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Where are you surveying?

So last time we did a cursory review of the PLSS and went over the basics of simple legal descriptions.  We start the survey process at the office looking up the original surveys for the area, I’m a history buff so I love reading the original notes, and looking at the original maps. Then we head to the courthouse to research deeds for not just the parcel of land that we are surveying, but also all of the adjoining deeds to look for any issues that may involve junior or senior rights. Then we head to the County Surveyor’s office to look for any surveys that have been done and filed with the surveyor (as required by law). We also obtain any information the surveyor may have on the location of those section corners, most often referred to as “tie-sheets” these sheets show the section corner, and any ties (an accessory to show where the monument is).

After our research is done, we head to the site. Some sections are easier to work in than others. Here are two images of Sections with the W 1/2 of the NE 1/4 and the NE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 outlined.  The easier of the two has roads on the section lines and nice plowed fields to work in and around, the other has a road along the North line, but no other roads, and is fairly heavily wooded with a nice stream on the property.  Always remember no two surveys are EVER the same, even if they are the same size!

For our example we are going to be surveying the parcel on the left, the “easy” survey.  In order to survey this parcel, we are going to need to recover the following corners: NE 1/4, E 1/4, S 1/4, W 1/4, and N 1/4.  We arrive on site and begin our reconnaissance for the corners we need.

We get out our trusty metal locator and begin the search.  We look over the tie sheets and find the called for monuments and all 4 of the ties listed the E 1/4, NE 1/4, and N 1/4 corners.  We drive over to the West 1/4 and find that the county department recently repaved the road, and using the metal locator there is a strong indication of a monument there.  We check the tie distances and find that they all meet at the spot in the road where the strongest indication of the monument is.  We start our work to find the monument, with hammer, chisel, spoon, and whisk broom.  Eventually we wind up with a nice clean hole cut through the asphalt, and all the gravel and dirt dug out of the hole and a clear view of the monument we were searching for.We now have 4 out of 5 monuments to work on this survey.  We drive down to the S 1/4 corner.  Upon arrival at the estimated location of the corner we perform a diligent search for the witness monuments shown on the 1972 Land Corner Certificate of record. We found only 1 of the 3 record witness monuments existing. The one we found was a PK Nail with a shiner in a power pole 142′ away. The other two witness monuments were also PK Nails with shiners one in a gate post, and the other in a fence corner.  Neither of these posts are existing at the location indicated.  A search finds the posts lying in a tree line rotted out, but with PK Nail and shiner still intact but rendered useless by their location. We then do an exhaustive search for other monuments from surveys that have been conducted in this area since 1972. We use our metal locator to search for an indication of a monument in the roadway at the 142′ feet from the one existing tie.  We find an indication of a monument but is appears to be very deep.  We again grab out equipment and start to excavate a hole where the corner hopefully is.  We wind up digging down 0.90′ to a Slimline Harrison monument.  Wanting to be sure that the monument is in the proper location we also locate the SE 1/4 and SW 1/4 corners.  We find that the S 1/4 corner is good where we have found it based on other surveys that show the relationship between it, the N 1/4 corner, and both the SE 1/4, and SW 1/4 corners. 

We have traversed to all 5 monuments needed to determine where our boundaries are. We compare our findings with those of the other surveys of record and determine that the distances and angular relationships between the section monuments are all good. Now we are able to determine where the Center 1/4 corner is, our actual southwest lot corner.  We traverse to our calculated Center 1/4 corner and find a 1″ diameter iron rod at the calculated coordinates.

The rest of the survey works out just perfect.  A beautiful November day 40 degrees, and sunny.  We get the survey taken care of drafted up, and sent out.  We file a copy with the county Surveyor so there will be a record of what we did.  You might think that we’re done but we aren’t.  We have some additional work if you remember back to part 2 we talked about one of the most important jobs surveyors have to do and we will cover that next time, in part 4 of this series.

As usual if you have any questions, please ask!  

RLS Dave

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