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The Various Types of Land Surveys
Surveying can be defined as a scientific or legally sufficient method to determine the location of points on the surface of the earth, the angles formed by these points, the distance between them. According to historical records, the ancient Egyptians practiced land surveying even before the construction of the Great Pyramids. Ancient Egyptian surveyors and others interested in civil law recognized the importance of surveying in civilized society and began keeping a record of land surveys as early as 3000 BC.
As a scientific method of inquiry and investigation, land surveys incorporate elements of geometry, physics, mathematics, engineering and law into their determination. Land studies fulfill important needs in many fields. For example, geologists and cartographers use topographic surveys to create elevation maps. Archaeologists refer to current and historical surveys prior to conducting excavations.
Engineers and builders will not risk starting a new construction project without reliable on-site surveys. Real estate and mortgage professionals need to know the boundaries of the land and precisely where the structure of a building is located before closing a transaction. Title insurers, attorneys, and judges rely on the accuracy of the legal descriptions provided by a land survey to resolve property litigation issues.
The basic legal purpose of land surveying is to determine boundaries. This can be achieved by establishing where the meters and land boundaries begin and end. Civilized society has depended on the accuracy of land boundaries to respect the borders of sovereign states, jurisdictions, municipalities, land planning, and private property. To this extent, different types of surveys are used today to recognize and respect boundaries.
American Land Title Association (ALTA) survey.
In the United States, the real estate and mortgage lending industries depend on whether a property’s title is insurable or ¨marketable¨. This means whether an insurance company would consider taking on the risk of issuing a policy insuring the property or whether the land and attached structures can be easily transferred without fear of outside claims. The American Land Title Institute, together with the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the National Society of Professional Surveyors, have adopted and developed a set of minimum standard detail requirements for land surveys to be used in any legal related to transfer and transport. of real estate. The ALTA survey is essentially a boundary survey that meets and exceeds the standards set in different states. In most cases, ALTA surveys are considered legally sufficient. These comprehensive surveys require written authorization from the customer. Many important issues are addressed in ALTA surveys: boundaries, structural location, easements, encroachments, estoppels, etc.
Every country in the world has some kind of property registration system that identifies boundaries. In the United States, for example, the Public Land Survey System maintains plats, diagrams, sketches, maps, and other documents that establish the boundaries of all public and government lands in the country. This is known as the cadastral system. Local governments have an interest in surveying for tax purposes. A cadastral survey is a search carried out from the records that are kept in a public register of the property. Comprehensive surveys such as the ALTA include the cadastral survey.
Government offices that issue building permits often require a minimum of a survey or boundary sketch before allowing construction work to begin. Property lines should be clearly defined in these surveys in order to detect potential problems such as easements and encroachments.
Site planning survey
In addition to identifying boundaries and obtaining required building permits, architects and engineers will need a topographic survey that identifies elevation features in order to create a site plan. Construction of tall structures often requires review of site planning surveys prior to ground breaking.
The construction of new housing complexes that include several units arranged in neighborhood blocks often requires a parcel of land to be divided into smaller parts. For this purpose, a subdivision survey that includes topographic elements must be used. This type of survey is not only used for construction purposes. Lot layout, drainage, street access, landscaping, utility mapping and recording are also dependent on subdivision surveys.
Inspection of mortgages
In certain mortgage loan transactions, a simple review of existing surveys, public records and other legal documents may be sufficient to demonstrate ownership, easements and/or encroachments. Although mortgage inspections may include a sketch and even indicate boundaries, these are not actual surveys.
The growing popularity of geographic positioning systems has found its way into surveying. Although GPS surveys are not as comprehensive as ALTA surveys, they are being used for urban planning and to augment cadastral registration systems. Useful geographic and land information systems are based on GPS data, and these systems are increasingly used as a reference by land surveyors.
Judicial exposure or judicial search
In property litigation, a court may appoint an expert surveyor to provide a careful and detailed analysis of legal descriptions, prior surveys, maps, recorded documents and other existing evidence to resolve a real estate dispute.
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