An ALTA ACSM Survey

The ALTA ACSM Survey or The ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey are surveys of real property that are made for the insured client, title company and lender for the purpose of issuing title or mortgage insurance.

The purpose is to make certain that the property is free and clear of survey and legal matters. This involves comparing the information surveyed in the field to the record information obtained in the title commitment.

Those items disclosed on the survey are considered to be an "exception" and are excluded from the title or mortgage insurance policy.

Land Surveying Requirements for ALTA ACSM Survey

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) have set forth the minimum requirements for the standard level of detail that is shown on an ALTA / ACSM Land Title Survey.

An ALTA / ACSM survey shows the boundary lines, improvements, easements, rights-of-way, water features and other items affecting the property.

Whereas items such as topography / contours, flood zone classification, wetlands, exterior dimensions of buildings, parking lot striping, location of utilities, etc are excluded from the minimum ALTA survey requirements.

As a result of a need to show these items on the survey, ALTA/ACSM have compiled a table of optional items called "Table A," which includes such items.

We recommend that our clients review the items listed in "Table A" and check the additional items they would like to be shown on the survey. This provides the client with a clear understanding of the scope of the survey project.

Download a copy of Table A here

Updated ALTA ACSM Survey Standards

In 1962, The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the former American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) developed the standards for the ALTA/ACSM Surveys to clarify and remove the standard survey exceptions from their title policy. They gave it the name ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey. Since 1962 the requirements have been revised approximately eleven times. It changes to meet the needs of the lending industry and the requirements of the survey industry.

The surveyor is responsible for performing the field work, drafting of the survey drawing, calculations, and review of the title documents. Once the surveyor has prepared a completed copy of the survey, a Professional Land Surveyor stamps the survey with his / her seal and signs the survey.

The survey also includes a certification that states that the map or plat and the survey on which it is based were made in accordance with the 2011 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA / ACSM Land Title Surveys, which includes the selected items of Table A.

The National Society of Professional Surveyors provides information such as "What Surveyors Do," "When You Need A Surveyor," and Surveyors' Professional Qualifications. Its objective is to provide the continuing educations tools needed by surveyors in the changing world of technology. 

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