June 17, 2021
What Does a Land Surveyor Do?
Land surveying is an essential component of any construction or development project, but many people have a limited view of what it really entails and why it matters so much. Are you wondering what does a land surveyor do? Put simply — land surveyors are responsible for providing a property’s comprehensive, accurate parcel boundary and geospatial data. Land surveys are beneficial for determining property lines for mortgage requirements, obtaining insurance, updating and correcting previous property surveys, settling disputes, and locating easements and utilities. Read on to learn more about land surveying and why it matters for the timeliness and quality of many different project types.
What Is a Land Surveyor?
A land surveyor is a highly trained professional who measures and identifies boundaries for design and construction purposes, to settle property line disputes, or create maps. Many surveyors have degrees in surveying and mapping, civil engineering, or geomatics.
Because of the legal nature of surveying, a land surveyor’s work must be thorough and precise, and they must expertly use specialized equipment to determine boundary lines and existing conditions.
The Surveying Process
A land surveyor researches and gathers information about a property and uses it to perform the following tasks.
- Measure topographic distances, directions, and angles between points of interest, which are combined to create topographic contour
- Determine precise location of property features using accurate reference points called benchmarks
- Consider previous property boundaries to discern the current boundary lines of the subject property
- Identify and document any adjacent bodies of water and determine the water boundary of the subject property based on current and historical water levels
- Collaborate with other project stakeholders, including construction managers, land planners, civil engineers, or developers
- Verify data accuracy and register surveying results to create legal descriptions and survey maps
- Describe the subject parcel for legal documentation purposes
- Provide expert testimony in court regarding surveying matters
Once the land surveyor completes the necessary research and performs the survey using specialized equipment, they create a CAD-drawn, survey-grade map that they submit to clients.
There are many different types of land surveying that can be utilized depending on a project’s specific needs. Some of the more common types of surveying are included below.
Boundary surveying is done using public records and field calculations and measurements to determine property lines and corners, easements, and encroachments to create an exact plat or map of a property.
Topographic surveying is a means to visually display a 3D map of a property’s elevation, indicating the relevant dimensions of natural or human-made features as well as any elevation changes. This survey type is useful for:
- Site planning for new construction projects
- Major site renovation projects
- Grading and drainage projects
- Utility, bridge, or road designs and improvements
Civil engineers use topographic surveys in tandem with boundary surveys to draft accurate construction drawings.
Construction surveying is useful in interpreting the civil engineer’s design to establish and verify the placement and geographic location of building corners, sidewalks, roads, or utility features to ensure the new building does not go beyond easements, setbacks, or property boundaries. Construction staking can then be completed to indicate the exact location of these points.
As-Built surveying, sometimes referred to as physical surveying, can be done at any point in the construction process to represent the current state of the site’s project improvements. As-Built surveys are usually needed for close-out purposes to verify that work was done according to the applicable standards and regulations for a particular construction project. In residential construction, these can include specialized types of as-built surveys called foundation and final surveys.
The respected ALTA survey is a longstanding and highly detailed parcel map that complies with standards set by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). ALTA surveys are a hybrid of boundary, location, and title surveys that include any property improvements, boundaries, easements, zoning, and utilities and their relation to the property title.
Trust Your Project’s Surveying Needs to the Experts at JBPro
A land surveyor is a specially trained professional, adept at using innovative equipment, technical expertise, and an ability to thoroughly research and interpret information that impacts the integrity of your project. At JBPro, we offer a wide range of land surveying services, including those listed above, as well as platting, aerial inspection and imagery, and subsurface utility surveying. From the simple to the complex of your residential, commercial, or construction project needs, ensure that your project gets started the right way by relying on the skilled team at JBPro. You can request a survey here from either our St. Augustine or Gainesville land surveyors.