Table of contents
What is Land Surveying?
Meet the Registered Professional Land Surveyor
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?
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
2. Meet the Registered Professional
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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Who Employs or Retains a Land Surveyor?
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
4. What Types of Surveys Are Performed?
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.
Surveys determining unit and common areas, in a three dimensional
plan, to prepare descriptions and mapping for a condominium plan.
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.
Surveys to obtain data from which to determine the feasibility
of, and/or to prepare plans for a development or construction
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.
Surveys for the purpose of determining the configuration of
the earth’s surface and the location of physical objects
5. When ia a Survey Advisable?
Before a boundary dispute arises when there is uncertainty of
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.
6. Why Are There Conflicting Boundaries?
It is generally
true that boundary disputes and overlaps are a result of legal
which were originally written
and recorded without the benefit of the services of competent
land surveyor; however, in some instances actual long established
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.
7. The Land Surveyor's Work
Land surveying practice is a career specialization overlapping
the professions of geodesy, engineering and law.
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
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.
of changing laws and practices affecting land surveying and land
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
today ’s modern land surveyor.
. 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
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.
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
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.
Code of Ethics of Professional Land Surveyors
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
1. Professional Land Surveyors shall hold paramount the safety,
health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional
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
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.
Did you know…
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
not straight nor parallel, due to the difficulties encountered
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.