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Surveying & Mapping


Types of Surveying

There is a great deal of confusion and overlap in the different types of surveying, however in general terms, the following describe each and what use they serve.

Land Survey Plat

Also referred to as a boundary survey, a Land Survey Plat locates and verifies all property corners and boundaries, shows the location of all improvements in relation to the property lines, includes an area of the overall property and shows any existing location of all improvements in relation to the property lines, includes an area of the overall property and shows any existing encroachments. Any error between the found monumentation and the platted location of monuments is also noted. All easements as platted or of record are shown in detail as well. Title work supplied by the client is helpful for an accurate representation of all easements relating to the property, however it is not required for this particular type of survey. Along with the location and description of all existing monuments, any missing property corners are also re-set as part of this process. Once complete, this survey is also recorded at the appropriate county within a year from the completion date.


This type of surveying relates to mapping rivers, oceans and waterways in general. Hydrography plays an important role in preparation of navigational information for shipping as well as exploration of marine resources.


A topographic survey is usually required for planning and zoning purposes, site layout, construction or engineering and architectural design. Often requested by Engineers or Architects for construction/design purposes, a Topo uses contour lines which show the shape of the land. Elevations are assigned to each contour line displaying the three-dimensional features of the property on a two-dimensional drawing. Existing improvements are also shown on a topo if necessary. Due to the nature of this particular survey, it can provide a CAD .dwg file for you or your architects’ use at your request. The boundary is not certified in a topographic drawing.

Site Plan

A site plan is usually only used for proposed construction of a structure or other improvement. The city or county sometimes requires this for purposes of applying for a building permit. A site plan does not show easements or most existing improvements unless directly related to the new construction. The proposed location of the structure/improvement is shown in relation to either property lines or existing improvements and topography is usually shown in the related area as well.


Similar to a Land Survey Plat, an ALTA survey is strictly geared towards companies purchasing commercial property. Standards created by the American Land Title Association and the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping are used to create this type of survey. The location of all improvements in relation to property lines as well as any easements and setback requirements are shown on this survey as well as any encroachments that exist.

AS-Built/Plot Plan

Similar to the Site Plan, an as-built drawing shows all improvements on a property in their constructed locations. Used to verify the location of newly constructed improvements/structures only, this is not an official survey and no property corners are flagged or set.

Control Survey

Precise location of horizontal and vertical positions of points for use in boundary determination, mapping from aerial photographs, construction staking and other related purposes.


Engineering surveys are involved in the setting out of construction projects that can be of enormous scale such as high rise buildings, roads, bridges, transmission lines etc. They can also be involved in the subsequent monitoring of the completed structure to ensure safety is maintained.


The making of Maps (cartography) has become as high-tech as any other industry with the images taken by aircraft and satellites. The Cartographer then uses these images combined with other information abut the area to construct the maps.

GPS Satellite Surveying & Satellite Imagery

Surveyors use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in all kinds of surveying. Satellite imagery is also being used to monitor movements on the earth’s surface – earth quake zones, potential mud slides or even troops on the move in a war zone.


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