LAND SURVEYING - Civil and Environmental Engineering | SIU

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LAND SURVEYING
CE 362
LETTERING
FIELDBOOKS
The following is the lettering style to be used
in all fieldbooks.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p
q r s t u v w x y z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
TYPES OF LEGAL SURVEYS
1. MORTGAGE INSPECTION:


Process:
1. Check latest deeds to property.
2. Check approx. property line location & location of parcel
within a block.
3. Examine for apparent encroachments by fences, driveways, &
structures.
4. Locate all permanent structures.
5. Show platted easements, ROW, & building lines.
6. Prepare drawing & report (Signed and Sealed by PLS)
TYPES OF LEGAL SURVEYS
2. LAND TITLE SURVEYS (ALTA):


Process:
1. Acquire copies of tract deed & all abutting tracts.
2. Establish location of property lines on the ground &
monument.
3. Check for encroachments, ROW, & easements.
4. Determine conformity to zoning regulations.
5. Complete Surveyor’s Report Form.
TYPES OF LEGAL SURVEYS

3. Boundary Surveys
Retracement Rural
2. Retracement Subdivision
3. Subdivision
1.
Must follow in the footsteps of previous Surveyor!
U.S. Rectangular System
Structure

Meridians & Baselines:

35 principal meridians and 32 baselines



Meridian – line runs straight N-S
Baseline – line perpendicular to meridian
Principal Meridian – generally established 1st.

3 govern land in Illinois



2nd - 86°28’00” W long.
3rd - 89°10’15” W
4th - 90°28’45” W
Baseline

Baselines run @ 90° to P.M.


Monumented and latitude north of equator.
2 BL in IL



BL for 2nd and 3rd P.M. are the same - 38°28’20”N
BL for 4th P.M. - 40°00’30”N
Point of intersection (BL&PM) often called Cardinal
Point.

Standard Parallels


E-W lines parallel to baseline at intervals of 24
miles N and S of the baseline.
Guide meridians

Lines running N-S and 24 miles each side of P.M.
This 24 mile square is a Quadrangle and contains
16 Townships
Townships


Township lines are E-W lines 6 miles apart
north or south of the baseline.
Range lines are N-S lines 6 miles apart east or
west of the principal meridian.
This 6 mile square is called the Township

Townships are divided into 36 – 1 mile square
sections.

Numbering system called boustrophedonically
Error Corrections

Correction Lines (Standards of Parallel)


Each acts as a new Baseline for townships to the North.
Due to the convergence of meridians, compensation is
needed.
B.L.M. Rules
1.
2.
3.
Boundaries of the public lands, when approved &
accepted are unchangeable.
Original townships, section, and ¼ section corners
must stand as the true corners which they were
intended to represent whether in the place shown
by field notes or not.
¼, ¼ section corners not established in original
surveys shall be placed on line connecting section
& ¼ corner & midway between, except in the
north and west ½ mile of townships & fractional
sections.
B.L.M. Rules
4.
5.
Center lines of a section are to be straight, running
from ¼ corner to ¼ corner with center of section at
the intersection.
In a fractional section where no opposite
corresponding ¼ corner has been or can be
established, the center line must be run from
proper ¼ corner as nearly cardinal as parallelism
with sectional boundaries allow.
Principles of Process
1.
2.
3.
Original surveys create boundaries. They must be
considered in any conveyance made for the purpose of
identifying land on the ground prior to or as a
consideration of a conveyance.
Resurveys of original surveys are for the purpose of
relocating the original surveyor’s lines in the same
position as they were originally marked and thus they can
only be conducted by the entity that created the original
boundaries.
A subsequent surveyor who follows after the original
surveyor, except one who may be in privity with the
original surveyor, only conducts a retracement, and such it
is open to collateral attack.
Principles of Process
4.
5.
Original surveys which divide land are or may be
regulated by statute or other legislative action, but once
conveyance is made according to the land division, the
location of the land parcels described is to be interpreted
by the courts.
The boundary surveyor has no judicial authority when
resurveying or retracing boundaries for clients. The force
of the property surveyor’s authority is derived from
reputation and respect. Judicial authority can only be
granted by and through the courts.
Principles of Process
6.
The surveyor must uncover sufficient facts about the
property being retraced: in this sense the surveyor
becomes a fact finder. The surveyor must then reach
conclusions from the facts; it is the quality of these
conclusions that is the mark of a professional.
Principles of Process
As a minimum, a boundary surveyor who decides to make
a survey or a retracement from a written conveyance
assumes the responsibility of obtaining copies of:
7.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Necessary adjoiner conveyances called for in the legal
description furnished.
All maps called for.
Pertinent recorded adjoining surveys.
Public agency maps that are available.
In GLO states, government township plats and field notes.
Principles of Process
8.
9.
The final decision of which documents should be used to
locate a parcel should be made by the surveyor.
The boundary surveyor does not decide who owns land or
rights in land. The surveyor’s responsibility is only to
locate land boundaries and, except for special agreements
with respect to unwritten rights, only to locate land in
accordance with written documents.
Principles of Process
10.
11.
Surveyors should never agree to locate all existing
easements relating to or affecting property; the surveyor
should merely agree to locate those easements in
accordance with furnished descriptions and those that are
visible or of public record.
In a description, no one corner, whether monumented or
not, is superior to any other corner. Each has equal survey
and legal weight in retracing a description.
Principles of Process
13.
14.
The surveyor should hunt and search in the field until the
best available evidence is found on which to base the
boundary retracement survey.
Time should not be a consideration.
Possession may memorialize original survey lines and as
such may be the best or worst evidence of original lines.
Principles of Process
12.
Except where a senior right is interfered with, record or
legal monuments, if called for in a conveyance and if
found undisturbed, indicate the true intent of original
parties and as such control.
If called for, monuments that cannot be found or if
they are found disturbed, their former position may
be identified by competent witness testimony or
acceptable physical indicators of boundaries.
Principles of Process
15.
16.
An original monument found undisturbed usually
expresses the intent of the parties of the conveyance, fixes
the point as between the parties, and as such has no error
in position. All restored monuments established by
measurement have some error in position.
The magnitude of permissible uncertainty of
measurements is always determined by a courts
interpretation.
Principles of Process
17.
18.
The error of measurement originally permitted when tying
original monuments together is independent of the
accuracy required to reestablish an original lost monument
position.
In the absence of the owner specifying an unusually high
precision coupled with an accurate survey, it’s presumed
that the surveyor will work to that precision consistent
with the purpose for which it will be used or the standards
of the profession in that locality.
Principles of Process
19.
20.
Every property survey should result in the preparation and
delivery of a report or plat, whether or not it’s to be
recorded.
The surveyor should conduct each survey as if it will
ultimately be presented in court.
Fact Finding

There are 4 areas of fact finding:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Facts furnished by clients
Searching pertinent written records and public records
– deeds, adjoining descriptions, maps and old field
books.
Fieldwork – searching for monuments, locating
possession and making measurements.
Seeking testimony and information from old residents
and other surveyors.
Field Notes
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Items to include in field notes:
Date, name, and address of client.
Names of party personnel, position, and duties.
Weather conditions and observed temperature.
Equipment used (with serial numbers)
North arrow with origin of bearing.
Description of monuments called for, found, not
found and set.
Measurements actually made.
Corrected distances and angles.
Field Notes
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
Description of monuments set and ties taken to
features.
Relation of possession to survey lines.
Outline of parcel surveyed (highlighted in pencil).
Sketch of parcel staked, showing important
features.
Oaths of witness evidence (if applicable).
Names and addresses of adjoiners, old residents.
Reference to any records relied on or called for.
UNITS OF MEASUREMENT

Cubit = 18.92”







Span = 1/2 cubit
Palm = 1/6 cubit
Digit = 1/24 cubit
Foot = 2/3 cubit, about 12.16”
Inch
Perch = 16.50’
Chain = 66’
UNITS OF MEASUREMENT

Arpent = 192.50’

1 sq. arpent = .8507 Ac


Exceptions: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and NW
Florida - 1 sq. arpent = .84625 Ac.
Vera = 2.7778’

36 veras = 100.00’

Exceptions: Florida, Mexico, California, Texas
LAND SURVEYING
DEVELOPEMENT
Started in Egypt 1400 BC to relocate property for
tax purposes long the Nile River.
2. Babylonians – divided circle into 360°
3. Greeks – developed diopta
4. Romans – refined surveying
1.
Romans Influence on Surveying






Corpus Agrimensorum
Agrimensors
Groma
Centuria
Organized training for surveyors
Julius Caesar – founder of surveying
profession due to its wide use in military
and colonization.
Formal Surveying Instructions

Main lines run N-S or
E-W

Methods of
determining North
Merkhet
Early Surveying in U.S.

Early settlements in colonies was by grants and
patents.




Descriptions often ambiguous and far reaching.
Prior to revolutionary war most land was in private hands
or direct possession of the colony.
At end of war all lands owned by England went to
respective colony without description.
Many of the early surveys consisted of running 2 line on
the ground with 3 corners witnessed.
COLONIAL SURVEYS

VIRGINIA

ORIGINAL LAND GRANT WAS 400 MILES WIDE CENTERED
ON OLD POINT COMFORT FROM SEA TO SEA.
AFTER REVOLUTIONARY WAR 400 AC. TRACTS WERE GIVEN
AS PAYMENT TO SOLDIERS.
EARLY SURVEYS WERE POOR, RUN WITH COMPASS AND
HAD POOR BOUNDARY MARKERS.


CAROLINAS & GEORGIA


SURVEYS WERE POOR OR DID NOT EXIST.
CAROLINAS WERE THE FIRST PLACE TO CALL FOR 640 AC.
TRACTS.

BETWEEN 1693-1729: NO SURVEYOR ALLOWED TO SURVEY
MORE THAN 640 AC. INTO ONE TRACT.
CONNECTICUT:



MUCH OF EARLY SETTLEMENT LANDS TAKEN FROM INDIANS.
EARLY SURVEY SYSTEM ONE OF THE POOREST WITH RESPECT TO
RETRACEMENT.
A SYSTEM OF NON-CONNECTED METES & BOUNDS PARCELS AND
POSSESSION LINE CLAIMS.
DELAWARE: POOR SURVEYS
MASSACHUSETTS:
DEVELOPED BY MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONIES.
ORGANIZED THE LAND INTO GRANTS TO PROMOTE THE
DEVELOPMENT OF TOWNS.
ADDITIONAL GRANTS OF “TOWNSHIPS” – 6 TO 8 MILES
SQUARE.
IN WHAT IS NOW VERMONT, MUCH OF THE TOWNSHIPS
WERE DIVIDED INTO 64 – 360 AC. TRACTS
NEW HAMPSHIRE:
EARLY TITLES VERY HARD TO RETRACE.
1870: HITCHCOCK MADE A SURVEY OF ENTIRE STATE
- SURVEY IS ONLY FAIR IN ACCURACY, BUT USABLE.
NEW YORK: ( 1883 RESURVEY)
MANY DIFFERENT SYSTEMS EXIST, MANY DUE TO PURCHASES
MACOMB PURCHASE: IRREGULAR TRACT OF 3.6+ MILLION AC ALONG
THE EAST END OF LAKE ONTARIO.
BASED UPON A VERY BROAD & GENERAL DESCRIPTION
NO FIELD NOTES EXIST, ONLY A BASIC MAP
HOLLAND PURCHASE: IN WESTERN NEW YORK, TIED TO THE NORTH
LINE OF PENNSYLVANIA.
LINES RUN NORTH DIVIDING LAND INTO 6 MILE SQUARE
“TOWNSHIPS”, THEN DIVIDED INTO 64 LOTS.
SURVEYS MADE BY JOSEPH ELLICOTT STARTING IN 1797.
LANDS IN CENTRAL NEW YORK USED FOR MILITARY GRATUITY &
DIVIDED INTO 10 MILE SQUARE TRACTS AND THEN INTO 1 MILE SQ.
MARYLAND:
ORIGINAL SURVEYS POOR
COMMISSIONER OF THE LAND OFFICE DEVELOPED RULES
RELATIVE TO SURVEYS OF ORIGINAL LINES, MUST BE
FOLLOWED.
BOUNDARY DISPUTE WITH PENNSYLVANIA – NORTH LINE.
PENNSYLVANIA:
FAMOUS BOUNDARY LINE DUE TO DISPUTE WITH MARYLAND.
OVER THE SOUTH BOUNDARY.
MASON – DIXON LINE: 39TH PARALLEL – CHARLES MASON &
JEREMIAH DIXON ( ROYAL GEOGRAPHERS)
SURVEYED FROM 1763 – 1767: 244 MILES MONUMENTED
ONLY 2” ERROR IN LATITUDE
EARLY TRACTS POORLY SURVEYED AND IRREGULAR
STATE SURVEYED ALL LANDS PATENTED SINCE 1779 & HAVE
GOOD RECORDS.
3 Rules Established Governing
Relocation in Pennsylvania
1.
2.
3.
Marks or monuments (natural or artificial) on ground are the best
evidence of true location.
Calls for adjoining tracts of land as boundaries are the next best
evidence.
Courses and distances as shown on draft of deputy surveyor are the
next best evidence, with distance being the weakest.
Most retracement processes follow the “Journal of the
Engineers Society of Pennsylvania”
ESTABLISHED BY STATE COURTS
TEXAS:
A SEPARATE NATION FOR A PERIOD OF TIME & UPON BECOMING
A STATE IT RETAINED ALL RIGHTS TO PUBLIC LANDS.
MANY LAND GRANTS EXISTED FROM SPAIN & MEXICO
- GRANTS HAD REQUIRED LAND TO BE SURVEYED IN A RECTANGULAR
FORMAT, BUT MANY WERE NEVER RUN IN THE FIELD.
AFTER 1879, IT WAS REQUIRED THAT ALL FIELD NOTES
INCLUDE CERTIFICATION THAT SURVEY WAS RUN.
KENTUCKY & TENNESSEE:
ORIGINALLY PART OF VIRGINIA & CAROLINAS
FIRST TOWN CALLED BOONESBOROUGH (DANIAL BOONE)
1776 – KENTUCKY BECAME COUNTY OF VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA DID NOT CEDE TO U.S. CLAIMING LAND WAS NEEDED FOR
REVOLUTIONARY WAR VETS.
VET. LAND GRANTS HAD POOR DESCRIPTIONS, ALSO GRANTS GIVEN TO
SETTLERS & LAND SPECULATORS – CAUSED MANY LAND DISPUTES
TENNESSEE HAD SIMILAR PRACTICES AND MUCH THROUGH
OCCUPATION
HAWAII:
WAS A SOVERIGN POWER OF ITS OWN AND MOST LAND WAS
GIVEN IN THE FORM OF GRANTS PRIOR TO BECOMING A U.S.
TERRITORY.
OF ALL COLONIAL AREAS, NEW ENGLAND
CAME CLOSEST TO DEVELOPING STANDARD
METHODS OF SURVEYING & LAND GRANTS
U.S. PUBLIC LAND SYSTEM
IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE SURVEYOR DOING
RETRACEMENT TO KNOW & UNDERSTAND THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE USPLSS TO ALLOW THEM TO
“FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS”.
U.S. CONGRESS RESOLUTIONS:
SEPT., 1780 – COLONIAL STATES ASKED TO CEDE WESTERN
HOLDINGS TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
OCT., 1780 – RECOMMENDATION THAT CEDED TERRITORY BE FORMED
INTO STATES
NOV., 1780 – RECOMMENDATION THAT CEDED LAND BE OPENED FOR
SETTLEMENT & FORMED INTO STATES WITH NO STATE EXCEEDING
130 SQUARE MILES.
- LAND SHOULD BE LAID OUT IN 6 MILE SQUARE TOWNSHIPS
U.S. WAS IN DESPERATE NEED OF FUNDS AND HAD AN
ABUNDANCE OF LAND.
- RAISE MONEY AND ENCOURAGE SETTLEMENT TO PROTECT
HOLDING FROM BRITISH AND AMERICAN INDIANS.
CONGRESSIONAL AGREEMENT TO DIVIDE THE NORTHWEST
TERRITORY INTO NO MORE THAN 5 STATES – OHIO, INDIANA,
ILLINOIS, MICHIGAN & WISCONSIN.
1784: THOMAS JEFFERSON HEADED COMMITTEE TO DEVELOP
PLANS FOR USPLSS & IS GENERALLY CREDITED FOR IT.
- RUFUS PUTNAM PROVIDED MUCH IMPORTANT IMPUT.
- ORIGINAL PROPOSAL TO DIVIDE LAND INTO SQUARES
BASED UPON THE NAUTICAL MILE.
- SECOND PROPOSAL TO DEVELOP INTO TOWNSHIPS 7 MILES
SQUARE WITH 49 – 640 AC. TRACTS
An Ordinance for Ascertaining the Mode
of Locating & Disposing of Lands in the
Western Territory. May 20, 1785
1.
2.
Position of Geographer of United States
established to direct surveys.
Land divided into townships 6 mi. square by lines
run due N-S and other lines crossing at right
angles. No allowance for convergence. Originally
N-S lines were true meridians, after May 1786,
they were allowed to run on magnetic meridians.
Ordinance of 1785
3.
4.
5.
First line to be N-S starting at Ohio River at a
point due north from the west end of the south
boundary of Penn. (Ellicott’s P.M.) and the E-W
line starts at the same point and runs west across
territory (Geographer’s line).
Townships and fractions to be numbered from
south to north always starting with number 1 at the
Ohio River.
Ranges to be numbered westward from the P.M.
Ordinance of 1785
6.
7.
Townships to be divided into 36 lots one mile
square. Numbered 1 @ SE Cor. and progressing
south to north.
External boundaries of township marked every
mile. Lots not surveyed in field.
1.
2.
No specifications as to equipment, accuracy or
procedures.
2 areas of Ohio surveyed under this ordinance
1.
2.
3.
Seven Ranges (eastern Ohio) 1785-1789
Western Ohio 1802
No other rectangular surveys between 1789-1796 and
as a result six types of survey methods exist in Ohio
and parts not on PLSS.
Ordinance of 1788
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Provided that township lines be exactly shown on
a plat.
Must include all mines, salt licks, mill seats,
watercourses, mountains and other important items
to be noted.
Quality of the land was also to be noted.
Did not change process, but made record keeping
requirements more specific.
Plats and field notes required to be submitted.
Land Act of May 18, 1796
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
5 Major Provisions
Surveyor General replaced Geographer of the U.S. (he
was to employ deputy surveyors to survey the lands)
Lands to be divided into townships six miles square with
line run due north/south and others crossing at right angles
with no allowance for convergence.
Alternate section lines were to be run in alternate
townships. Thus monuments now exist around a 2 mile
square tract with monuments set every mile along these
lines. Every other township still not subdivided.
Sections numbered as today (boustrophedonically).
Records and plats are to be submitted.
Land Act of June 1, 1796
Provided for special 5 mile square townships
with monuments set at 2 ½ mile intervals:
used in 1.
U.S. Military District
2.
Connecticut Western Reserve
3.
Society of United Brethren
all in Ohio
Land Act of March 1, 1800
Corners regularly set by original government
surveyors in the field are to be held as the true
corners even if later surveys show they had been
placed incorrectly, all other provisions remain the
same.
Land Act of May 10, 1800
All discrepancies due to convergence and errors would
be placed in the north and west tier of sections in a
township.
 All section lines to be run in the field.
 Monuments to be set every ½ mile on the north and
south sides of the section, no provision for ¼ corners
on the east and west side.
Land Act of March 3, 1803
Provided for disposal of lands south of Tennessee;
provided for the appointment of a “SURVEYOR”
(with the same powers as Surveyor General) for the
area northwest of the Ohio River.
Land Act of February 11, 1805
Last of the important amendments of Public Land
Survey System and related to Illinois, Indiana, and
other states surveyed later.
1.
Provided for completion of townships (alternate
sections in alternate townships) from Act of 1796.
2.
Provided for subdivision of ½ sections purchased
prior to July 1804 to be surveyed and marked.
Public Land system by 1814
(Review)
Land Divided into townships 6mi2 by running lines due
north and south and due east and west with no allowance
for convergence
1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
Magnetic 1786-1796, astronomic thereafter
Townships divided into 36 parcels, after that sections.
Numbering process of townships and ranges established
Lines monumented every ½ mile
All discrepancies due to convergence and error in N & W
tier of section
Public Land system by 1814
(Review)
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Corners set as original are held as true corners, even if
found wrong later.
Sections to be divided into quarter sections using straight
lines between ¼ corners
Record of survey kept in field book and plat – must be
turned in
Variations permitted from established system allowed
when necessary
Survey procedures not specified; only equipment specified
by act was chain; accuracy not prescribed.
General Instructions to Deputy
Surveyors
Jared Mansfield (1804) 2nd Surveyor General
1.
Instruments:
1.
2.
2.
3.
Ritenhouse Compass
2 pole chain of 50 links (must be standardized at Surveyor
Generals office)
When prevented from measuring a course, distance is to
be obtained by trigonometry or by traverse until true line
is returned to.
Course of all navigable rivers which bound or pass
through the area must be surveyed, width to be determined
in several places and tie all points that cross section lines.
General Instructions to Deputy
Surveyors
4.
5.
Township and section lines to be run as per Land Acts
with all tree hits having 2 notches on each side and all or
most of the trees on each side near the line being marked
with 2 spots or blazes diagonally (quartering toward the
line).
Posts erected every ½ mile and mile, if tree exists at the
corner it may be used; post to be at least 3” dia. and rise at
least 3’ above the ground; all mile posts to have notches
cut on 2 sides as distance from the starting point (N & W
side); township posts have 6 notches on each side; post to
be perpetuated by 2+ bearing trees (blazed facing the post
with notch in blaze, tree near post mark with section number, above
it T with township number, above it R with range number, ¼ section
corners marked with 1/2/S).
General Instructions to Deputy
Surveyors
6.
7.
Carefully mark in field book all courses and distances,
names and diameter of all corner and bearing trees and
trees that fall on line (station or line trees); course and
distance for bearing trees; all rivers, creeks, and springs;
face of country (terrain) with note as to any special
features; note any permanent features over which line
passes; soil quality, location of all mines, salt licks, salt
springs, and mill seats.
All distances are to be level and horizontal.
General Instructions to Deputy
Surveyors
8.
9.
Lines measured with 2 perch chain, distances recorded in
4 perch chains; courses and distances placed in left margin
of field book with remarks noted to the right; date to be on
the close of each days work; notes along with plats to be
submitted to Surveyor General.
Plat of each township to be neatly prepared on durable
paper at a scale of 2”=1 mile; plat must show magnetic
meridian and variance; exterior lines of plat must show
courses and lengths.
Tiffinn’s Instructions:
Edward Tiffin – Surveyor General 1815
These are instructions to Deputy Surveyors for
Subdividing Townships.
1.
When township exterior is complete, begin laying
out sections at the SE corner of township, proceed
East to West and South to North with excess or
deficit falling in the North and West side of the
township.
Tiffinn’s Instructions:
2.
3.
4.
Sections to be one mile with ¼ corners set at the ½ mile, if
closing a section and distance caries from 80 chains, the
distance is to be split, on North and West side of township,
establish ¼ corner at ½ mile and measure remainder, if
you do not hit township corner, set post at intersection of
township line and measure distance to existing corner and
note it.
Sections must be made to close by running random line on
north side and ¼ corner to be set by offset.
Fractional townships along rivers, the sections are laid out
normally and remainder (fractional sections) are to be
carefully measured.
Tiffinn’s Instructions:
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
North-South lines to be run by true meridian and EastWest lines to be at right angles to these.
Greatest error is in chaining, keep attention to chainmen to
ensure they chain horizontally and do not lose talley, using
only the provided number of pointed talley pins.
When section lines cross rivers, obtain direction of course
and distance to last corner.
In the field you must check chain against one standardized
at Standard Chain in the Surveyor General’s office.
All lines (regular or random) are to be noted at time of
running along with amounts of any variance.
Tiffinn’s Instructions:
10.
11.
12.
13.
All courses to be measured with compass corrected for
variation.
No lines to be run by anyone other than the deputy
surveyor, those under immediate supervision of deputy
surveyor or authorized by GLO.
Deviation from rules will cause forfeiture of contract.
Take care that posts are well set and a minimum of 1-2
sight trees are marked every ½ mile.
General Instructions for Deputies
1.
2.
3.
Good Rittenhouse Compass with nonius divisions and
moveable sights and a 2 pole chain of 50 links both
standardized at GLO.
When obstructed, continue by offset or traverse to
continue line.
Courses of all navigable rivers must be accurately
surveyed and width taken at points of intersect with
township or section lines; distance from intersect to
section corners to be noted; make note of all streams that
cross lines taking width and course.
General Instructions for Deputies
4.
5.
Lines to be run and marked according to Acts; all trees cut
by the line must have two notches on each side and all or
most trees near line must be marked with 2 spots or blazes
diagonally toward the line.
Post to be established at mile and ½ mile (tree may
substitute); township corners have 6 notches; all section
corners to have notches on 2 sides at distance from
beginning point; ¼ corner posts to have no notches; post
to be a minimum of 3” diameter and extend a minimum of
3’ above ground; 2 bearing trees to be established; section
corner bearing trees to have R#, T#, S#; at ¼ corners
bearing trees must have ¼ S.
General Instructions for Deputies
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Note course & distance, diameter, name of all bearing
trees; note all rivers, creeks, springs, and streams
including width and course as they cross lines; note terrain
(mountainous, timber type, swamps, ponds, stone
quarries, coal beds, peat, other common features (special
note of mines, salt licks, salt springs and mill seats).
All measurements to be horizontal.
Measure with 2 perch chain and record in 4 perch.
Course and distance at left margin of field book and
description on right; date each close of days work.
Plat for each township at 2”=1 mile with magnetic
variance.
Land Act of February 22, 1817

This provided that sections 2, 5, 20, 23, 30, 33 in all
townships could be sold as ¼ sections (160 acres) or
½ ¼ sections (80 acres); division of ¼ section made
by line running North - South
Land Act of April 24, 1820

All sections in all townships can be broken into ½ ¼
sections with division north-south; only exception
being fractional sections of less than 160 acres must
be sold entire; remainder covers land sale
requirements (land @ $1.25/Ac min.)
Land Act of May 24, 1824

Allows president to depart from ordinary methods of
surveying along rivers, lakes, bayou or watercourse;
must be in publics best interest; can cause land to be
surveyed into 2 acre wide tracts (Water front) and
running back a depth of 40 acres (417.42’ x
8348.41’); must be sold entire.
General Instructions of 1833
Describes Principal Meridian starting points:
1st-Ludlow’s, north from the mouth of the Great
Miami River
2nd-Mansfield’s, north through the center of Indiana
3rd-Gallatin’s, north from the mouth of the Ohio
through Illinois (confluence of Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers)
4th-North from the mouth of the Illinois river through
Illinois and Wisconsin territory
Provided Contract Requirements
Surveying Instruments:
1.
Compass with Nonius and movable sight
2.
Surveyors chain-33’ with 50 links standardized and
handles iron or brass at least ¼ inch diameter.
3.
Standard chain-used to compare field chain every
other day.
4.
Talley Rods-iron, 12” long with ring and red cloth,
set of 11 required.
5.
Needle variance due to mineral deposits, but often
carelessness.
Variations of Compass



Explains line of no variation & declination of needle
to line (at time line of no variance ran through
western Pennsylvania and New York).
To locate Polaris when it is at elongation, the star
Alioth (part of big dipper), Polaris and Gamma
(Cassiopeia) form a horizontal line, when these stars
form a vertical line Polaris is on the Meridian.
When Polaris is on the Meridian or at elongation,
the variance can most easily be computed, however
at elongation is best because of longer observation
time due to Polaris movement being vertical.
Running & Marking Lines
1.
2.
3.
4.
Lines run by true meridian (compass adjusted for
variance).
Lines marked – 2 notches on each side of station trees,
line trees, or sight trees; all trees within 10-15 links (6.6’9.9’) marked with 2 spots or blazes, diagonally or
quartering toward the line.
If course is obstructed, take offsets or traverse or trig to
pass obstacle.
No lines run by anyone except Deputy Surveyor
authorized by Surveyor General, no marks made by other
than Deputy Surveyor or those under immediate direction
& in presence.
Exterior Township Lines
1.
2.
Celestial observations to determine variance is made at
least every 12 miles on east-west lines and at the end of
18-24 miles on north-south lines.
Method: Township line (baseline) established due eastwest across south boundary of tract to be surveyed;
monumented every ½ mile; from township corners run &
monumented range lines, establishing temporary township
corner at six miles; at the far corner establish a post and
run line east-west; township corners established at
intersection points by running line due east or west to
close; corner will be the intersection with distance to
temporary post measured.
Exterior Township Lines
3.
4.
5.
Surveyor must prepare a map or diagram of lines
to a scale of 4 miles = 1 inch.
All measurements to be horizontal.
Monuments other than standard post: Mound – 2½’
high with 4’ base with angles in direction of
cardinal points with stone of 3-4 lbs in center of a
few handfuls of charcoal, mound often covered
with sod.
Subdivision of Township

The east tier of sections run, then return to
south line and run next tier with east tier run
until the last west tier.
General Instructions to Deputy
Surveyors in Illinois & Missouri (1834)
Monuments
1.








Post: Standard but 2’ in ground
Stone: 7”-8” deep, 12” wide, 14” long and 3” thick.
Township corner 5” diameter & section corner 4” diameter.
Must be squared off at top.
Place stones so corners correspond to cardinal directions
Mound: place at least 2 quarts of charcoal at least 3” below
surface over which mound is placed.
Township corner mounds: 3’ high, 5’ square at base and 2’ square
at top.
3 stones (at least 5” square and 3” thick) in top of upper stone at
least 3” below surface.
General Instructions of 1843

Required that section corners on west side of
township be run and corrected thus eliminating
double corners on the west side of township,
but double corners still exist on the north side
of the township.
General Instructions of 1846

Section corners on both west and north side of
a township were to close on existing corners.

Required baselines, meridians, correction and
township lines to be run with instrument which
operates independently of the magnetic needle.
General Instructions of 1846
(Wisconsin and Iowa)

Section corners on both west and north side of
a township were to close on existing corners.

Required baselines, meridians, corrections and
township lines be run with instrument which
operates independently of the magnetic needle.
General Instructions of 1850

Breakdown of a township: run an east-west
line between sections 13 & 24 (through center
of township) and monument, run east tier of
south ½ then east mile of north ½; proceed
west one tier at a time.
Manual of Instructions of 1855




When needle variations are noticed, Burt’s improved
solar compass (invented 1836) or equivalent must be
used.
First “Official” manual.
Provided for Standard Parallels: every 4 townships
(24 miles) north of baseline and every 5 townships
(30 miles) south of baseline (5 townships not in later
manuals, all at 4 townships).
Talley pins (11 in set) up to 14” in length &
weighted to drop vertically.
Manual of 1881


Initial point located astronomically.
Baseline direction to be tested every 12 miles.
Manual of 1890

Prohibited use of magnetic needle on major
lines, can be used only for subdividing
township and meander lines if local attraction
does not exist.
Manual of 1894

All surveys independent of needle.
Manual of 1902

Initial points to be in conspicuous locations &
perpetuated by indestructible monuments.
Manual of 1930

Error of closure requirement introduced:
distance to close within 12.5 links/mile &
latitude / departure to be 1/452 overall.
Manual of 1947








Corners to be set when meridian established every 40
chains.
Require 2 sets of measurements (double chain) & must
agree within 14 links/80 chains.
Defines a river as 3 chains wide and over as navigable.
Line trees to be within 50 links of the line.
Requires monuments to be standard iron post 30” long, 2”
diameter with brass tablet.
4 bearing trees (one in each section) (if no trees, mounds or
stones).
Instruments: solar transit & steel tape (2-8 chains).
Distances reduced to horizontal and mean sea level.
Manual of 1973


Permits use of electronic measurement.
Requires greater accuracy (overall closure 1/905).
Ordinance of 1787

1st idea: Boundaries of new states consist of 2°
of latitude with disregard for natural
boundaries.

Changed: Divide N.W. Territory into no more
than 5 or less than 3 states.

Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin
Beginning of Surveys of Public
Domain




Started in area of eastern Ohio – 7 ranges
(2500 square miles).
Ohio has as many as 20 different methods of
surveying.
West boundary of Pennsylvania is the initial
reference line with E-W line extended west from
Ohio River due north of the SW corner of
Pennsylvania.
Consists of 6 miles square township with lines in
cardinal directions.
Beginning of Surveys of Public
Domain


To be done by 13 surveyors (1 from each state).
Started in 1784 – extended Mason-Dixon line 24
miles to the SW corner of Pennsylvania.


Then north 63 miles to the Ohio River.
Actual Survey of 7 Ranges started September 1785.


When completed (42 miles) an error of 1500’ S.
occurred.
Large amount of error due to trying to run true meridian,
after that it was done using magnetic compass.
Ohio Territory


The territory was divided into no fewer than 19
grants to states, veterans, religious or other groups.
Boundaries surveyed by Rufus Putnam, but interior
done by owners.


Connecticut Reserve – surveyed into squares 5 miles on
each side (3.5 million acres).
Virginia Veterans – 4 million acres – surveyed by metes
and bounds.


Best land went to 1st claimants, later ones had to fit into their
tracts.
Many were odd shapes with some having well over 100 sides.
Beginning Surveys in Indiana



1st settled by French in 1671, Vincennes 1690, Ft.
Wayne 1772.
Vincennes – on Wabash River
Early French grants had poor descriptions.


Most were 2-4 arpents wide x 40 arpents deep containing
66-132 acres.
1778 – area captured by George Rogers Clark
(surveyor) and later ceded by Virginia.


150,000 acres were held by congress for Clark and his
men.
Clark’s Grant.
Beginning Surveys in Indiana



1st town surveyed in Indiana – Clarkville 1783
Indiana Territory formed July, 1800.
1802 Gov. Harrison ordered survey of Vincennes
Tract.

Thomas Freeman ordered to survey exterior boundary .


Done in 1803 with notes returned to Jared Mansfield.
Ebenezer Buckingham, Jr. – hired by Mansfield to survey
control for Vincennes Tract.
Beginning Surveys in Indiana

Section 13 of Land Act 1804 – land once surveyed is
to be divided into survey districts with a district
surveyor for each.


1805 – William Rector – began survey of baseline to
control area south of Vincennes Tract.


To be subdivided into sections, ½ sections and ¼
sections.
Baseline was 24 miles south of Buckingham line.
Mansfield was aware of problem of convergence in
1804 and recommended correction lines placed at 6,
12, 18, or 24 mile intervals.
Beginning Surveys in Indiana

Survey of Land North of Vincennes Tract:
O’clock – One O’clock Line.



Ten
West line of tract was to be distance a man could ride in
2½ days.
Indians did not trust compass and used split of shaft
shadow between 10 and 1.
Original Survey of West line of Indiana surveyed in
1824, John McDonald.


POB on Wabash River, 46 miles due N. of Vincennes.
Reached Lake Michigan at 159 miles, 44 chains.
Surveys in Illinois




No part of the public lands in Illinois were surveyed in full
compliance with land acts.
Surveyor Generals interpreted land acts, deputy surveyors
also allowed leeway in following instructions.
Cases exist where up to 4 methods of subdividing sections
were used with in a township.
Early section corners monumented with posts.


Areas which lack trees-mounds erected with charcoal under.
Many corners found today perpetuated by stones set by
district or county surveyors.
Surveys in Illinois

1st settlers:


French – 1674 (Starved Rock); 1690 (Cohokia); 1969
(Chicago).
Fall of 1805 due to treaty with Indians, Rector ordered to
extend system of Indiana and Illinois.



Began survey of auxiliary baseline (36 miles S.) on Oct. 11,
1805.
Reached Mississippi River Oct. 24 at 103 miles, 29.5 ch.
December 28, 1805 – Rector began Gallatin Meridian (3rd)
from a post at confluence of Ohio and Mississippi.
Surveys in Illinois


Rector then began surveying the land along the
south boundary of Section 31, Township 6S, Range
1E of the 3rd PM.
The Rector brothers caused Collision Zone (3rd and
2nd meet).

Surveying from West to East between Saline and Wabash
Rivers.


R11E, 3rd from T5S to T31N.
Rector has a contract to survey all of the area south of
auxiliary Baseline.
Surveys in Illinois

Section6, Act 1810; approved location and survey of
town on the Ohio.


1812; Josiah Meigs replaced Mansfield as Surveyor
General.


Shawneetown, began January of 1811 by William
Dobbins
Gave William and Nelson Rector contracts to survey 47
townships in southern Illinois.
1814; Nelson Rector was attacked and almost killed
by Indians near Norris City, IL.
Work to William Rector
1805-1823
Surveys in Illinois


October 1814 – Edward Tiffin, surveyor General
February 1815 – Jacob May and Robert Cook set true
Cardinal Point.


March 1815 – Tiffin ordered to have 6 million acres of
military land surveyed.


Recovered 1973 by L.E. Chapter
2 million each Michigan, Missouri, and Illinois.
4th PM ordered to be run.




Area in Illinois to be between Illinois and Mississippi Rivers with
beginning point to be confluence.
3 Surveyors (Enoch Moore, J. Milton Moore, and John Messinger).
Found line crossed to E. side of Illinois River and out of area
governed.
Extended line north until Illinois River crossed and established
Cardinal Point, Baseline, and Meridian.
Surveys in Illinois

April 1816 – William Rector “Surveyor of Public Lands in
Territories of Illinois and Missouri.”



Had same authority as Surveyor General
¼ lines to be run parallel to sides between which they run.
Between 1805 and 1813 received contracts for:



From 1816-1823 issued 713 Township contracts


Auxiliary baseline; 3rd PM to aux. baseline; area south of aux. baseline;
private claims in Kaskaskia District; and 34 additional townships.
Much of this work was subcontracted, which was made illegal.
213 of these to 5 relatives.
Removed from office in 1824, no one has been given this level of
authority again until 1839.
Surveys in Illinois

1817 – 4th PM extended N. to T14 & 15N with standard
lines run



1821 – 3rd PM extended to Illinois River
1822 – Standard Parallels established to T31N


Southern ones at irregular intervals with those in north at normal
24 mile intervals.
PM, Baseline, & Standard lines generally not run with any
more care than other lines



Area south of baseline never monumented or marked on ground.
Variations in compass or closing generally corrected every 6 miles.
Many problems existed in direction.
Evidence of instructions in contracts.

1826-contract contains instructions allowing use of stones.
Surveys in Illinois

1837 – discovered that standard chain (S.G. office)
was 2” long.

Correction of 0.004386’/chain/year for areas 1837-1797
or 0.350880’/mile


4.91’/mile in 1811
9.82’/mile in 1825
Last Gov. Contract in Illinois to Alexander Walcott
T37N, R14E 3rd December of 1877 (Resurvey)

Most had been completed by 1855-1856
USPLSS Relevant to Missouri


Arkansas and Missouri are the only states west of the
Mississippi River that were surveyed based on Tiffin’s
instructions
1815 – 5th PM surveyed from mouth of Arkansas river to the
Missouri River (317 miles, 35.76 chains) – was later
continued to the Mississippi River


Baseline surveyed west from the mouth of the St. Francis River
with the Mississippi River west to the Arkansas River in 1815, line
was continued west to Range 19W in 1818 and finally reaches the
West line of Missouri in 1841.
Initial point of the 5th PM is 57 miles, 60.5 chains north
from mouth of Arkansas River and 26 miles, 30 chains west
of mouth of St. Francis River.

Position of both river mouths has since changes westward


Arkansas River site is not Beulah Lake
St. Francis mouth has moved approx. 1 mile south.

Township 21 N, Range 28 W, 5th PM is very unusual.



It contains 54 sections and 12 fractional sections
Arkansas portion surveyed N from standard section, Missouri
surveyed S from standard section
Overall, a difference of more than 3 miles exists
USPLSS Relevant to Missouri
(con’t)

5th PM established on W. side of Mississippi River
to avoid having to connect survey systems across
Mississippi River

In areas where 5th PM would cross river, (T53N) surveys
were laid out from Guide Meridian



Generally 4th and 5th PM are only about 25 miles apart
Generally Guide Meridian governs surveys of the area of
Missouri north of Mississippi River
Guide Meridian
Procedure of Legal Survey
Obtain legal description of property abstract
Courthouse
1.
2.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Original government survey
Past surveys of area and adjoining
Deeds of adjoining
Monument record
Misc. record and ROW records
Co. Tax Assessor
Co. Highway Comm.
Other sources – if adjoining R.R. or power lines – see them
Obtain Photos – map library
Analyze data, plan field work, and talk to property owners
Monument search
Do prelim field work
Calc and analyze field data
Set final points
Prepare final plat and legal description
Monument Search
Obtain all available information
1.
1.
2.
3.
Compile info and determine place to look
Field search
2.
3.
a.
b.
c.
4.
5.
Aerial photos
Past surveys, field notes
ROW maps
Metal detectors
Probe
Watch for clues – old fence lines, tree lines, etc.
Talk with elderly in the area
Based on what is found, determine what is to be tied
Proportionate Measurement



When comparing original vs. current measurements it is assumed that
differences occurred in all parts of the line, unless the contrary can be
proven beyond a reasonable doubt
Principle of Proportionate Measurement: new values given to several
parts (by re-measurement) shall bear the same relationship to the
record lengths as the new measurements of the whole line bear to that
record.
Government monuments were set by two methods:
Single line – township lines and ¼ corners
 Checkerboard fashion with cross ties – section and township corners
Single Proportionate Measurement – applied to a new measurement made on
a line to determine one or more positions on that line






Single line corners
Adjusting new survey to be in proportionate agreement with original survey
Proportionate measure can not extend beyond a fixed monument and is good only
between existing monuments
Corners on standard parallels and E-W township lines were originally set along curved
lines and this must be taken into account.
Proportionate Measurement

Double Proportionate Measurement – applied
to new measurements made between four
known corners, two each on intersecting
meridional and latitudinal lines for the purpose
of relating the intersection of both


Checkerboard – township and section corners
A retracement survey must be made in all four
directions from corner (lost) to nearest existing
corners.
Legal Search

Original Government Surveys



Large book – Township Plat and Field Notes for it are together
When you copy on one section, copy also any section touching it.
Past Surveys

Surveyor’s Record



Plat Record




Plats of surveys by county surveyors and more recently plat of survey by all R.L.S.’s
Normally indexed by Township and Range
Plats of Subdivision
Indexed alphabetically, by name of Subdivision, but Section, Township, and Range
are shown
Monument Recordation
Deeds

Grantor-Grantee Index



Grantor – person selling
Grantee – person buying
Indexed by year and then alphabetically
Explain how to trace back
Descriptions

A description is to furnish the information which is
necessary to identify the boundaries of a particular
tract of property.


Proper composition of a description requires a
knowledge of both law and surveying.
Kinds of Descriptions:
Natural objects and adjoiners without numerical data
2.
Metes and bounds
3.
Public Land System
4.
Urban subdivisions
(Many descriptions contain components of several of these)
1.
Descriptions
1.
2.
3.
4.
Natural objects – refer to trees, center line of a road,
thread of a stream, or a boundary line may be described by
giving no information except the names of adjoining
owners (This type no longer used).
Metes and bounds – these include all pieces of land not in
the first class, which can not be described by the public
land system or urban subdivision. The description begins
by carefully describing the point of beginning, then a
distance and direction are given for each line around the
tract; the marker at each corner is also described.
Rectangular System – this includes all regular tracts
within the area covered by the U.S. Rectangular System.
Subdivisions – tract in a platted subdivision.
Requirements of a Valid Description
In essence, the basic requirements are that is shall be clear,
accurate, and brief.
1.
Clarity – a legal description should be so clear that it is
subject to only one interpretation at any time, present or
future.




2.
3.
North – used only to indicate due north – this being the direction
parallel with the reference meridian of the survey.
Northerly – may be any direction up to 15° from north in the 1st
or 4th quadrant.
Punctuation is also very important.
The “Point of Beginning” shall be a corner of a tract surveyed
and not the monument to which the tract as a whole is referred.
Accuracy – it is best that a description be preceded by a
present survey of the tract.
Brevity – this is essential because it enhances clarity.
Interpretation of Descriptions
In retracing deeds the surveyor often finds that items may
have been omitted or it may contain conflicting calls.
4 General Rules in Interpretation:
Best interpretation is that which most plainly and
completely gives effect to the intentions of the parties to
the deed, as revealed by all the evidence available.
In regards to conflicts between calls the order of
precedence is:

1.
2.
a)
b)
c)
d)
Senior rights
A natural corner or boundary will stand against artificial.
Artificial corner or boundary that is identifiable, will control
over calls of direction, distance, or area.
When a conflict between dimensions and area, the dimensions
will govern as long as they are consistent with evidence as to
monuments.
Interpretation of Descriptions
3.
4.

If a description is faulty due to an obvious error or
omission of essential data, every attempt is made
to render it valid rather than void.
If 2 interpretations are possible, the one that most
benefits the purchaser will be used.
General Comments:
Where a description calls for a certain area, this
area should be included within four lines forming a
square, as nearly as possible.
Definition of words:
1.
2.
Along or upon a road: means to the centerline of
the road.
More or less: the purchaser accepts approximate
acreage.
Note: a description which fails to identify the county,
state, ¼ section, township, and range in which the
property is located is ineffective unless the
property can still be identified.
Private Surveys

Authority of the surveyor


In all states surveyor is licensed by statute and it
enables to surveyor to do certain functions and excludes
others who are not licensed.
Basis of Land surveys:
1.
Every parcel of land whose boundaries are surveyed and
monumented by a land surveyor should be made conformable
with the record boundaries of such land.


The relationship of possession lines and deed lines should be shown
on a plat or in a report furnished to the client.
Clients want to know if possession and title lines are the same.
2.
It is the obligation of the surveyor to inform the client as to
what documents are needed for the performance of a land
survey and he/she should base his/her survey on a satisfactory
description from a document.


Includes recorded deed, easements, or other conveyances and the
research needed to confirm the descriptions exactness.
Research:
1.
2.
3.

The surveyor examines all documents called for or implied in
the client’s conveyance.
Obtains copies of all maps or drawings called for.
Obtains copies of available documents and surveys of
adjoining parcels made by public or private surveyors and
such other documents that describe interests.
3 main causes of disagreement between surveyors:
1.
2.
3.
Failure to locate all of the documents that give essential information
about the area being surveyed.
Inadequate field search for monumentation.
Incorrect interpretation of evidence or the meaning of documents.

Ownership:


Encroachments:


The surveyor does not decide who owns land or property rights,
he locates boundaries in accordance with legal descriptions.
The surveyor locates lines of possession that do not coincide
with the written conveyances and informs clients of such facts
in writing.
Search for monuments:

It is the obligation of the surveyor to search for all monuments
called for, either directly or indirectly in the description and
find all available information pertaining to them.



Search must prove either existence or explain nonexistence.
Do not place full weight on findings of another surveyor.
A thorough, diligent, and complete search of all evidence is the
fundamental essence of land surveying.

Possession Marking Original Survey Lines:

Because original lines marked and surveyed by an original
surveyor control other elements in a deed, the surveyor
should determine whether or not a line of possession
represents a line marked by the original survey.



It is the surveyors responsibility to investigate whether a line of
possession represents the original line of a so-called survey or whether
possession cane about for other reasons.
At times possession may be the best available evidence remaining, but
such determination should only be made after a complete analysis of
all evidence.
Evidence:

The surveyor locates land boundaries in accordance with the
available evidence.


A valid conveyance of land has a definite location on the ground and
the mere loss of evidence does not invalidate the conveyance..
The surveyor must have knowledge of the order of importance of
evidence.

Setting Monuments:


All monuments set on a survey should be marked to indicate
who set the monument.
Plats:

A land survey should result in the delivery of a plat to the
client showing and describing the following:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
All monuments found or set (described in detail)
The basis of bearings
The bearings and distances of all boundary lines
The location of all lines of possession
The location of encroachments
The identification and location of easements

Liability:

The property surveyor is liable for damages resulting from facts
not in agreement with his certificate and is liable for failure to
do what an ordinary prudent surveyor would do under the same
conditions.



To reduce liability it is wise for the surveyor to do more than the
minimum required.
If the surveyor has actual or implied knowledge for which the
survey will be used, he/she is responsibility for researching and
collecting all of the information covering that parcel and
possibly adjacent contiguous parcels.
When a surveyor accepts work or a plat of another surveyor,
he/she assumes all liabilities for any and all errors that may be
present.
Future of PLS




At crossroads:
Regain Professionalism – equal to engineer in public
eye.
Become Technicians – working under engineer
Key is Education – incoming and public
Key is Pricing – as long as we undercharge for our
work we will get nowhere.
Future of PLS
Needs:

Survey Authority:


2 Branches: 1 Chicago area – 1 Rest of state
2 Major Duties:



Must be independent of political influence



Review all surveys to assure compliance to standards
Depository for all surveys performed
Funding based upon recording fee
Additional work on re-monumentation
Re-Define Profession:



Clarify what work falls under license
Broaden scope
GPS
Future of PLS

GIS



What is the surveyors role
Is this going to eliminate the need for L.S.
L.S. should be “supervisor” (legally required) of GIS work during
certain phases.




When tied to control coordinate systems
When representing cadastre
California Law; Policy resolution 98-03: any person supervising
the creation, preparation or modification of a GIS in areas
connected with the state’s definition of land surveying must be
licensed as a PLS or registered as a PE authorized to practice land
surveying.
Surveyor must prepare to tie all surveys to State Plane Coordinates
as a basis for GIS.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands




The Bureau of Land Management has control of all
government surveys
Resurvey: a reconstruction of land boundaries and
subdivisions accomplished by rerunning and remarking the
lines represented in the field notes or on the plat of a
previous official survey.
Retracement: merely measures lines and identifies
monuments or other marks of an established prior survey
without restoration of lost corners or the reblazing of lines
in timber.
Courts hold that original survey of public lands does not
ascertain boundaries, but creates them.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands

The original survey is the approved survey that creates the
parcel of land. An original monument is one set or called
for in an original survey.



Prior to approval, the government can make a “corrective
survey”.
If more than one approved survey for a parcel exists, the most
recent survey controls.
When resurveying or dividing federally created sections of
land, federal rules for resurvey are followed:
1.
2.
When the final court of adjudication resides in a federal court.
When the state court has approved the federal rules.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands
Types of resurveys
1.
Dependent resurvey: first a retracement of all recoverable
evidence of the original corners and lines and the
reestablishment of lost or obliterated corners and lines in
accordance with the best available evidence and
applicable rules of survey.

2.
Depends upon recovery of original corners and evidence of lines.
Independent resurvey: casts aside the original survey and
creates all new monuments and corners and may include
the establishment of new township lines without reference
to the original survey.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands



Generally once completed these resurveys replace the
original.
Federal Patent: means by which federal government grants
land to private individuals or corporations by way of a
release or quit claim without warranty of title.
Provided that a superior right is not interfered with or a
fraud committed, the boundaries of the public land, when
approved, and patented are unchangeable.

Burden of proof is now on retracement surveyor to locate lines as
they were actually placed on the ground, not where they should
have been.

Must “track in the footsteps” of the original surveyor based on evidence.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands


The original township, section, and ¼ section corners (but
not closing corners) must stand as the true corner which
they were intended to represent, whether in the place shown
by field notes or not.
The plat and all the original field notes become apart of the
grant. Errors on a plat are subordinate to the field notes.


Field notes are the main source of information which the
descriptive information concerning corners, monuments,
accessories, and line information can be found.
Best evidence of how and where lines were run are in the notes.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands

A closing corner not actually located on the line that was
closed upon will determine the direction of the closing
line, but not its legal terminus; the correct position is at the
true point of intersection of the two lines.


After a line is run and established, it can’t be altered at a later
date if a closing corner monument was not placed, the line can’t
be changed to fit the new corner, the closing corner must be
moved to the line closed upon.
After making due allowances for natural changes, a
monument to be identifiable should not differ greatly from
the following:
1.
2.
3.
The character and dimensions of the monument in evidence
should not be widely difference from the record.
Markings in evidence should not be inconsistent with the record.
The nature of the accessories in evidence, including size,
position, and markings, should not vary greatly from record.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands


Make sure appropriate field notes are checked.
Most common monuments are posts, stones, stone mounds, and
dirt mounds with pits.



Many original monuments have been replaced by county surveyors with
minimal records.
If monuments different than those called for are found, reputation and
common usage must be relied on.
Bearing trees called for have equal dignity with the corner itself.


If scribes exist, they must be consistent with notes.
Where an acceptable map or plat indicates and depicts the
found location of an original corner, the corner, if
obliterated, may be relocated from said map. (Co. Surveyor
Records, Highway Maps)
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands

The original location of a corner may be restored at a spot
pointed out by an old resident, who saw the original corner
and knows where its former location was.





The witness evidence no more weight than would be given in court
and should not be hearsay.
Obtain signed affidavit by the witness.
Care should be taken against prejudiced testimony.
Make sure that statements taken under oath contain facts as to the
witnesses personal knowledge.
Under special conditions a corner location can be accepted
by common usage of position.

Roads which have been placed on section lines and over a period
of time have become the accepted line and best evidence of the line
location.
Resurveys of Sectionalized Lands

Identification of Original Lines Run

Where the direction of a line can be determined from the mean
position of line trees or blaze markers of the original survey, the
direction established can be controlling where the corner
monument is lost. At times a stream or some other natural feature
may become controlling, especially if the natural feature is in close
proximity of the corner.

Many original notes give distances to natural objects as they were crossed by
the line.
Subdivision of Sections
Protraction is the method of breaking a section down



Regular sections on plat have dotted lines connecting ¼ corners
to indicate they are to be subdivided by running straight lines
between ¼ corners.
Further breakdown is to be done in the same manner unless
irregular conditions exist.

Under irregular conditions, dotted lines exist for breakdown into ¼, ¼
with distance and areas shown.
Subdivision of Sections
1.
Where an original ¼ corer was not originally set, place the
missing corner on the correction, range, or township line at
a point between the found or relocated closing section
corners a distance that is proportional to the measurement
used for the acreage calculations on the original plat.


1.
2.
3.
The missing corner is usually set midway between closing section
corners in section six where it is usually 40 chains proportional
measure from the northeast or southeast closing section corner.
Applies in the following:
Sections closing on a correction line
Sections closing on a range line with double or triple corners
Sections closing on a township line with double or triple corners
Subdivision of Sections
The method to be followed in the subdivision of a section
into ¼ sections is to run straight lines from the established
¼ corners to the opposite ¼ corner; the point of
intersection is the legal center of the section.
2.

From 1849-1851, Butterfield, Commissioner of the General
Land Office issued special instructions which directed that the
center ¼ corner be located at the midpoint of a line connecting
the east and west ¼ corners.


If it can be shown that a corner was set be this method during this period,
the corner is the true center of section.
Often the use and possession point and true center of section
does not agree.

The surveyor must investigate this difference, the possession point may
control the property, but is not the true center of section.
Subdivision of Sections
Prior to the subdivision of ¼ sections, ¼, ¼ or 16th corners
will be established at points midway between the sections
and ¼ section corners and between the ¼ section corners
and the center of section, except on the last half mile of
the lines closing on township boundaries.
3.


4.
In the last ½ mile they are placed at 20 chains counting from the
regular ¼ section corner.
When 16th corners are set, lines will be run straight between
opposite corresponding ¼, ¼ corners. The intersection of the
lines thus run will determine the legal center of ¼ section.
Center lines of fractional sections where no opposite
corresponding corner exists or can be relocated, the
boundary lines shall be run from the established corners
due north, south, east, or west as needed to the watercourse, Indian boundary, or other external boundary of
such fractional township.
Subdivision of Sections
Surveyors should always rely on original corners to set or
position lost corners.
5.


Never rely on 16th corners to reestablish ¼ corners
Retracement surveyors should not go from within a section to set
a corner along the section line.

Measurements from interior corners should only be used to provide
evidence as to the correct location on a section line.
Procedure for Retracement survey:
6.
a.
b.
Should be planned in advance so nothing is overlooked
Suggested steps:
1.
2.
3.
Obtain all necessary original field notes and township plats pertaining to
the area being surveyed.
Search all records for subsequent surveys conducted by private or public
parties.
Contact old residents concerning ancient land boundaries.
Subdivision of Sections
4.
5.
Examine all pertinent deeds of landowners long the lines to be surveyed
and any record documents that may show easements or encumbrances.
Make a diligent search for all necessary corners and apply the rules of
evidence to determine whether a corner is original, obliterated, or lost.

6.
7.
8.
Set new monuments for new position and replace and deteriorated
monuments.
Subdivide the section and set any required subdivision corners according
to applicable rules of survey.
Prepare and file a record of survey indicating the dignity of all points
recovered or set and identify all points

7.
If it is lost, reposition corner using proper rules of survey.
Furnish client with report of methods used, monuments set, and decisions
made.
In Illinois – file Monument Record on all original corners.
IT
IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE RETRACEMENT SURVEYOR TO FOLLOW
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE ORIGINAL SURVEYOR AS NEARLY AS
POSSIBLE.
Restoration of Lost Corners
Relocate lost corners
1.
a)
All lost corners are to be relocated by proportionate measure
with due regard to the principle of the precedence of one line
over another of less original importance.
Proportionate Measure or Proration
2.
a)
b)
In proportionate measure, the new values given to several parts
as determined by the re-measurement, shall bear the same
relation to the record lengths as the new measurement of the
whole line bears to that record.
Single proportionate measurement – is applied to a new
measurement made on a line to determine one or more positions
on that line.


By court ruling, original monuments, except closing corners, are fixed in
position and can’t be moved.
Not all lines are straight lines.
Restoration of Lost Corners
c)
d)
Double proportionate measurement – are applied to
new measurements made between four known corners,
two each on intersecting meridional and latitudinal for
the purpose of relating the intersection of both.
Importance of on line over another – as between single
and double proportionate measurement, the principle of
precedence of one line over another of less original
importance is recognized, thus limiting the control of
each method.


Corners on township line, not those set later
Order of precedence based on how set, township then interior
from SE corner.
Restoration of Lost Corners
Restoration of Lost Standard Corners on Standard
Parallel, Correction Lines and Base Lines.
3.



Lost standard corners will be restored to their original position
by single proportionate measurement on the true line connecting
the nearest identified standard corners on opposite sides of the
missing corner. Proper adjustment should be made to secure the
correct latitude curve.
Closing corners are not to be used for either direction or
measurement.
Standard corners are all corners which were established on the
standard parallel during the original survey of that line.
Restoration of Lost Corners
4.
Restoration of Lost Township Corners on Principle
Meridians and Guide Meridians


when the principle meridian or guide meridian was
established by alignment in one direction only, lost
township corners on such lines shall be restored by
single proportionate measurement.
Where guide meridians were established as part of
original contract, the township corners located thereon
should be relocated by double proportionate
measurement.
Restoration of Lost Corners
Restoration of Lost Township and Section Corners
Originally established with cross ties in four directions
will be relocated by double proportionate measurement.
Restoration of lost corners along township lines will be
restored by single proportionate measurement.
5.
6.


Exception to this principle will be noted in case of any exterior
with a record deflection in alignment between township corners
Township lines were established before subdivision of sections.
Restoration of lost township and section corners where the
line was not established in one direction.
7.

The record distance will be used to the nearest identified corner
in the opposite direction.
Restoration of Lost Corners
8.
Restoration of lost corners where the intersecting lines
have been established in only two directions, the record
distances to the nearest identified corners on those two
lines will control the position of the temporary points,
then from the latter the cardinal offsets will be made to fix
the desired point of intersection.
Restoration of Lost Corners
QUARTER-SECTION Corners in regular section within
the township will be restored by single proportionate
measurement between adjoining section corners, after the
section corners have been identified or relocated.
9.

10.
An exception occurs when original lines had angular deflection.
Quarter-section corners where only part of a section was
originally surveyed will be restored by record bearing and
distance, counting from the nearest regular course which
has been identified or restored.
Restoration of Lost Corners
A lost closing corner on a standard parallel will be reestablished on
the true line that was closed upon and at the proper proportional
interval between the nearest regular corners to the left and right.
11.

a)
b)
c)
12.
The only corners that will control the direction of the line being closed upon
are:
Standard township, standard section, and standard ¼ corners.
Meander corners terminating the survey of the standard parallel
Closing corners in those cases where they were originally established by
measurement along the standard line as points from which to start a survey.
Lost North Quarter corner in a closing section which was originally
set, the lost corner will be reestablished on the closing line at a point
at the proper proportionate interval between the nearest found or
relocated corners to the right and left.
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