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Land Surveys for Real Estate

Real Estate Land Surveys

all the following is attributable to Dr. Ben Buckner [Dec'94]:

ELEMENTARY DEFINITION OF SURVEYING (as paraphrased in most texts)

The art, science, and technology of detecting the relative position of points at, above, or below the surface of the earth; or establishing such points.

BROADER DEFINITION (according to its true nature and scope)

Surveying Measurement:

The art, science, and technology of gathering and analyzing measurement data related to the land and other land-related surfaces and spaces, to include designing and devising the measurement specifications and standards to accomplish these measurements with the desired precision and accuracy and error control and adjustment, including the use of all instrumentation applicable to such measurements, said measurements typicaly being, but not limited to distances, heights, angles, directions, positions, areas, volumes, and other measurements associated with these quantities.

Professional Surveying:

The application of knowledge of the science of surveying measurement, the legal principles of boundary location, the laws related to boundaries and land use, the applicable mathematical and computational theories and principles, the natural and other forces which affect positional accuracy, the land planning and development concepts pertinent to subdivision of land and property surveys, land record and land tenure concepts, geodetic and other earth-related sciences to the analsys, design, and execution of surveying and mapping projects and the design of land mapping and information systems.


# 1. Original Surveys for Establishing Property Boundaries

# 2. Retracement of Property Boundaries

# 3. Field Surveys for Topographic and other Maps

# 4. Photograrnmetric Surveys for Topographic and other Maps

# 5. Construction of Maps and other Graphics for Design and Planning

# 6. Layout and Staking to Guide Construction

# 7. Measuring and Plotting the Position of Constructed Works

# 8. Geodetic and other Precise Control Surveys

# 9. Surveys for Mining and other Subsurface Operations

# 10. Hydrographic and Underwater Surveys

# 11. Making Surveys and Maps for Land Information Systems

# 12. Design of Measurement Specifications for Various Surveys

# 13. Development of Measurement Standards for Various Surveys

# 14. Application, Use, and Adjustment of Measurement Instruments

# 15. Development of Relative Geometric Positional and other Accuracy Needs for Land Information Systems.

# 16. Assisting Engineers, Lawyers, Planners, the Public, and Government Officials with the Solution of Problems Where Surveying Expertise is Needed.


1. Full understanding of the inexactness, uncertainty, and variable nature of measurement leads to humility since it teaches that one can never be sure of results. It is this very humility that, more than anything, creates the professional attitude needed to constantly seek new evidence, and consequently a higher probability of approaching the truth or proving something with confidence.

2. The surveyor is primarily an analyst. As an analyst of both measurement data and boundary location evidence (including geometric and other mathematical relationships) the surveyor is in a position to develop a keen sensitivity to the importance of finding and applying the truth.

3. A surveyor, when practicing according to the true nature of surveying, is ever seeking the truth, whether in measurement or in boundary location. Consequently, learning and applying the measurement science and the legal and other principles of boundary retracement develops character.

4. The art and science of surveying is a mirror of life itself.

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