyor 2.0, these additional data layers include all of the data and meta-data from his previous surveys, active and passive monument information surrounding his project areas, inventory of available tools, licensing requirements, employees availability, customer schedules, finances, change orders, etc. As you can see, some of these layers are related to geography while others are related to resources or administration. Land Surveyor 2.0 must manage and integrate these layers into an efficient machine that allows him to access all of the data he needs to make informed choices in real-time. What does this look like and how does a company get there? The road is not easy, but it’s not impossible either. Many surveying firms have found that the Esri suite of software products can help them achieve these goals.

In a perfect world, Land Surveyor 2.0 has all of his historical work digitized and organized. He is able to locate the field notes for any particular survey within seconds or minutes without the necessity of digging though old log books and paper maps. He can filter his search to look by date, location, customer name, type of survey, etc. He can graphically display his projects on a live interactive map. The projects can be displayed through various filters so that trends over time or topic can be revealed. For instance, Land Surveyor 2.0 is able to state what percentage of his business is devoted to construction surveys. He can dig down and identify key customers and regions within these construction surveys. The financial aspect of the construction surveys is another layer so that determinations based on profitability can be intelligently made. Land Surveyor 2.0 does not waste a lot of time reconnoitering job sites because he can easily and quickly recover all of his field notes and control points from previous surveys surrounding the current area of interest. He accesses public data from the cloud for proximal surveys done by others and integrates all of this information into a virtual project.

Land Surveyor 2.0 is connected to the world in real-time. He is spatially enabled. His decisions are based on information that is up to date.

Digital drawings are shared on the web so that change orders and other adjustments can be updated constantly. land Surveyor 2.0 is now charged with providing analysis and advice to his customers based on this live and ever changing world. While historical experience is advantageous in the decision making process, land Surveyor 2.0 must have access and be able to analyze many sources of data and then weave them into a digital realization so that the machines can go out and move dirt into the right places. Land Surveyor 2.0 is a GIS professional….. This statement will probably cause angst among many licensed land surveyors. It shouldn’t. The task of maintaining and controlling these survey layers is very similar to what many GIS managers do with other data layers is very similar to what many GIS managers do with other data layers. Land Surveyor 2.0 is licensed to ensure the highest levels of precision and accuracy within the survey layers of data. Land Surveyor 2.0 has become a specialized GIS analyst that is authorized by his government to make decisions about land divisions and boundaries. The GIS and Surveying industries have been trying to “Bridge the Gap” for many years and land Surveyor 2.0 is closer to this bridge than ever before. Surveying firms that have adopted this model are doing so because this is what it takes to stay in business in their markets. They need the competitive edge that accompanies access to data. Their GIS, their way of managing their business is helping them make more money. credits to: Mr. Joe Sass of Machine Control Online

Land Surveyors: Leaving Their Marks

Men and women who combine their sense of adventure, their love of technology, and also their talents in making things happen with their desire to leave a lasting impression are the people who joined the ever expanding realm of land surveying.

land surveyorsLand surveying is likely one of the world's most vital occupations. It's the only job qualified to form new property boundaries. Moreover, land surveyors also play a significant part in the construction of incredible architectural accomplishmentsfrom the historical achievements that are ages old to the impressive buildings today. As a matter of fact, three of the gents on Mount Rushmore are land surveyors themselves.

Geographic Information System or GIS experts and staff rely upon land surveyors for mapping details. The task of your land surveyor has shaped the world as we know it; and it all starts off with small survey markers. It might be merely a small orange survey marker, but this mark is one of the millions that the land surveyors use to take detailed measurements that would become maps which will someday become amazing buildings, new roads, master planned communities, or entire cities – and in each step along the way is a surveyor.

Land surveyors specialize in many positions:

Photogrammetric surveying

In the Office, photogrammetric surveyors deal with cutting-edge software and state of the art machine.

Boundary Surveying

These are land surveyors who do in depth reference research studying maps and boundaries spanning centuries.

Construction Surveying

Within the area, construction surveyors are the power behind any growth; these people team up with engineers to ensure that the structures are constructed within its area and coincide with the type of land where it's built on.

Hydrographic surveying

Hydrographic surveyors take their work to the lake or sea, determining depths, borders, and a lot more. Geodesy involves surveying where you can acquire specific dimensions for satellite.

Land Surveyors may also find themselves inside the court room. They also perform a vital role in providing expert testimonies with regards to boundaries or even in assisting crime scene cases which involves land.

Qualifications of land surveyors

With merely a high school diploma, anyone can begin as a surveyor, an on the job training that would last for just six weeks, field training, and union apprenticeship. However, a lot of land surveyors are degree holders. Local community universities may offer programs or a two year comprehensive program in land surveying. Incomes tend to be greater than average career fields that need a 4 year college diploma or if these people acquire a degree or higher, they could begin management or one of the many specializations.

What Is A Land Surveyor?

land surveyorA Land Surveyor is essential whenever you plan on building a house, buying or selling a property, or dividing your property amongst your children. Many land surveyor made it down to history. In fact, three of the four faces carved in Mt. Rushmore are land surveyors (Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were all three surveyors, Teddy Roosevelt was not.). Others popular names were Daniel Boone, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (Lewis & Clark), Sir George Everest, Charles Mason & Jeremiah Dixon (of the Mason-Dixon Line fame) and author Henry David Thoreau practiced for a time in Concord, Massachusetts.

What is a Land Surveyor?

A land surveyor is a person with the academic qualifications and technical expertise to measure and plot the lengths and directions of boundary lines and the dimensions of any portion of the earth’s surface (including natural and other structures). That definition is quite a mouthful, but in actuality the field of surveying (geomatics) includes many other facets.

If you plan to purchase a lot, build your dream house, divide your property to your children, or simply want to know the details of a land property, a land surveyor is the best person to help you out. A land surveyor locates the boundary of your property and the location of your home within that boundary to determine if there are any encroachments by your neighbors onto you or vice versa. Common encroachments are fences, driveways, etc.

These days a land surveyor in the United States is regulated and licensed by the various state governments. In Alabama, the Alabama State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors was established in 1935 to protect the public.  A land surveyor’s duty is “to safeguard life, health, and property, and to promote the public welfare by providing for the licensing and regulation of persons in the practices of engineering and land surveying. This purpose is achieved through the establishment of minimum qualifications for entry into the professions of engineering and land surveying, through the adoption of rules defining and delineating unlawful or unethical conduct, and through swift and effective discipline for those individuals or entities who violate the applicable laws or rules.”

How to become a land surveyor?

As of 2007, a newly licensed land surveyor is required to finish a four year degree in surveying or a closely related field, a four to eight years of on-the-job training under a licensed practicing surveyor. In addition to that, licensed land surveyors are mandated to attend 15 hours of continuing education annually to ensure that they are kept updated with the new know-hows that would help them on their professional growth.

What does a land surveyor do?

As part of a standard lot or mortgage survey of a property, expect your land surveyor to review tax maps, aerial maps, deeds, subdivision plats, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and possibly even flood maps. For a typical lot survey, the subdivision plat is the most important of these because it tells the exact dimensions of your lot and the relative location of your property corners. The surveyor uses this to locate and/or re-establish your property corners.

In the field, a land surveyor will search for your property corners along with some of your neighbors’ corners. If yours can’t be found, they’ll measure the distances and angles between all of the points, locate the improvements on your property, including your house, pool, out-buildings, retaining walls, fences, driveways, sidewalks, and other home improvements. Other improvements like sanitary sewer mains, storm drainage ways, overhead power lines and the like are located because these might indicate an easement across the property. The plat should show these, but may not in all cases.

Once all of the field information is gathered, the crew chief takes the field notes and prepares a preliminary sketch of the work. This is passed along to a draftsperson who prepares the final outline for your use. The draftsperson will check all of the maps mentioned earlier to make sure that all building setback lines and easements are shown on the draft. The surveyed distances and directions are compared to the plat distances and directions as well. Any discrepancies or encroachments are shown on the drawing. Your lawyer may use the draft to determine if any other legal work is needed during the closing. The mortgage company or the bank may also use the survey for their records.

So now, what do you have for your money. You have a drawing which shows your house on your lot. You should have stakes and/or flagging by all of your property corners. Make sure you know where they are located. The actual corner is marked by an iron pin or pipe of some sort. (The type of monument should be shown in your survey drawing.) You might also want to take a look at them at least once a year to make sure they’re still there. (Even animals mark their territory more often than that.)

For more specific information about what type of survey you need, Contact your local land surveyor at Enterprise Land Surveying at  (888) 936-8426 or fill out a Contact form request.