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Dictionary of Land Surveying Terms A to Z

Land Surveyors Dictionary

Land surveying is a critical aspect of any project that involves the development or management of land. It is the process of accurately measuring and mapping out the boundaries, contours, and features of a particular piece of land. To facilitate this complex process, land surveyors use a wide range of tools, technologies, and methods that are unique to their field.

One of the essential tools for land surveyors is a comprehensive dictionary of land surveying terms. This dictionary is a comprehensive resource that defines and explains the various terminologies used in land surveying. It covers everything from the basics of surveying to more complex and technical concepts, making it an indispensable reference for professionals and students alike.

The A to Z Land Surveying Dictionary is a detailed and comprehensive resource that aims to simplify the technical jargon of the field. It provides an easily accessible guide to all the necessary terminology, concepts, and methods of land surveying, making it an excellent tool for those new to the field and those seeking to refresh their knowledge.

This dictionary covers all aspects of land surveying, from basic measurements to more complex calculations, and includes key terms from related fields such as geodesy, geography, and civil engineering. The definitions provided are concise, accurate, and up-to-date, ensuring that readers can easily understand the meaning of each term.

Overall, the A to Z Land Surveying Dictionary is an essential resource for anyone involved in the land surveying field. It provides a comprehensive and easy-to-use guide to the terminology and concepts used in land surveying, making it a valuable asset for both professionals and students alike.

Land Surveying Glossary

A Terms


Read More A Terms
  • ABSTRACT OF TITLE – A condensed history of the title to land, consisting of a synopsis or summary of the material or operative position of all the conveyances, which in any manner affects said land or any estate or interest therein, together with a statement of all liens, charges, or liabilities to which the same may be subject
  • ABUT – To reach; to touch. In old law, the ends were said to abut, the sides to adjoin. The term β€œabutting” implies a closer proximity than the term β€œadjacent”
  • ABUTTING PROPERTY – The buttings or boundings of lands, showing to what other lands they adjoin
  • ACCEPTED SURVEY – A survey accepted by the official having Cadastral Survey approval authority. See CADASTRAL SURVEY APPROVAL AUTHORITY and OFFICIAL CADASTRAL SURVEY
  • ACCESS – The right to enter and leave over the lands of another. See EGRESS;


  • ARKANSAS DRAINAGE ENTRY – An entry on public lands to which, under Federal statutory authority, Arkansas State drainage charges attach.
  • ARKANSAS SWAMP LANDS COMPROMISE ACT – Under the terms of this act of April 29, 1898, Arkansas relinquished all rights, title and interest to the remaining unappropriated swamp and overflowed lands within its boundaries (43 U.S.C. sec. 987).
  • ARROW – An obsolete term for chaining pin.
  • ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION – The name of the instrument embodying the compact made between the Thirteen Original States prior to the adoption of the present constitution.
  • ASSESSMENT WORK – The annual labor or improvements which must be performed on a valid mining claim location in order for the claimant(s) to maintain a possessory right to the claim as against the United States or third parties. The statutory requirement (43 U.S.C. 28) is that $100 worth of labor or improvements must be made annually on valid claims for which a patent has not been issued.
  • ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS – Written instructions to a cadastral surveyor authorizing him to execute a specific part, or all, of a particular survey. Even if the survey has been authorized, a surveyor may not execute it or any part of it without instructions containing his specific assignment. See SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS.
  • ASTRONOMIC AZIMUTH – At the point of observation, the angle measured from the vertical plane through the celestial pole to the vertical plane through the observed object. Astronomic azimuth is the terrestrial azimuth which results directly from observations on a celestial body: It is measured in the plane of the horizon and is usually reckoned from south (0 ), through west (90 ), north (180 ), and east (270 ) back to south (360 or 0 ). It is affected by the local deflection of the vertical (station error) which, in the United States, produces differences between astronomic and geodetic azimuths of as much as 26” in the mountain regions of the Western States and 10” in the less rugged Eastern States. Astronomic azimuths are sometimes reckoned clockwise or counterclockwise through 180 .
  • ATTEST – To affirm to be true or genuine. Specifically, to authenticate by signing as a witness; to establish or verify the usage of; to bear witness. See TESTIMONY.
  • AUTHORITY, PUBLIC LANDS – Article IV Sec. 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States established the fundamental authority for public land and resource management upon the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. It states: β€œCongress shall have the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting territory and property belonging to the United States…” It has been held that this power of Congress is without limitation. See CADASTRAL SURVEY AUTHORITY.
  • AUTO SURVEYOR – Trade name for an Inertial Positioning System.
  • AUXILIARY GUIDE MERIDIAN – Where guide meridians have been placed at intervals exceeding the distance of 24 miles (under practice permissible prior to issuance of the 1881 Manual of Surveying Instructions which specified 24 mile tracts), and new governing lines are required, a new guide meridian is established, and a local name is assigned, such as β€œTwelfth Auxiliary Guide Meridian West,” or β€œGrass Valley Guide Meridian.” Auxiliary guide meridians are surveyed, in the same manner as guide meridians.
  • AUXILIARY MEANDER CORNER – An auxiliary meander corner is established at a suitable point on the meander line of a lake lying entirely within a quarter section or on the meander line of an island falling entirely within a section and which is found to be too small to subdivide. A line is run connecting the monument to a regular corner on the section boundary. See SPECIAL MEANDER CORNER.
  • AVULSION – A river’s sudden change in flow alignment out from its previous left and right banks to a new channel, leaving an identifiable upland area between the abandoned channel and the new channel. The new flow alignment will generally be a shortcut in channel length because of hydraulic considerations. The U.S. Supreme Court in Iowa v. Nebraska 143 US 359 distinguished avulsion from rapid erosion, but some State courts have established different definitions. See Goins v. Merryman 183 Okla. 155. Frequently the elements of sudden and perceptible changes are included in the definitions. See ACCRETION, AVULSION*.
  • AVULSION, ARTIFICIAL – Man-made or man-induced changes in flow alignment of a river such as to leave an identifiable area of upland between the old and new channels.
  • AVULSIVE CUTOFF – A river’s action when avulsion takes place; also, describes the area of land enclosed by the old and the new channels.
  • AZIMUTH – The horizontal direction reckoned clockwise from the meridian plane. See ASTRONOMIC AZIMUTH, GEODETIC AZIMUTH, GRID AZIMUTH.

Land Surveyor Dictionary & Symbols Mobile App

Mobile App Land Surveying Dictionary and Glossary of TermsEvery land surveyor in the field can benefit from having quick access to a Dictionary and Glossary of Land Surveying Terms.  In this community edited Land Surveying Dictionary, you can look up common terms used in Land Platts, blueprints, legal descriptions and more. 

Land Surveyors United Community Members can use the ultra handy Mobile Land Surveyor Dictionary App to contribute or edit terms from the field.  Just add the Dictionary App to your phone or tablet homescreen for quick access in any situation.

New Improvements in this Version

  • Land Surveying Signs and Symbols Added
  • International Location Based Hubs added for Quick Posts to Hubs you Follow
  • Quick links to sharing examples of surveying markers and monuments to Local Hubs added
  • Surveyors Can Now Add Terms
  • New Chat Feature to Ask from Field
  • Links to Land Surveyor Spreadsheets Added
  • Links to Location Based Local Chapter Hubs Added

Land Surveyors United Community Members can find the desktop version of the A-Z Land Surveyor Dictionary to contribute or edit terms from the field.  Just add the Dictionary App to your phone or tablet homescreen for quick access in any situation.

New Land Surveyor Dictionary

Land Surveyor Dictionary

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Land Surveyors Dictionary Glossary App

Carry a mobile of our Land Surveying Dictionary and Land Measurement Conversion Guide with you for quick reference. This mobile app for Android or Apple devices also provides quick links to every Location Based Surveyors Hub for easily sharing photos and discussions from the field.  It also has built in chat and quick access to all of the Surveyor Excel Spreadsheets found in the Spreadsheets App.

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