Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 30

Thread: Anyone with surveying experience?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,356

    Anyone with surveying experience?

    Our neighbors are planning a remodel and had their lot surveyed recently. The driveway on our property is next to the yard on their side, if that makes sense. The nail their surveyor put down, to my surprise, is about 8"-10" INSIDE our driveway line. This struck me as odd: When we remodeled our house in 2012, we had a new fence put in along between our driveway and their yard. I remember purposely instructing the fence guys to make sure it was well on our side of the property line, so as to avoid any future issues. Now, our fence guys could have obviously screwed up but the other puzzling thing is this new survey nail appears to be well on our side of the concrete driveway entrance that is original City construction from way-back-when. In other words, if the new nail is to be believed, our driveway threshold is easily on their property. I have our survey from 2012 but not sure I can really interpret the drawings. Can anyone here lend some insight? Are these surveys ever "wrong"? We have a good relationship with those neighbors but "if" they want to do something about our fence, I feel like I should know more.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    23,396
    Blog Entries
    1
    My recent experience with a survey done by my neighbor makes me think surveys are like snow flakes… No two are alike.

    To my surprise, the neighbor found out half of his animal pen and woodshed are on my property. Some of the survey markers do not line up with older survey markers.

    Life goes on. Makes me wonder if a written agreement is needed to prevent an adverse possession problem in the future.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
    Posts
    1,494
    Yes, it is possible that the survey could be in error - - either yours or theirs.

    If you can find the original surveyors pins on the corners of your property and have the surveyors plat map, you should- - armed with a 100 foot tape measure, get an idea of what is going on. Either that or hire a surveyor yourself.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    13,501
    You can get pretty close to the markers using a hand held gps. The notations on the plat should be a bearing and distance from a point. Start at one known point and measure on that bearing and distance.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 05-04-2021 at 12:20 PM.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,813
    Bite the bullet and hire a surveyor. You may have good relations now, but it'll be a problem if either if you decide to sell.

    I had my suburban lot marked when I couldn't find the pins anymore. The surveyor offered a cheaper "paper survey" where they just went off the description in the records, but I wanted and paid for an actual measured survey where they tied it back to a known landmark in the neighborhood. He told me that most people just do the paper description when they buy/sell, so could easily get messed up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    5,693
    The newer the survey, the more accurate it Can be. It depends on what they pulled the first point from. Surveys started off being counted in steps, and then dragging chains while counting lengths of chain, and may, or may not have allowed for variation by slope. Today, they use extremely accurate instruments with electronic help.

    If it's a subdivision, there was probably a reliable survey made to start with. After that, it depends on the accuracy of the surveyor.

    I like having state roads for property lines.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,767

    Possibly could be another explanation not worthy of panic.

    Did the surveyor drive a boundary marker deep in the ground (usually a foot or more of rebar) capped with a bright orange survey cap, or did he drive a smaller, shorter "nail"?

    Note that surveyors often put in a temporary nail while surveying, sort of a temporary marker for them to take measurements and triangulate from from. These nails are often off the property line, even on neighboring property. They should be marked as such. I don't know for sure, but I think they use them for triangulation when the line-of-sight is obscured to the end boundary markers. I've found them 6' inside my property line. They will usually take them back up when finished but may forget. When I find them I just pull them up. If they need to use them again they can put down more. A "nail" in temporary and a "stake" is permanent. I believe it is illegal to remove or move a permanent stake.

    (I had a neighbor dig up my corner stake when putting in a fence and neglect to tell me. He then set it in concrete and said it put it in the same place. I'll hire a surveyor to check it and if wrong, he will have to pay for the surveyor AND move the fence post!)

    I've found several temporary survey markers (nails) in the 8' in the woods on my property, 8' from the property line. They are sometimes painted or pin down some colored surveyor's tape. One was tagged to indicate it was a temporary marker.

    If the nail is obviously inside your property an not a stake driven at least a foot into the ground you can probably just ignore it. Another thing is to ask the neighbor for the name of the surveyor company (or check the county records where the survey is registered) and ask.

    Yes, surveyors can make mistakes but with todays compuer-controlled precision laser based equipment it's pretty rare.

    BTW, one thing I did when I bought my 27 acre property was walk around and locate every surveyor boundary pin - easy to do with a good GPS. This is best done in winter for several reasons, especially since the leaves are down. There were many boundary markers on this oddly shaped property and I found each one. Some were buried under a few inches of leaves or dirt. I wrapped each with some fluorescent orange tape and in the woods tied long streamers from the surveyor pins to suitable nearby trees and branches. This makes them very easy to locate. When a line-of-sight was impossible because of brush and trees, I measured a few feet off the line on both ends to a clear area and drove in a temporary post. Then I could use a laser to get a line-of-sight between each temporary post. From that I could put down other temporary markers then measure back from them to find the true property line. I compared the measured distances to the surveyor's map that came with the property. I have about a mile of boundary. Just for fun and for visualizationI make an accurate 3D model of the terrain using a topo map and draped an old satellite photo on it.

    _map_of_farm_2.jpg May2000_aerial_plus_small_no_text.jpg

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Our neighbors are planning a remodel and had their lot surveyed recently. The driveway on our property is next to the yard on their side, if that makes sense. The nail their surveyor put down, to my surprise, is about 8"-10" INSIDE our driveway line. This struck me as odd: When we remodeled our house in 2012, we had a new fence put in along between our driveway and their yard. I remember purposely instructing the fence guys to make sure it was well on our side of the property line, so as to avoid any future issues. Now, our fence guys could have obviously screwed up but the other puzzling thing is this new survey nail appears to be well on our side of the concrete driveway entrance that is original City construction from way-back-when. In other words, if the new nail is to be believed, our driveway threshold is easily on their property. I have our survey from 2012 but not sure I can really interpret the drawings. Can anyone here lend some insight? Are these surveys ever "wrong"? We have a good relationship with those neighbors but "if" they want to do something about our fence, I feel like I should know more.

    Erik

  8. #8
    I worked for a land survey company for many years pulling records for the licensed surveyors and field crew. I can say for a fact that yes, surveyors do make mistakes. Like every profession, there are good ones and bad ones; and some that think they know what they are doing, and some that actually do know what they are doing. There were several bad surveyors in my region that were known for their sloppy calculations and vague drawings from the 1960's to 1990's. There were also certain surveyors that were from the 1950's to 1980's that were extremely accurate even through all the dense brush they had to blaze through. We often came across problems when the old plat or parcel had been originally surveyed by a civil engineer - their calculations were off as much as 40' in length!

    Field crews will set a temporary nail or chunk of wood to use for their calculations when they cannot see a straight line or access that area. Some leave them, while others will retrieve them when they are finished. A field person can be a licensed surveyor, or they can be a hired hand to whack through the brush & gather data while the surveyor stays in the office.

    I am still friends with some of the people at the survey company I worked for and their "problem surveyor" is still a major problem even though they have all the new technology. They can't get rid of him. He married into the company and was given majority ownership.

    Depending upon your county recording office personnel, you might be able to contact them and ask for a referral to a good surveyor. If an employee has been there long enough, and they are honest, they can tell you which surveyors you need to avoid.

    You can also hire a different surveyor to review the recorded survey and check their calculations. That person doesn't have to come out to the property and that can save you a large chunk of money if they don't find any errors with the calculations.
    I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and I think, "Well, thatís not going to happen."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,767
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Chance in Iowa View Post

    You can also hire a different surveyor to review the recorded survey and check their calculations. That person doesn't have to come out to the property and that can save you a large chunk of money if they don't find any errors with the calculations.
    I carefully reviewed a surveyor's map for 120 acres that was in the family. I wrote a spreadsheet and put in all coordinates and angles to check their math. My spreadsheet drew a map of the boundary as a double check. I found one point in the wrong place, about 40' off. Pays to check.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    13,501
    If you have a cad program you can draw the outline of your property using the angle and distance numbers on the survey plat. If the numbers don't bring you back to the starting point, there is an error in the plat.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    1,523
    Do you know who did the survey? If not I would find out. You need to call them and ask what it is. I don't know about you but I would not want a nail in my driveway. At some point that nail is going to come out of the ground and find a tire. There's laws governing the removal of some survey markers and such so you shouldn't just remove it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,693
    For your peace of mind, hire a good surveyor and get a stake survey.

    My neighbor pulled up a couple pins. I had a new survey done with pins and then drove heavy duty fence posts next to them. I was putting in a new fence and found that he had built a shed partly on my property. He had bought the home without a survey. He had to move the shed and then complained loudly about my 6 ft privacy fence.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    472
    Legal descriptions can be easy to follow (Tract No., Lot No.) or nearly impossible (called metes and bounds). So your question is one that no one can really answer. Post your legal description, and I'll try to answer your question.
    Regards,

    Tom

  14. the metes and bounds description in a deed are not necessarily the actual lines of the property. There is a priority in most states for existing corners, fences, etc. as a variation from the deed description. In one famous case here, the surveyor crew made a mistake in marking the first lot in a line of 20 or 30 lots. The result was that every bodies house on each lot going down the street was too close to the subdivision plot lines to comply with municipal set back rules. ie, the marked lot lines were all about 8 ft off from the actual deeds. A fiasco that required every body to sign corrective deeds, fouled up the lot sizes for the end lots, etc. In addition, sometimes deed descriptions contain errors when copied over from prior deeds. One line I share with a neighbor is 579 feet. But on his deed, that same line is described as 579 RODS, which would extend his property across two roads and through a couple of neighbor's houses. In the case of some friends, one of the "courses" was left out of their deed from the prior owner, a 700+ ft line, so the deed didn't close and created all kinds of problems with a "city" neighbor who put a driveway across the corner of their property based on the missing deed course. When i had my property surveyed it was found that the original plot subdivision was off by a ft from the actual marked corners. the neighbor's lot was to extend 212 ft from the road right of way, but the marked corner that every one had been going by for years was actually 213 ft from the road. According to the surveyor, the marked corners control over deed descriptions.

    Another neighbor's property was surveyed by a guy named Miller 35 yrs ago. When his adjoining land owner had his property surveyed, the same surveyor marked the line differently, resulting in a very long skinny triangle overlap. The fellow called the surveyor and questioned the difference. The surveyor claimed that couldn't happen. It turns out. One of the property lines started in the middle of a public road and the road was shifted by several feet North in between the surveys.

    One of the confusing things that occurs with some surveys is the way they triangulate corners and put in stakes that are not really the corners. It drove me crazy when my surveyor did that. Stakes were put in that were not the actual corners, but were some how used to locate the corners.

    I guess the point is nothing is certain. Mistakes frequently happen and I would be calling the surveying outfit from years ago to come out and explain what the heck is going on.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    13,501
    In the town near us there is an error in most of the property lines. We discovered this when we decided to pave the driveway at the church. If the surveyor starts at the north end of town and works to the south the church property line falls where the edge of the driveway has been for over 100 years. However, if the surveyor starts on the south end of the town, the church property line on the north side is about three feet inside the neighbors house on the north side of the church. The church deed states that the north property line starts at the "sandstone foundation blocks" of a barn that was on the property when it was deeded to the church.

    During the driveway paving process the contractor located those foundation blocks right where they should have been on the north side of the driveway, which showed that the church did not own part of the neighbors house. The foundation blocks were left in place for future reference.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •