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Boundary and Topo are a rite of passage for professional land surveyors and most of our LSU members have experience in this niche. However, there are some who have had SO much experience that one might call them a "Guru." Are YOU a guru?

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Do Topo maps now require records of survey?

I was told that an ALTA type survey establishes boundary, and in California now the board has said any establishment of boundary requires a record to be filed!  My question is the last time I looked topography surveys included a boundary (paper boundary?) but isn't the same thing, because after all only a Court can establish a boundary, which by the way is an imaginary line dividing two ownerships.  Also I thought if anything, the boundary was already established by the vesting deed, how many…

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Grid Lines

How would you topo a 100 acre parcel that was, say a perfect rectangle with 1000 feet of road frontage and only moderately vegetated (in other words there are many openings but still yet quite a bit of vegetation, not an open pasture). The client has requested a 50 foot grid. The site has a few small hills and valleys, in other words the terrain is not flat at all. I guess my question is, would you set up a baseline with points on the right-of-way at 50 foot intervals and chop 90 degree topo…

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Boundary and Topographic Surveyors

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  • Survey Legend
    this group has been updated to include all photos tagged with 'topo' the future please tag photos and videos with 'topo' for them to automatically come into this group for other surveyors to learn from..
  • Here in Saudi Arabia we layout the boundary and a surveyor from state department come and check the staked points and proved …. So we are save a s survey contractor but here the question is I am a surveyor of state department then ……its difficult but if same job done by two different surveyors chances of mistake are less ….as Mr MARK gave the example of pilling work we always keep one person of our side to make sure the work is done exactly on staked points it cost us some more but less than in the case of wrong piling ….
  • That's great advice Michael but what I was really trying to get at is if anyone has any ideas on how to check and prove your work if the situation came up and you had to do so. I guess the best thing to do is check, check and double check and then check your checking. I know that sounds like nonsense but you can't be too careful. Just curious as to how many methods there could be or if anyone had other methods to do and record checks not only to satisfy yourself but others such as a client or a court. I gave two examples that I employ and you added some other helpful advise. I would like to see more ideas and methods to employ if there are any. I'm sure there are many good ideas out out there just trying to get everyone to divulge thier trade secrets so to speak.
  • Your problem lends itself to this solution, prepare your work for a claim, each claim will have a signed and dated request to stake, a signed work order indicating the work was satisfactorly performed, and finally a print out of the staked out values from a ascii file and the backup raw data file.
    Each claim will be tabulated in excell, try to document indirect costs and ripple effects such as inablity to bid and service other projects.

    This seems difficult at first but thru the magic of excell you will be able to set up the cell to automatically calculate claim amounts, the key is this
    "if you want peace, prepare for war" this has two effects, 1) the contractor realizes you are not a easy mark 2) the contractor will want to include your claims with his against the project, this is especcially important on a public works project.

    My two last pieces of advice:
    1) take an attorney to serious claim meetings, they act as expert withnesses in a court of law and have the effect of stopping the BS.
    2) you may deside to walk off the job and loose all claim rights, however to avoid being stuck with the cost of the replacement surveyor, give the
    contractor the opportunity to pay for service as ordered in cash or cashier check, The contract theory you must put forth if it gets to court, is the contractor violated the pay agreement (he didnt pay for services) in doing so altered the terms of the contract, which you merely also altered the terms of the contract, the key here is to avoid the appearence of "breaching" the contract, which gives the contrractor wide latitute to deliver his contracted product, including replacing the surveyor. So, don't breach the contract, merely amend the contract, to deal with changing conditions.

    One last factoid: in many states to bring suit against a land surveyor, requires another land surveyor or engineer licensed to practice, certifying the validity of the claim, so make sure your field notes, ascii and raw files are in order, timestamped and LS stamped.

    Of all the things I have learned in heavy construction three stand out: be honest, if you screw up fix it fast and trade survey time for any costs associated with the screwup, dont let them gold plat the extra, if the do, you goldplate them, that is the rule of engagement.
    Second, dress and act like other heavy constrution crew, try not to stand out, "the nail that stands up, get hammered down" (Japanese proverb)
    In other words become like all the other smurfs, and give Papa smurf his due respect (General Contractor)
    And lastly, when in a corner, have a joke ready to disarm the situation, haveing good humor and honesty has saved me literally tens of thousands of dollars in backcharge fees. And remember a smart contractor realizes that the surveyor knows where all the skeletons are burried.
    What to do before the job.....Pray to the Lord God Almighty for the safety of your men, and for a successful and profitable job. Remember, there is no greater hardship for a surveyor to face then to look into the eyes of your subordinates widow after a constuction accident, be safe, never get confortable, and do what surveyors have done for over 3 thousand years.
  • If I am on a cleared site or a wide open field and staking expensive or very costly structures or buildings I will first do the stakeout work (of which I am very confident in my abilities) and then perform some sort of a check as proof to the correct position of the work. But there have been occaisions (especially with pilings for some reason) when a contractor will call after noticing a problem and accuse the surveyor of staking points in the wrong position. Of course when you go back to check your work all the stakes are gone and there is no proof that anything was done incorrectly. Niether party can prove the other is or is not at fault and of course the surveyor gets the blame. You can go over the procedure and whip out the raw data but none of this proves the stakes where set in the correct position. You could have actually made an error or something else could have happened. During the actual construction things can get very hectic. There are cranes and trackhoes and dump trucks and drill rigs and front end loaders and concrete trucks and concrete pumps and laborers and traffic all throughout the site. No one can and doesn't watch everything that's going on and a stake or two gets knocked over or ran over or dug up and someone might get angry or fired if they saw who did it so it just gets stuck back at about where it was located before it got torn out. Then someone uses it and doesn't notice or doesn't care that it is kind of dirty or leaning over or the writing is on the wrong side or it is broken or something looks suspicious about it. Sometimes they might call for someone (you or me) to come out and check it or the right person may not have been told and it gets used anyway, say to drill and pour a caisson. Then they come along and try to layout pile caps or footers or place rebar and something doesn't fit right. So then they start to measure and notice something is in the wrong place. What do they do next? BLAME THE SURVEYOR! So they call you up and say that you have staked a $20,000 caisson in the wrong position. What do you do? Accept the blame and pay for it? Deny that you have done anything wrong? Can you prove you staked all points in the correct position? You can explain your procedure and the control used and go over the raw data and the plans but none of this actually proves that the points were actually set correctly. You might have the burden of proof if things were bad enough and it went to court. How would you prove to a judge that all your work was correct? I employ a few methods of checking my work and recording the checks in case such a problem does arise. It's just too easy to blame the surveyor when there is a problem with something he was responsible for and may have actually made a mistake. In this case he should own up to it and take the blame and suffer the consequences although, since the stake is gone, it might be tempting to lie and say that no error in staking was found. I'm sure everyone else is as careful as I am and just as confident in thier work but just wondering what methods others use to check thier stakeout work. Arnel mentioned his method of verifying some of the lot corners, especially the first, then proceeds with sideshots for his boundary relocation surveys. Michael records his backsight and every stakeout point then his backsight again, I guess at the end of the procedure. This would be proof that the angles were all set correctly and the correct occupy and backsight points were used. Do you do all your calcs? What if one or more of the points were calced wrong? As long as you kept using that incorrect point then everything would check. What if one or more points were set at the correct angle but at a bad distance? (hard to do when using a data collector and staking to a point but I have seen it happen depending on the methods used) Storing the stakeout point as a new point is proof and a very good idea but what if you were occpying or backsighting the wrong point? Again a backsight check should prove things were correct but the occupied or backsight point could have been the wrong points and the backsight check would have worked. This is not likely but it is possible. I have seen a house staked out correctly but on the wrong lot when all the lots were dimensioned the same and someone didn't perform a check to make sure they were on the right lot. A simple building envelope can be checked by measuring the diagonals. That would ensure the envelope was square and at 90 degrees but wouldn't check where it was in relation to the lot lines or setback lines. I will check and record the diagonals but also measure (and record) to at least 2 of the property corners to ensure the building fits on the lot as it should. Of course in this competative environment you will have to absorb the extra time and cost to make these checks unless you can charge that to the client, which around here means you won't be getting much work when someone else does the job for less but it is something that I feel has to be done. I don't feel good about leaving a site and not being able to prove to a contactor or client or even a judge that all my work was done correctly. I have done a lot of construction stakeout and have been blamed for staking a few things wrong, most notably pilings and curb. Normally the pilings were in the wrong horizontal postion and the curb problems were mostly elevation (or grade). I have seen and made a few mistakes I must admit. This is an unfortunate way to learn to be careful. Has anyone ever had to pay for 1000 feet of curb and gutter that was staked incorrectly? Not only did I have to pay for it to be installed again but I also had to pay to have it torn out and disposed of. YIKES. Just a little advise and a reminder to be careful (I may be preaching to the chior, so to speak). I have one other method that I have used at times when setting quite a few points (not just a simple 4 corner building envelope although it would work). That is what I have seen termed an "as staked" location where the points are set and sometimes graded from one point and then located and checked again "as staked" from another point which veryfies that not only do they fit amongst themselves but that they are in the right position with respect to the boundary or right of way. But they could still have been calced incorrectly. Just wondering if anyone has any other methods or ideas as to how to check and prove thier work? I would certainly be interested to hear them.
  • For GPS RTK similar, however you can shoot control points after recording stakeout.
  • Concerning checking stakeout, I record backsight as a shot, and record every stakeout shot, then record again the backsight, and try to overlap some other shots with other setups, Then plot the values and see how the fit.
  • Geodesy is always at work in every boundary relocation survey that I do. I always verify the accuracy of the control in relation to some of the lot corners particularly its first corner. After it is done and accomplished, everything follows as sideshots. This is how I do my surverying tasks in the Philippines. Just sharing.
  • This is not really a comment but rather a question. I recently performed a property line stakeout at 200 foot intervals around the perimeter of a 15 acre parcel. I had previously performed a boundary survey utilizing existing openings as well as trial roads within the interior of the parcel and had a control traverse established but did not run the actual true lines. I staked the perimeter property lines at 200 foot intervals by using a Carlson data collector and the stakeout line function. I am sure I was using the correct point number and coordinate values for my control points and observed the fact that the stakeout points were falling at what represented the correct property lines but due the dense vegetation it was not feasible for me or my client to actually clear the true property lines nor was it possible to eyeball the stakes or the lines to visually verify the accuracy or correctness of the stakeout. I am entirely relying on a side shot without the benefit of having a check, other than running another independant traverse (again not feasible or within the budget for me or my client). Does anyone know of a method for checking such a procedure? I suppose I am not the only surveyor who has done such a thing. I am very confident in my ability and sure of the correctness of my work but would like to know how to prove this to someone else and myself, (heaven forbid a judge or court) other than using the raw data and field notes, if it became neccesary. The purpose of the survey was for the client to install a fence and the lines would eventually be cleared at which time the results would be visually apparent but it would be satisfying to know when I left the site that everything was exact and correct. I think I know the best answer to this question but was just wondering if anyone had other ideas or suggestoions.
  • Land Surveyor
    we are help full to all LSU member for any top graphic expertise
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