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Questions and Answers

What different types of surveys are there?

When is a survey needed?

How much should a survey cost?

Should I have my survey recorded?

Why should I choose a Professional Land Surveyor?

I know of an established corner, why can’t you start my survey from there?

My boundary fence has been there for over 10 years, isn’t that the line now?

Where can I obtain record information?



What different types of surveys are there?

Lot Survey

Lot Survey:

This is a survey of a lot in a recorded subdivision. Corners are either found or set in accordance with existing state standards, and the owner receives a drawing depicting what comers were set and what comers were found along with any encroachments that were discovered.




Boundary SurveyBoundary Survey:

These surveys are normally described by Metes and Bounds and may require extensive research of adjoining deeds, original government surveys, highway plans, etc. A Boundary Survey usually requires field work on neighboring lands to verify or find existing monumentation. Because some deeds were prepared in an office and not actually surveyed, and others are just poorly written, it may require extra research and field work to determine the property lines. The comers should be marked in accordance with existing state standards, and the owner receives a drawing depicting what comers were set and what comers were found, and the relationship between deed lines and lines of possession.



Sub division surveySubdivision Survey:

This type of survey divides existing parcels into smaller parcels. These types of surveys are required to be recorded at the county recorder's office and must also meet all requirements of government agencies. State standards require a minimum of two permanent monuments per block.




Topographic SurveyTopographic Survey:

Although these are generally performed by a Land Surveyor, other professionals, such as Engineers and Architects may also complete them. These types of surveys are graphic representations of physical features of the land depicting natural and man-made features, such as fences, buildings, utilities, hills, valleys, streams, lakes, roads, etc. They can be performed by field ground methods or by aerial photographic methods. The preciseness of this type of survey depends on what it is to be used for. These surveys should be completed in conjunction with a ''Boundary Survey'' (which can only be performed by a Professional Land Surveyor) to show lines of possession.



Plot planPlot Plan or Site Plan:

This type of survey may be required by local authorities or you may require it to insure that a proposed house or structure is constructed in the proper location and not over an easement or building set back line. A drawing may be required showing the proposed building location.





ALTA surveyALTA / ACSM (American Land Title Association / American Congress on Surveying and Mapping) Land Title Survey:

This is the most comprehensive type of survey and improvement location. It covers all the aspects of a boundary survey and improvement location and identification of any additional evidence of possession or use which could be adverse to the interests of the purchaser. This type of survey is most commonly performed on commercial property.



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When is a survey needed?

  • Prior to purchasing land to insure what you are buying.
    Prior to installing a fence, building a house, or other types of construction.
    Prior to dividing land into smaller parcels.
    When you sell a parcel of land not previously surveyed.
    To verify the amount of land assessed for taxes.
    When you think someone has encroached onto your land.

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How much should a survey cost?

The cost of a survey depends on many factors:

  • Type of survey required
    Existing terrain and land conditions
    Amount of information supplied by owner
    Surveyor’s knowledge of the area
    Availability of record information
    Existing monumentation
    Liability incurred by Land Surveyor

Because of the varying conditions and requirements, it may be difficult to determine the exact fee in advance. However, based on general experience, the Surveyor can usually furnish an approximate cost. The lowest fee is not always in the best interest of the client or the Professional Land Surveyor. A well prepared land survey will be the least expensive part of your total land investment cost.

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Should I have my survey recorded?

It may not be necessary to record a lot survey or boundary survey but should you desire, it can be recorded at the County Recorder's office. It must be signed and sealed by the Professional Land Surveyor. All subdivision plat and boundary surveys that create a new parcel must be recorded.

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Why should I choose a Professional Land Surveyor?

AA Professional Land Surveyor renders a highly technical service in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, codes and court decisions set forth by local, county, state and federal authorities.

Because of the special skills and complexities involved in surveying land, statutes limit the practice to only those surveyors duly licensed by State Boards of Registration.
In order to protect the public from inferior land surveying, "Standards for Property Boundary Surveys" have been established. These standards describe recommended procedures for a survey and information to be provided to the client.

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I know of an established corner, why can't you start my survey from there?

This is a common misconception about surveys. Boundary surveys are dependent upon the outer framework of the original Government survey. Even with today’s high-tech equipment, it is impossible to duplicate the exact direction that the original surveyors ran their lines. At that time lines were run with magnetic compasses that were inaccurate compared to today’s standards. Compasses were affected by the constantly changing magnetic declination and once in a while the compass needle was affected by large deposits of iron ore. The statutes and rules for retracement surveying that we have today take those inaccuracies in measurements into consideration. This sometimes requires surveyors to measure several miles to re-establish section and quarter section lines before they can determine the boundary of your property.

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My boundary fence has been there for over 10 years. Isn't that the line now?

The 10 year time limit is only one of the requirements for acquiring property through what is called adverse possession. Surveyors cannot determine ownership, only record title boundaries according to your deed. Should you wish to pursue an adverse possession claim, you should consult an attorney.

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Where can I obtain Record information?

Recorded Recorded plats, deeds, easements, corner restorations, etc., can be obtained from the County Recorder of Deeds or your title company. Highway plans may be obtained from your State Department of Transportation. Utility information may be obtained from local utility companies or municipalities. The State Land Survey office maintains a repository for recorded plats, original government surveys, railroad plats, and recorded surveys, or can direct you to the proper location. Below is a list for Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas. For information for other states, visit LandSurveyors.com.


Department of Natural Resources
Division of Geology and Land Survey

P. O. Box 250, Rolla, MO 65402
E-mail: dnrdgls@mail.dnr.state.mo.us



Arkansas Geological Commission
Land Survey Division

N. F. Williams Well Sample Library
1911 South Thayer Street
Little Rock, AR 72202
Phone: (501) 324-9167
Email: agc@mail.state.ar.us



Kansas State Historical Society
6425 S.W. Sixth Ave.
Topeka, Kansas 66615
Email: webmaster@kshs.org