It’s All Greek to Me
At one time or another you may have heard the terms “surveyor,” or “land survey,” or “land surveying.” You might have an idea of what a surveyor is–the most common image people imagine is of someone standing in the middle of a road, blocking traffic, with a funny looking “camera” on top of a large tripod. To be certain, that person is a surveyor, and that funny “camera” is what is known as a Total Station. A Total Station is a precision instrument used to measure angles and distances between points. More on that later. But maybe you have wondered just what Land Surveying is. Hopefully after you read this 3 part series, you will have a good idea of who a Land Surveyor is, what the profession of Land Surveying is, and what benefit you can expect from a Land Survey.
Part One–What is a Land Surveyor?
So, just what exactly is a Land Surveyor? A Land Surveyor is first and foremost a professional, who is subject to a nationwide set of standards. Land Surveyors are typically highly educated individuals with a wide variety of college degrees specializing in Land Surveying, Geomatics, Civil Engineering, Geography, GIS, or Cartography. In addition to their college degree most states require that a Land Surveyor meet rigid post-educational experience requirements ranging from 2 years to 10 years actual survey work prior to being licensed. Once licensed, most Land Surveyors are required to obtain annual continuing education in order to maintain their license.
But What do Surveyors DO?
Land Surveyors are the people tasked with establishing existing property lines on the ground based upon legal descriptions (such as what would be found on a deed), creating new property lines (through subdivision plat¹), and the creation of roads. In addition Land Surveyors are also tasked with the collection of elevation readings for topographic mapping, the placement of stakes to mark the proposed locations of utility structures such as sewer and water system structures. They also set stakes at proposed building corners, verify the location of those building corners once built, and the certification of elevations of those buildings. There are many other tasks that Land Surveyors conduct on a daily basis, but what aspect of a Land Surveyor’s job is most important to an individual property owner? We will explore that along with what exactly a Land Survey is in the next installment…
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¹ A Plat is a map which is drawn to scale showing the division of a piece of land.