Wasn’t George Washington a land surveyor?  Yes, he was.  There are many people in history who were surveyors who went on to do great things.  In fact, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota features the faces of three land surveyors.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were all land surveyors at one time or another.  Theodore Roosevelt is the only non-surveyor on that mountain.  I don’t know how he got on there …

I want to put a fence up around my property.  Should I get a boundary survey?  Yes, you absolutely should have a boundary survey done of your property to ensure that your fence does not encroach onto your neighbors’ properties.

What is involved in performing a boundary survey?  There are several steps involved in properly performing a land boundary survey:  First, we go to the Recorder of Deeds Office in your county and get a copy of the deed for your property as well as the deeds for all of the properties that surround yours.  If those deeds mention any subdivision plans, we retrieve a copy of those plans as well.  Second, we enter the descriptions of those properties into our Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software and piece them together like a giant, mathematical, jig-saw puzzle.  Third, we send a crew to your property to look for and recover any existing property markers in your neighborhood.  Once the crew has found sufficient evidence of where the property lines are, they will set any missing corner markers on your property and set stakes along the lines for your fence to follow.

That sounds like a lot of work.  What if I only want one (1) of my lines staked?  In order to properly determine the location of any one particular line, it is still necessary to survey the entire area.  A typical situation that can arise is as follows:  The deed for your property says that you own 200 feet along the road in front of your house.  Our crew goes to your site and recovers 2 iron pins in the areas of your front corners.  After taking careful, precise measurements, the crew determines that the distance between the 2 existing iron pins is 199 feet.  This is 1 foot shorter than the 200 feet called for in your deed.

So, now the crew is faced with a dilemma.  Is one of the pins in error by 1 foot?  Is the other pin in error by 1 foot?  Are both pins in error by ½ foot?  Is one pin in error by 9 inches and the other by 3 inches?  You can see that the possibilities are seemingly endless.  This is why a competent land surveyor will survey, not just the 1 line, but the entire neighborhood around your property to make an accurate determination of where, on the ground, your property lines are located.  That way, in the end, not only will you be satisfied, but your neighbors will be happy as well.

I see land surveyors looking through a big camera on a tripod.  Doesn’t that tell you where the property lines are?  First of all, it is not a camera.  It is purely a measuring device called a Total Station.  It is very much like the instruments used by the three fellows mentioned above who are on Mount Rushmore.  It measures angles from 0 degrees to 360 degrees in the horizontal plane.  It also measures angles from 0 degrees to 360 degrees in the vertical plane.  This is where the similarities to the old instruments end.  The modern version also measures distances using an Electronic Distance Measurer (EDM), or laser.  Surveyors record these measurements and use them to perform their calculations.

If you have any other questions or concerns, kindly contact Howell Kline Surveying, LLC at your convenience.  One of our friendly, dedicated professionals will be happy to discuss your needs!