November 29, 2021

How Can 2 Land Surveys of the Same Property Be Different?

If you have ever had more than one land survey done for any reason on the same property, perhaps to have an old survey updated, you may have noticed that the surveys have differences. But, how is this possible? At JBPro, we have conducted land surveys in North and Central Florida for decades, so we want to share our insight on boundary survey discrepancies. 

Factors That Affect a Survey

Different Surveyors

One significant factor that contributes to survey differences is the surveyor who conducts the survey. No two people measure things the same way, and similarly, no two surveyors will either. These surveyors may also have varying degrees of experience. 

Further, surveyors may have different preferred styles. Some surveyors like to create hand-drawn-looking surveyors using protractors and straight edges. Some surveyors prefer a more artistic and classic style that resembles calligraphy. At JBPro, we perform surveys using the latest CAD drafting technology to make the cleanest, most accurate, and easiest to read surveys possible. 

Different Tools

When comparing two land surveys that appear different, perhaps one surveyor used less accurate tools than the other—the better the tools, the more exact the survey. If an inexperienced surveyor uses complicated tools with a steep learning curve, it will be harder for an unpracticed crew member to deliver an exact survey. Our surveyors at JBPro use the most accurate tools available, relying on trusted Trimble Geospatial instrumentation, which have the lowest margin of error and best-in-class usability for our field crews.

Different Purposes 

Another explanation for varying surveys is that multiple types of surveys can be completed on the same property. For example, boundary surveys completed for a mortgage lender adhere to different standards than a tie-in survey.

At JBPro, we routinely perform the following types of surveys. 

Finally, the end-user may have different needs from the survey that dictate the kind of survey results they receive.

Different Starting Points

Yet another way surveys can differ is if the surveyors used different starting points, which can throw off a survey by inches or even feet. One surveyor may have started in the northwest corner of a subdivision, while another may have started in the southeast. 

Other considerations include whether the survey is tied to section corners or the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). The PLSS is a surveying grid system used to divide Florida real estate property for sale and settling. PLSS is easier than the systems used in most states because Florida’s topography is so low-lying and flat. 

Experience Matters for Your Land Survey

Another reason a land survey done by two different people can vary is due to surveyor error. That is why, at JBPro, we’ve earned our clients’ trust through decades of accurate and organized Gainesville and St. Augustine land surveys. You can count on us to provide as close to an exact representation of your property as possible. When you are ready to benefit from our expertise, contact us to discuss your civil engineering, surveying, construction services and land planning needs.