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Student Surveyor

Changing angles ????


In 1959 a government agency bought some land and their take line was described as N 73 deg. 33 min. 40 sec. E for 682.84 feet.  The adjacent land was sold in 1984 and this same line was expressed as N 76 deg. 34 min. 56 sec. E for 682.8 feet.  How can this be the same line and the government did not buy any more land so wouldn't the original angle prevail?  In 1959 magnetic declination was 8.8 deg. E and was 6.4 deg. E in 1984. Could this error be due not using the same bearing basis?  Both were done from the same POB.




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  • Land Surveyor
    Mr. Daniel the bearings are only relative to each other, that is their basis of bearing I am asking about. I do not agree with the Surveyors who are telling you to turn an angle in that general direction and then accept whatever you find. This is not how Land Surveying theory and practice works, no matter what you may have heard.
    • Student Surveyor

      I agree with you and have argued with several surveyors over their opinion as to surveying.  I am still learning and studying everyday but even at my level of training in surveying I can see how wrong they are.  The ones who argue with me say that if you discover an error on a survey that is somewhat minor and tell the owner then the adjacent property is affected and a can of worms is opened and so small errors are not as important as following previous surveyors intent.  There are many people who no longer trust surveyors due to this attitude where ALL people used to see surveyors as the most honest and dependable craftsmen that exist.  When I am finally able to become a surveyor I will report only what I can verify and not what is expedient.  You have tons of experience and I totally respect your points and appreciate any and all tips that you give me.  By the way, what brand of used Total station would you recommend?

  • Land Surveyor
    A single bearing alone does not describe an angle. It is possible that the same line was described by two different surveys that were not in the same bearing basis. It is quite possible there in no discrepancy between the two descriptions of this line at all. With no more information than what you have provided it is impossible to know. Could you post the two descriptions so we can see them?
    • Land Surveyor
      Are the interior angles the same?
      • Student Surveyor

        What reference would you use to verify that?  Several surveyors say that the description on a legal land description doesn't really mean much as you do not know what basis for the angles was used.  Most just shoot in the general direction and locate a pin if possible and accept that as what the intent of previous surveys was regardless of what the absolute angle is. In locating old pins I try to reference to true north first then to grid north and finally to magnetic north if all else fails. I have old surveys done back in the 1800's and even then they used true north by calculating angles after taking into account the magnetic declination. Thanks to you that responded and shared your insight.

    • Land Surveyor
      Not necessarily because once again they could be in a different bearing basis. If you can post the two descriptions I may be able to tell you if they agree or not. Again whithout additional information there is no way to know.
    • Student Surveyor

      Thanks for your reply and I would agree if both calls ended at the same place.  In this case there are two different ending places which would result in the owner either having more land than he thought or less land than he thought.  Also, as you know I am a student of surveying and appreciate your knowledge on the subject but still wonder if you are given a POB, an angle and length then shouldn't all interpretations end at the same place?

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