Surveying 101

Land Surveying

Land Surveying is the science of measuring and mapping relative positions above, on or under the surface of the earth, or establishing such positions from legal or technical documents. Sometimes, one may also consider the Land Surveyor to be a “professional measurer”. However, the Land Surveyor also deals not only with both mathematical and physical aspects of measuring, but applies them to the legal aspects of boundary law. Modern technology has changed how the Land Surveyor uses physical measuring and applying mathematics to the work. Modern instruments used to measure the land now reduces the physical labor involved in measuring, and has increased the accuracy. Advancements in computer technologies has increased the speed and reduced errors.

A Professional Land Surveyor is a person who has qualified by education and experience, and who has passed an examination for Registration required by the laws of the State in which he or she is practicing. When you need land surveyed, it’s important to work with experienced professionals. DuSouth Surveying is a leading provider of surveying and civil engineering services, offering surveying services to the public. Both residential and commercial requests are expertly completed by DuSouth Surveying’s team of professionals.

What Land Surveyors Do

A common misconception about land surveyors is they only work with builders. In reality, land surveyors work with a variety of stakeholders including individuals, government agencies, title companies, real estate professionals and more. Using technology and GPS, land surveyors at DuSouth Surveying perform the following functions:

  • Accurate land mapping and reporting. As a primary function of land surveyors, accurate mapping and reporting of land measurements is a necessity. Whether planning to build a structure or conduct resource exploration, precise land mapping prevents land-related project delays or ownership disputes.
  • Letter of map amendment. When insuring a home, homeowners are sometimes subject to additional insurance coverage, such as flood insurance, without evidence of its necessity. Often, extra insurance gets added to ordinary insurance plans without verifying whether it is truly needed. By having a land survey conducted, residents may be able to provide their insurance company with a letter of map amendment to petition the removal of additional coverage.
  • Residential surveys. From planning residential development to surveying previously assessed property, land surveyors serve the needs of both investors and homeowners. Prior to construction or change in ownership, land surveyors ensure property documents accurately represent actual measurements.
  • Topographic surveys. With the ability to capture specific details about a plot of land, topographic surveys record both natural and artificial land structures. Land surveyors conduct surveys of this type and create a report of existing trees, roads, walls and more. A survey of this sort is helpful when determining easements and property boundaries.
  • ALTA surveys. Prior to a real estate transaction, an American Land Title Association survey is conducted to reveal any land-related issues that may affect completion of sale. Because a survey of this type requires adherence to ALTA’s rules, they should be performed by an experienced surveyor.
  • Boundary surveys. Over time, land boundaries can become blurred as new structures and features are added to the surface. For future development to occur, boundaries need to be assessed. Land surveyors perform this task accurately using the latest available technology.

Why Hire a Land Surveyor?

Land surveyors play an important role in ensuring the accuracy of title documents, land area maps and public records. Between working in the office and in the field, land surveyors provide an essential service to attorneys, construction companies, prospective buyers and anyone with interest in land. Working with a land surveyor benefits all involved parties, as accurate information about the land leads to improved decision making and reduced error. With strict adherence to laws and regulations, land surveyors perform a vital service.

Experienced & Insured Surveyors

At DuSouth Surveying, we work with property owners, construction companies, developers, government agencies and other organizations to accurately survey land prior to construction. Fully insured with over a decade of experience, DuSouth Surveying is the top choice for professional surveying.

What Do Land Surveyors Do?

Why the Difference? Licensed? Registered? or Professional Surveyor?

Many different areas of the US refer to a Land Surveyor using differing terminology. Most of the terminology used can be summed up with: RLS (Registered Land Surveyor), LS (Land Surveyor), PS (Professional Surveyor), or a PLS (Professional Land Surveyor). Technically, when a Land Surveyor is Licensed, the State Board of Registration “registers” that license of the Land Surveyor. A State Board governing Land Surveying cannot refer you to a practitioner, due to conflict of interests

How do you obtain a license to practice Land Surveying?

Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor is required in all 50 States and the U.S. Territories. Many States now require a degree in Land Surveying and Mapping or related sciences along with four years of experience working under the direct supervision of a Licensed Land Surveyor.

Each State (separately) licenses Land Surveyors. In general, licensed Land Surveyors have qualified themselves by education and experience in addition to passing examinations required by the Laws of the State of licensure. State licensing boards that issue licenses to practice Land Surveying are assisted by NCEES.

NCEES stands for the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. It is an organization established to assist the licensing boards that exist in each state and U.S. territory. A primary function of the NCEES is the preparation and scoring of licensing exams for engineering and surveying that are administered by the licensing boards.

Note that every Land Surveyor listed on LandSurveyor.US has been confirmed with the State Board of Registration prior to any listing on our site. As a license expires, we at LandSurveyor.US re-confirm the license of the Land Surveyor, and we remove the listing of the Land Surveyor if the license is delinquent.

What is “practicing” Surveying without a License?

The exact definition likely changes from State to State. A portion of Minnesota State Law defines it as: Any person who offers to perform, holds himself out as able to perform, or who does perform Land Surveying for others shall be practicing Land Surveying.

What if I have a complaint about a Land Surveyor?

Talk to the Land Surveyor about your concerns, and ask him to explain.

Though it is rare that any action is necessary, there are a few things to remember if you have a problem with a Land Surveyor. Communication is of the most importance in any disagreement. Be sure that you have all the fees and understand the scope of work defined by contract before any work proceeds so you can avoid any future problems.

Many of the State Surveyors Associations and Societies have a complaint committee which may act as a mediator to assist the client who has disagreements, or mis-understandings with a Land Surveyor. Try that source after you have asked the Land Surveyor, and still found no satisfaction to your complaint.

If, after all attempts to resolve the conflict have failed, you still feel a need to file a complaint contact your State Board of Registration Professional Land Surveyors and they can assist you further. To find your State Board of Registration, look at the phone book in the State listings, or or visit NCEES , then click on “Engineers / Surveyors”, then click on “contact your licensing board”.

Who does a Land Surveyor do work for?

Attorneys Departments of Public Works Businesses and Companies
Energy and Utility Companies Title Insurance Companies Bureau of Land Management
Realtors Park Boards and Departments Banks and other lending institutions
U.S. Forest Service Government agencies Department of Fish and Wildlife
Photogrammetrists Department of Agriculture GIS departments
U.S. Geological Survey Engineering firms National Geodetic Survey
Construction firms Homeowners Land developers
Private land owners Departments of Transportation And others not listed here

A Land Surveyor offers a highly technical and complex service, that often is little understood by the general public. The Land Surveyor is often a member of a professional team, working closely with the Attorney, title company, Architect, Civil Engineer, and others as needed. The Land Surveyor is often the first on the property, preparing the foundation upon which a project is built.

If needed, the Land Surveyor may appear in court in your behalf as an expert witness. The possession of a license enables the Land Surveyor to assume responsibility for the accuracy and precision of the boundary determination. Often, the Land Surveyor acts as a clients’ representative at planning commission meetings or at other public hearings when local government approval is