A boundary survey provides a graphical representation of the property lines and improvements on a tract of land. It shows the bearings and distances along each of the property lines.
A client generally requests a boundary survey on residential properties when they are buying or selling the property. If a client needs to construct improvements on a property, a boundary and topographic survey is generally requested instead. This provides more detailed information such as contours and utilities that can then be used by an Engineer to design the site. Whereas, commercial / industrial properties generally require ALTA / ACSM Land Title Surveys.
A topographic survey includes all the items listed under Boundary Survey with the addition of the elevations of the property which are shown by contour lines.
Contour lines indicate the changes in elevation across the property and allows the determination of the direction of flow of stormwater across the property.
Contour lines allow the calculation of the slope of the property at any location within the property.
One of the responsibilities of a Land Surveyor as he/she prepares a boundary survey is to identify any differences between property lines as surveyed in the field versus what is described in the recorded deed or plat.
If there is an overlap (ie. two adjacent property owners staking a claim to a portion of the same property) then the Surveyor will show this graphically on the drawing. This also applies to a gap situation, which is where neither property owner makes claim to a section of property between their two properties.
Another situation that occurs even more frequently is that one property owner has constructed a fence, retaining wall, driveway, building etc across the another property owner's property line, thereby creating an encroachment. A boundary survey shows these encroachments on the survey drawing. If there is a dispute with a neighbor about the location of the property line and whether or not there is an encroachment, a boundary survey is the ideal solution.
All property owners should have an accurate survey of their property. The corners of the property should be marked by an iron stake and clearly marked.
The Surveying and Mapping Society of Georgia (SAMSOG) was organized to assist the land surveyors in Georgia. Continuing education training courses are provide by SAMSOG to help surveyors comply with continuing education requirements.
What you need to know before you hire Land Surveyors
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Understanding property boundaries
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Atlanta Engineering provides Topography Surveys