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sluggermn

Survey Markers

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My father in law asked me to help him find the property line markers on his homstead. he knows the plat description ie: sw corner of the easttern section of the 1/4 section of the so and so's section...ect but he has no coord's to give me.

I told him if I can find the coord's I can get within 10 feet of the marker and then just root around untill we come up with the survey marker.

 

how do I find the coord's

 

who should I contact to find them and also what kind of marker Im looking for ie brass rod alumimun disc ect

 

any help would be greatly appreciated!!

 

slugger

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The place to start would be at your county clerk's office to get a copy of the plat and copies of survey records. Unfortunately, the corner markers could be anything from wooden stakes, piles of stones, pieces of rebar, concrete monuments, or even nonexistant; and section lines are only rarely actually located where they are supposed to be theoretically located according to the PLSS.

 

You should not expect any property record to be stated in terms of geographic coordinates -- property records are usually based on measurements from other physically established positions or physical monuments like section corners. The geographic coordinates of those locations are not relevant when it comes to boundary law, so there's no reason to record them in the public records.

 

Your GPS might help you if you can find a section corner or a neighbor's corner, mark its location, and then compute the location of your property corners based on distances from the found corner.

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A work of caution from someone who was in the surveying field for over 30 yrs and seen a fair share of property corner errors.

 

I agree, handhelp GPS is going to be of little to no help in finding property corners. You need a property description, compass, tape measure and a known corner to relate to. If it were easy there would be no need for surveyors. Many a bogus marker is out there set by unprofessionals thinking they know what they are doing or trying to save a $.

 

Just because you find something, how are you going know what you found is the real corner? A great many have gotten in trouble making that assumption. My neighbor did that and was adament that I could not build my garage where I was going to build it. She insisted I was on the property line and the rain from my roof would go on her land and wash away here house trailer home. A subsequent survey by a licensed surveryor showed her property corners were bogus and of questionable heritage. Another neighbor told us that her son n' law was an engineer and he did the survey back in the late 1970's and that person witnessed him doing it and also helped because it also benefited his lines. But he was a engineering tech who worked in sewer line layout and was not licensed to pratice surveying, just knew enough to be dangerous. (btw-I was 100% sure I was right because the land south of me was surveyed and my layout has me on my land by 10 ft.) His setting of her property corners cost me several thousand $$ (survey and building delays) and the good will of a neighbor of some 40 yrs. She died mad a me, when it was all his fault for thinking he knew what he was doing.

 

So unless your F'L land is in a plated city, or other subdivsion he may need the services of a licensed surveryor to determine his property corners. If there is no legal survey of record it may only be meets and bounds description on paper and never surveyed ( lots of land like that).

 

There are so many things that come into play with land boundries the old saying about "a person who does his own land surveying has a fool for a customer".

 

So my advice, go look but be careful that what you do it not contrued as fact or as I have seen, a property owner sets his own pins from bogus work.

Edited by Z15

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yes the reason he asked is that there is a VERY mild dispute over where the property line is.... I know, I know, property line disputes are never somthing to get in the middle of.! f.i.l. is not looking to start a war just wants an idea of where its supposed to be.

I will be passing along the advice about hiring a pro to survey if it gets any where near heated. for now though he is too cheap to pay for having one done. there are close to 400 acres to survey so that would be a pretty big bill I would imagine.

 

thanks for the advice..

slugger

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The comment is right that the marks may be wooden stakes long gone. Check all four corners. Some time three corners are wooden stakes and the forth is a stone with a mark or something more pernanent.

 

Lee

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I'm going to add my cautions to Z15's already well-said advice: If there is a dispute over the position of a boundary line, it is in the best interest of BOTH owners to seek the advice of a professional surveyor. Every land ownership boundary line in the U.S. is described and/or defined by a map or deed. In order to retrace that line accurately (ie: in its proper position) the research must be done to ensure that the footsteps of the original setting surveyor are being followed. That research usually begins at a County level (as mentioned by Holograph) and may require research of adjoining properties to find the necessary evidence to determine proper location of lines and corner monumentation (if any). Angular measurements are defined using compass bearings and distances are usually in decimal feet. Older maps, from the early 1900's and older, use survey chains (not feet) for distance. Some maps in some parts of the country use metrics. Coordinates of any kind (geodetic, State Plane, or other) are very rarely used to define the position of property boundaries and corners. While a handheld GPSr is useful for somethings, determining property boundary and corner location is not one of them, and attempting to locate a line in question with one could create more confusion, particularly if the intent is to set a marker. (It should be noted that looking for a particular property corner for the sake of curiousity is perfectly fine, however, attempting to do survey work in order to define a property corner or boundary is illegal to do unless you are licensed as a Land Surveyor.)

 

I am presently involved in a property dispute over a PLSS corner position. Both properties are in the east half of a section and the dispute is over the line between the northeast quarter and the southeast quarter, between the east quarter corner and the center quarter corner. I found the east quarter corner as described on three maps dated 1941, 1979, & 1980, but the problem lies with the center quarter corner. Yesterday I found a monument described on a map dated 1979 describing the positional perpetuation of a redwood post found in 1901 which was accepted at that time to be the center quarter corner. Along with it I found a 2nd monument, 18.6 feet northerly of the 1st, described as the center quarter corner on a map dated 1980, and referencing the 1941 map and an 1880 map. I also have other evidence that shows that both monuments may be incorrectly positioned. One of the first things that happened, at the beginning of this present dispute, involved one of the landowners, a handheld GPSr, and a now new fence which isn't very close to either of the monuments I found. There are now lawyers involved, a judge, a couple of Sheriff's deputies and a restraining order against one of the owners. The maps show that the boundary dispute is not new (although both properties were under different ownership at the time of the 1979/1980 maps), but the resulting actions taken by both present owners is going to leave some bad blood between them for a long time. Very bad news for adjacent farmers.

 

Again, if there is a dispute, hire a professional. It may be expensive, but nowhere near as expensive as years of feuding with a neighbor. If the neighbors are still on relatively good terms, have them hire the surveyor together, that way neither one feels that the surveyor is favoring the other, and they can split the cost. Just be ready to accept what the surveyor finds and shows you, have him or her map their findings and record them with the County, and get the dispute as far behind you as you can.

 

- Kewaneh

Edited by Kewaneh & Shark

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