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SURVEYORS AS RESEARCHERS

Lalith Senanayake of Sri Lanka asked the question "Are surveyors researchers?"

The definition of  research  seems to fit the role of surveyors perfectly.. 1) Scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry.  2) Close and careful study.  I would also point out that the word study is defined as 1) The act or process of studying; the pursuit of knowledge, as by reading, observation, or research.  2) Attentive scrutiny. 3) A branch of knowledge., etc.

Have we ever considered that surveyors are involved in "Research and Development" in the sense that we gather all of our research and develop use it to solve the boundary problem presented to us by our client.

There are some general descriptions of the type of research we do...when I started surveying 50 years ago it was spoken of as  1) "Deed or land records research" and 2)  "Reconnaissance".

Land record research includes researching deeds to determine "Location of Title"; while it does not require us to determine "Ownership of Title", we should understand enough about ownership of title to inform our clients attorney of possible problems with ownership. Land record research also includes searching for surveyors maps and records.

Reconnaissance requires the "on the ground" search for monuments and ANY other indications of the possible location of a boundary, such as stone walls, fences, land use (One owners land is a field, the abutting owner's land is a forest...where is the line between them?), etc.

Once the actual surveying is done, the surveyor must develop and analyze(develop) both aspects of his research to determine (or have an opinion) where the property lines are. This development and analysis often causes the surveyor to want to more research before they make a final decision.

Making final decisions about the location of a boundary is certainly not part of a beginning surveyors role.

The decision making process is BOTH science and art, and comes not only from study but also from experience, The experience should be as an understudy of  a professional surveyor.

David C. Garcelon

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