Land & Mapping Services is a local surveying and mapping firm based in Clearfield, PA. We have over 100 years of combined experience in the Surveying field. Our office holds Professional Surveying Licenses in ten East Coast states. We also offer GPS (Global Positioning System) services, CADD (Computer Aided Drafting and Design) Services, Professional Forestry and Photogrammetric Mapping.
Land surveying involves more than just shooting points with a telescope mounted on a tripod. Retracing a boundary line for a piece of land begins far from that parcel. The initial task of a surveying job is often research.
When a parcel is sold the deed of the property must be recorded at the county courthouse. Over time, this creates a chain of deeds as parcels are sold, divided or combined over time. In order to correctly locate your property's boundary and corners a surveyor will commonly research the deeds of your and your neighbors' parcels. Often all may be traced back to one common parent tract that was divided many years ago. To settle disputes over the actual locations of property boundaries may require deeds to be traced back further than the number of years required by law.
Armed with the historical record from the deed search, the surveyor is prepared to head to the field. The first stop may not even be a point on the client's property. In order to begin the survey, the surveyor must reference an identifiable permanent monument. Lacking this, deeds may reference corners of adjoining parcels, whose deeds were researched earlier. The surveyor may traverse several parcels boundaries to "bring control" into a client's parcel.
The modern surveyor's tool is the total station. This tool includes precise angle and distance measuring instruments in one unit. The total station is used with data collectors, portable field computers which store the data in digital form. After surveying a parcel, the surveyor will download coordinates to coordinate geometry (COGO) software to create a plat of the parcel. In conjunction with the total station operated by the surveyor, the a prism mounted on a pole is moved from point to point by a crew member often referred to as the "rodperson." The total station sends a beam of light to the prism, which reflects it back upon itself to the total station. The beam of light is coded such that the instrument can determine the time interval it took for the light to travel out to the prism and back. From this time interval the total station calculates the distance from it to the prism. At the same time, the instrument measures the angle from the previous point.
The surveyor starts at a known point and sights on the prism located at the next point. The distance to the prism is recorded. Then the total station is moved forward and set up over the point previously occupied by the prism. After shooting the distance to the prism at the beginning, the surveyor "turns" the angle between the last and next point and then measures the distance to next point along the traverse. This process is repeated as the survey crew traverses around the property.
The level of precision achieved during surveys performed with modern total station instruments often makes the deed descriptions of surveys performed with earlier surveying instruments obsolete. While even quite early theodolites were capable of measuring angles quite precisely, the contemporary distance measuring instruments were often quite imprecise. Another difficulty involved in following old deed descriptions is the use of cardinal compass directions, for example "northerly", to describe the direction of the property line. Attempting to locate property corners by strictly following old deeds is sometimes impossible.
The nature of some deeds makes locating old monuments, fences and other witnesses to property corners very important. Considering the nature of older surveys, it may be impossible to locate corners to survey solely from the previous deed descriptions. The surveyor must then fit old deeds to the monuments and other witnesses to corners that mark the property boundaries.
Boundary Retracement Surveys
Surveyor and Total Station
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300 North Second Street
Clearfield, PA 16830
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