Basic Terminology to Know When Getting a Land Survey























Land surveys are important both for businesses and for individuals who want to buy and properly build on land. You may need one for a variety of purposes, from verifying what you're actually buying to finding the right usage for a space to settling any concerns or disputes. 


As you work with a land surveyor to learn more about your property, here are a few of the most useful terms to know.



A benchmark is a fixed point you can use to determine the characteristics of other locations. A marker or grove, for instance, may be a particular benchmark set at a known elevation and in a permanent spot. You can then measure things off this benchmark, both regarding their elevations as well as their distances. 



Objects within the surveying map are referred to as calls. Calls could include landscape details like hills, rivers, streams, existing roads, trees, and the like. Or it may refer to a measurement referenced in the mapping. Calls are important both to identify what the borders include as well as what physical objects you own and must contend with. 


Meridians and Baselines

How do you measure distance on compass points? The answer is meridians and baselines. A meridian line is a line running north to south. It represents longitude on a globe or map. Land is referred to as being a certain distance and position from this meridian line. The counterpart of a meridian line is the baseline. Baselines run east and west and correlate to latitudinal lines on a map. 


Metes and Bounds

Metes and bounds refer to a more traditional, (pre-GPS) way to measure land in relation to natural objects around it. This method makes use of two ways to measure boundaries. First, it follows a straight line from one point to another — referred to as a mete. Bounds are natural markers and landmarks used to define boundaries as well.



Monuments are markers or references to markers that help locate map boundaries in the ground. Monuments are intended to be permanent and are often man-made — such as a stone marker sunk into the ground at a boundary corner or trees planted along one side of a lot to show its edge. Many categories of monuments exist, such as a line tree or a merestone. 


You may also find monuments that are more natural, such as streams, although these are technically typography rather than a legal monument. They may be referred to as a landmark instead of a prepared monument.



Plat is a strange word, but it affects just about any property. It's the original surveyor's map made when the land was first developed or sold. The plat gives a great deal of information, such as directions of land features and easements. You need to know exactly what's on your land, so this is the most original point of reference. Very old plats, though, may need an update with more modern methods to be exact. 


Plats are also useful in determining the actual shape of a piece of property and to see what has changed over the years — including features that you may need to get clarification about. 


Understanding the features of a land survey may take a little bit of work, but it's worth the effort. You will have confidence that you really know what you're buying and what you're allowed to do with it.


At Community Sciences Corporation, our surveyors have years of experience working with all types of properties and situations. We can help you resolve any concerns about your property too. Call today to learn more. 

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