Articles: (16)

Land Surveying Measurement

When reading legal land survey descriptions there are several things a land surveyor must keep in mind to conduct a proper survey. The following legal description is for a 42- acre parcel – T39N, R23W, Sec. 4, NW1/4 SE1/4.

First, one must understand that punctuation is crucial in reading legal land surveys.  If a comma were included in between the “NW1/4” and “SE1/4” of this legal measurement/description then it would alter the reading to be for a 320 acre parcel.  Second, all legal descriptions are read backwards.  The legal land survey description is read from right to left, going from the smallest unit of measurement to the largest unit of measurement.  Understanding these key points will enable you to conduct a more precise and accurate survey.

Land Surveyor Measurement

The Rectangular Survey System

Land surveying consists largely of determining the measurements of parcels of land.  The Rectangular Survey System or the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) is the primary type of land survey measurement system that the majority of the United States has been surveyed by.  It is a system that is setup on a grid in which the primary objective is to determine approximate values of square sections measuring 1 square mile each (1 square mile = 5,280 feet).  The rectangular survey system is the most common system land surveyors use throughout their career to define accurate and precise measurements.

Land Survey Measurement 5

In order to apply the rectangular survey system you must first understand a couple terms.  These include prime meridians, baselines, and principal meridiansPrime Meridians are north-south lines (lines of longitude), at which longitude is defined to be 0°.  The Prime Meridian starts at the North Pole and extends south to the South Pole.  Baselines are lines that extend east-west.  Principal meridians are the true north-south lines that run through the initial point of the area that is being covered.

Land Survey Measurement

All measurement starts at an initial point.  Initial points in land surveying are usually set by astronomical observation.  Across the United States there are 37 points where a principal meridian and baseline intersect.  From each of these initial points, a prime meridian extends north-south, and a baseline extends east-west.  Along the north-south prime meridian, initial points are marked at 24 mile intervals.  Baselines extend from east to west from these points as well.  Along the east-west baselines, points are marked at 24 mile intervals as beginning from the north-south prime meridian.  The parallel points created from these points are called standard corners.

For each standard corner a line runs true north.  These lines are called guide meridians.  Due to the Earth’s curvature, guide meridians do not intersect through standard corners along the next standard parallel, 24 miles to the north.  The intersections they cross are called closing corners.  Each standard now contains a set of both standard and closing corners.

Land Survey Measuring

Each 24-mile tract is divided up into 16 townships. Townships are roughly 6 miles x 6 miles.  Starting at the southeast corner of the 24-mile tract, corners are established six miles apart along the east-west parallel and the north-south meridians. From these corners, range lines run true north to the next parallel, and township lines run west to the next prime meridian.  With that said, each township is now divided into 36 sections, a piece of land roughly 1 square mile x 1 square mile, or approximately 640 acres.  This process is also used in defining corners and running lines from the southeast corner of the township.  Each of the 36 sections is then divided into 16 forties.  These forties are further subdivided, and subdivided, and subdivided.

Land Survey Measurement

Leave Comments

Comments

Continue browsing our website by clicking on the related articles below for more information...

Land Survey Pricing

Land survey pricing - estimate of costs and factors effecting price

Receiving an estimate of costs for a survey from a Registered/Professional Land Surveyor takes very little effort and is easier than you may think.  A surveyor first needs a copy of your Warranty...

Read More

Land Surveyor Maps

Land surveyor maps - types, scales, distances, and symbols

The ability to read and use a variety of maps is crucial in land surveying.  Land surveyors begin with a large-scale map in order to make a landscape-level plan.  After the land surveyor determines...

Read More

Land Survey Markers

Land survey markers - types and legalities involved

Land survey markers or land survey monuments are objects that are placed in marking major survey points on the earth’s surface.  They are placed for use during surveys and for possible following...

Read More

Land Surveyor License

Land surveyor license - become a professional in land surveying

Land surveyors are mainly involved with land features and water boundaries. Prior to a building or housing complex being built, the land must first be ruled acceptable for construction. The job outlook...

Read More

Top Leave Comments