Land Survey: What You Need to Know

A land survey is an important part of the project design process, but many people are not sure what they need to know. This article explains the basics of the land survey including why it is essential, its different types, and what tools to use!

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What is a Land Survey?

A land survey is a process of measuring and mapping the features of a parcel of land for engineering, construction, and other projects. Using principles of geometry, land surveying professionals use specialized tools and equipment to capture data on elevations, acreages, contours, and more.

The end result is a detailed survey report which can be used for legal purposes or other ventures that involve the land. Given the rapidly growing population and ever-changing landscape, land surveys are becoming increasingly essential of public and private interests.

How Do You Survey the Land?

In order to conduct a land survey, there are three factors that need to be considered. These are:

  • The level of detail needed for the survey
  • The size of the area to be surveyed
  • The accuracy required for the survey

Depending on these factors, different surveying methods can be used. For example, if a high level of detail is required and the area to be surveyed is small, then a ground survey would be most appropriate. If a lower level of detail is required and the area to be surveyed is large, then an aerial survey may be be more appropriate.

Why Have Land Surveyed?

So why do you need your land survey? If you are an individual or part of a business entity thatowns a land, a land survey can help you determine the boundaries of your property and mark them out.

If you are considering purchasing a piece of land, a survey can also help identify any potential problems with the property, such as encroaching structures or boundary disputes. Homebuyers will also need a survey before buying a home to identify the property lines and ensure that there are no major issues with the land.

Who Surveys the Land?

Land surveyors are responsible for measuring and mapping out parcels of land. They use surveying equipment to measure distances, heights, and angles between points on the ground.

This information is used to create detailed maps of the property. Land surveyors may also be involved in the land subdivision, topographic mapping, and other land-related tasks.

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What are the Types of Land Surveys?

There are several types of land surveys which include:

1. Boundary Survey

A boundary survey is used to locate the corners and boundary lines of a parcel of land. This type of survey involves both record and field research, including any measurements and computations needed to set the boundary lines in accordance with applicable state laws. A boundary survey may also involve locating easement lines and encroachments.

2. Topographical Survey

A topographic survey is used to find both natural and man-made features on a parcel of land. A topographic survey may be required by a state or local government agency, or it might be used by architects or engineers for planning site improvements or developments.

This is a survey that is conducted to identify land features including elevations, contours, and slopes.

3. Construction Survey

Any construction project will require a construction survey. This process involves staking out the structures located on the property, including walls, buildings, roads, and utilities. Staking helps construction personnel understand where they need to place improvements based on the development plans for the land use.

4. ALTA/ACSM Survey

This survey is meant to provide a title company and/or lender with the data they need to issue an American Land Title Association or Extended Coverage Title Insurance policy. It usually shows how existing improvements on a property relate to the boundaries set in its deed.

This is a survey that is conducted to establish the boundary and title of a parcel of land, as well as to identify any potential risks to the property.

5. Mortgage Location Survey

A location survey is a useful tool for understanding the layout of your interior improvements. This type of survey is often used to comply with zoning permit or loan application requirements.

6. Site Planning Survey

Site planning surveys are used to plan design improvements and developments before construction begins. They are a combination of boundary and topographic surveys and are often a requirement for development permit applications.

7. Subdivision Survey

A subdivision survey, also known as a partition survey, is an important tool for dividing land into smaller parcels. This type of survey is recorded by the local and state government agency to design streets and drainage systems in the area. 


Yes! It is typically done using GPS technology as provides accurate results in surveying and mapping data.

Today, there are now several land surveying applications that you use to make it to survey your land. Just download it and use it along with your phone’s GPS to utilize the app’s features.

Land glide is one of the most accurate land survey app used by many people today.

Yes, just like any area inspections, surveying in unsafe environments can be dangerous. This is why it is essential to always follow safety protocols when working in these types of areas.

SafetyCulture Content Team
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SafetyCulture Content Team
The SafetyCulture content team is dedicated to providing high-quality, easy-to-understand information to help readers understand complex topics and improve workplace safety and quality. Our team of writers have extensive experience at producing articles for different fields such as safety, quality, health, and compliance.