Table of contents
What is Land Surveying?
Meet the Registered Professional Land Surveyor
Who Employs or Retains a Land Surveyor?
What Types of Surveys are performed?
When is a Survey Advisable?
Why are there Conflicting Boundaries?
The Land Surveyor’s Work
When and why are Surveys Recorded?
How Much Does a Land Surveyor Charge?
Code of Ethics of Professional Land Surveyors
Did you know?

1. What is Land Surveying?

Land surveying is the art and science of establishing or reestablishing corners, lines, boundaries, and monuments of real property (land), based upon recorded documents, historical evidence, and present standards of practice. Land Surveying also includes associated services such as analysis and utilization of survey data, subdivision planning and design, writing legal descriptions, mapping, construction layout, and precision measurements of angle, length, area, and volume.
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2. Meet the Registered Professional Land Surveyor

The laws of the State of Washington provide that only registered Professional Land Surveyors may engage in the practice of land surveying. The requirements for registration include four years of approved progressive experience, four years of professional experience, good character and reputation, and successful completion of a two-day examination administered by the Washington State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
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3. Who Employs or Retains a Land Surveyor?

Architects Attorneys
Banks and Lending Institutions Builders and Contractors
Court Judges Government Agencies
Home Owners Land Developers
Planners Professional Engineers
Realtors Rural Land Owners
Title companies Utility Companies
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4. What Types of Surveys Are Performed?

Boundary Surveys:
Surveys made to establish or reestablish property boundary lines upon the ground or to obtain data for making a map showing boundary lines. These surveys include residential lots, commercial property, and large tracts.

Condominium Surveys:
Surveys determining unit and common areas, in a three dimensional plan, to prepare descriptions and mapping for a condominium plan.

Construction Surveys:
Survey measurements on a construction project to control position, dimensions, and configuration. Also included are measurements to determine quantities for payment of work and adequacy of completion.

Court Exhibit Surveys:
Surveys involving accumulation and preparation of evidence for courtroom testimony involving boundary disputes. Traffic accident and crime scene situation surveys are also included.

Mortgage or Title Surveys:
Surveys made for lending or insuring agencies to evaluate title problems, if any, relating to actual occupation and possession.

Preliminary Survey:
Surveys to obtain data from which to determine the feasibility of, and/or to prepare plans for a development or construction project.

Subdivision Surveys:
Surveys dividing undeveloped areas of land into blocks, lots, streets, parks, etc., in conformance with governing ordinances. This procedure includes platting, segregations’, and other divisions exempt from subdivision ordinances.

Topographic Surveys:
Surveys for the purpose of determining the configuration of the earth’s surface and the location of physical objects thereon.
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5. When ia a Survey Advisable?

Before a boundary dispute arises when there is uncertainty of property location.

Before designing or constructing major improvements such as buildings, roads, fences, landscaping, etc.

Before land is bought, sold, segregated, or subdivided.

Before timber is cut and removed.
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6. Why Are There Conflicting Boundaries?

It is generally true that boundary disputes and overlaps are a result of legal descriptions which were originally written and recorded without the benefit of the services of competent land surveyor; however, in some instances actual long established occupation on the ground will take precedence over recorded descriptions. In such cases of “acquiescence” or “adverse possession the land surveyor, the attorney, and possibly the courts may be involved in finding a solution to the problem.
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7. The Land Surveyor's Work

Land surveying practice is a career specialization overlapping the professions of geodesy, engineering and law.

Today’s land surveyor has access to highly sophisticated equipment as well as the traditional instruments for performing and processing survey work. The surveyor takes pride in being able to use the most efficient tools to accomplish the desired results.

Research of deeds, historical documents, various old plats, maps and right of way plans, is an integral part of any boundary survey. The internet is also used to research vertical and horizontal datum on a global scale for Global Positioning Surveys.

Keeping abreast of changing laws and practices affecting land surveying and land ownership, exchanging ideas through participation in professional associations and societies, continuing education through attendance at workshops and seminars, in the interest of providing better service, are some of the activities pursued by today ’s modern land surveyor.
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8 . When and Why are Surveys Recorded?

The laws of the State of Washington now mandate that a land surveyor record prescribed documents with the appropriate county auditor whenever certain monuments are restored and whenever boundary corners are set involving two or more land ownerships. Other surveys may be recorded by a land surveyor when requested by his employer or client.

The purpose of survey recording laws are to provide a systematic method of preserving evidence of land surveys and perpetuation of corners, thus reducing the supplication of effort and resulting costs for later survey work.
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9. How Much Does a Land Surveyor Charge?

The surveyor bases the fees for some work upon the time required for him and his staff to complete the job. Fees may also be based upon the extent of liability assumed by the surveyor and may be related to the value of the real property or planned improvements thereon.

Some routine survey work can be defined as to cost with a firm price quoted be the surveyor. Some situations include so many unknowns in time required that the surveyor will only “estimate” a fee based upon his schedule of rates.

One of the most uncertain factors relating to the cost of survey is the time required for recovery of various types of monuments. It is important for land owners, contractors, and the general public to be aware that careless treatment and destruction of survey monuments adds greatly to the cost of later survey work. In addition, where there is no evidence of original monuments, no method of mathematics, records research, surveying procedure, court decree, etc. can establish or reestablish a property boundary as it previously existed.
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Code of Ethics of Professional Land Surveyors

The Fundamental Principles

Professional Land Surveyors uphold and advance the integrity, honor, and dignity of the land surveyors ’ profession by:

I. Using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare.
II. Being honest and impartial, and serving with fidelity the public, their employers and clients.
III. Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the land surveyors’ profession.
IV. Supporting the professional and technical societies of their disciplines.

The Fundamental Canon

1. Professional Land Surveyors shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.
2. Professional Land Surveyors shall perform services only in the areas of their competence.
3. Professional Land surveyors shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
4. Professional Land Surveyors shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
5. Professional Land Surveyors shall build their professional reputations on the merit of their services.
6. Professional Land Surveyors shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity and dignity of their profession.
7. Professional Land Surveyors shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those under their supervision.
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Did you know…

The steps below are necessary to locate the four corners of (in this case) the NW ¼ of the SE 1/4. Since most sections have dimensions such as in figure 2 (exaggerated to show that the lines are not straight nor parallel, due to the difficulties encountered in the “1800” surveys) it follows that the distances around a “40” will not always be 1320 feet, nor will the sides be at right angles to each other.

2,4,6,& 8 ( these are corners set by the General Land Office in the first surveys; beginning in 1853 in the State of Washington )
2. Established the center of the section (Point A) which is the intersection of a straight line between points 4 & 8 and 6 & 2
3. Established 1/16 corners B,B,D, &E; for example: “B” being exactly midway between “A” & 2, etc.
4. Established SE 1/16 corner (F) which is the intersection of straight lines between points B & D and C & E.

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