Land Survey Types

Land Survey Types

Land Survey Types

Land Survey Types – There are many types of land surveys in the land surveying area of business. Today, we would like to share the basics of the 5 types of land surveys that are in the land surveying field. The five are land surveys and what they are. The second is a property survey. Next, we will address what a topography survey is and what you can do with one. Next we will talk a little more about what as-built surveys are. Finally, we will spend some time on what ALTA surveys are and why people request them. For generic information, feel free to visit this link for more information.

Land Survey

A land survey is the most basic type of survey, yet is probably the one that is requested the most. When people request a land survey, they are wanting to hire a land surveyor to stake or pin the corners of their property. Land surveys and property surveys are almost, if not the same thing. We will talk about that a little later, but land surveys are the most requested types of surveys on the market.

When you hire a land surveyor to survey or land, they should provide you with the following items. A land survey occurs in two main places. Firstly, the land survey takes place on the land that is being surveyed. There the land surveyor will locate the existing items on the property and will then place stakes or pins on the corners of the property, as per the legal description that is found in the county recorders office.

It also takes place on paper. By this we mean that with each land survey the land surveyor provides a survey plat that shows how the property falls within the existing use of the property. It also describes that the land surveyor did and what they placed on each corner of the property.

Property Survey

A property survey as was indicated above is very similar to a land survey. A property survey in tales the staking and platting of the property as above detailed. Sometimes people refer to land or to property, but for our purposes, they are one in the same.

Topography Survey

A topography survey is really an elevation survey. Sometimes in the land surveying field, we refer to these as x,y,z meaning that we are providing coordinates for all 3 spheres. Making the paper now become a 3D object.

Here we provide elevations on everything that is existing on the property. A topography survey provides an elevation for the raw ground as well. Once all of these coordinates are provided, the data is taken into the land surveyors desk, and they begin to work on the map.

A topography survey maps shows contours on the ground. These contours are provided in 1-2 foot increments, depending on the slope of the ground. The steeper the ground, the higher the foot number is. For example, if there is a piece of ground that rises 30 feet over the land, most likely the contours would be placed in 2 foot intervals.

As-Built Surveys

As-built surveys are land surveys that provide information on new items that were just built, installed and or provided. This survey takes places after a siteplan, subdivision have been approved and built according to engineered plans. A land surveyor then goes out and provides a real time coordinates on those items.

An As-built survey is usually requested by either the governmental agency or the financing lender of the particular project. As-built surveys are fairly easy to accomplish, being that a land survey and site plan drawings were already completed.

ALTA Survey

An ALTA survey is the highest quality survey and requires the most time to gather the requested information on any particular piece of land or project. These surveys are almost always required by lenders, financial investors and government entities. An ALTA survey are usually tied in with land surveys of property surveys. In addition to those standard surveys, there are lists of additional items that can be chosen from the lending group. Items such as:



NOTE:  The twenty (20) items of Table A may be negotiated between the surveyor and client. Anyadditional items negotiated between the surveyor and client shall be identified as 21(a), 21(b), etc. and explained pursuant to Section 6.D.ii.(g). Notwithstanding Table A Items 5 and 11, if an engineering design survey is desired as part of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, such services should be negotiated under Table A, Item 21.

If checked, the following optional items are to be included in the ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEY, except as otherwise qualified (see note above):

1.         _____   Monuments placed (or a reference monument or witness to the corner) at all major corners of the boundary of the property, unless already marked or referenced by existing monuments or witnesses in close proximity to the corner.

2.         _____   Address(es) of the surveyed property if disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor, or observed while conducting the fieldwork.

3.         _____   Flood zone classification (with proper annotation based on federal Flood Insurance Rate Maps or the state or local equivalent) depicted by scaled map location and graphic plotting only.

4.         _____   Gross land area (and other areas if specified by the client).

5.         _____   Vertical relief with the source of information (e.g., ground survey, aerial map), contour interval, datum, and originating benchmark identified.

6.         _____   (a) If set forth in a zoning report or letter provided to the surveyor by the client, list the current zoning classification, setback requirements, the height and floor space area restrictions, and parking requirements. Identify the date and source of the report or letter.

_____   (b) If the zoning setback requirements are set forth in a zoning report or letter provided to the surveyor by the client, and if those requirements do not require an interpretation by the surveyor, graphically depict the building setback requirements. Identify the date and source of the report or letter.

7.         _____   (a) Exterior dimensions of all buildings at ground level.

                        (b) Square footage of:

                        _____   (1) exterior footprint of all buildings at ground level.

                        _____   (2) other areas as specified by the client.

            _____   (c) Measured height of all buildings above grade at a location specified by the client. If no location is specified, the point of measurement shall be identified.

8.         _____   Substantial features observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork (in addition to the improvements and features required pursuant to Section 5 above) (e.g., parking lots, billboards, signs, swimming pools, landscaped areas, substantial areas of refuse).

9.         _____   Number and type (e.g., disabled, motorcycle, regular and other marked specialized types) of clearly identifiable parking spaces on surface parking areas, lots and in parking structures. Striping of clearly identifiable parking spaces on surface parking areas and lots.

10.        _____   (a) As designated by the client, a determination of the relationship and location of certain division or party walls with respect to adjoining properties (client to obtain necessary permissions).

            _____   (b) As designated by the client, a determination of whether certain walls are plumb (client to obtain necessary permissions).

11.        _____   Location of utilities existing on or serving the surveyed property as determined by:

  • observed evidence collected pursuant to Section 5.E.iv.  evidence from plans requested by the surveyor and obtained from utility companies, or provided by client (with reference as to the sources of information), and markings requested by the surveyor pursuant to an 811 utility locate or similar request

                        Representative examples of such utilities include, but are not limited to:

                        ·           Manholes, catch basins, valve vaults and other surface indications of subterranean uses;

                        ·           Wires and cables (including their function, if readily identifiable) crossing the surveyed property, and all poles on or within ten feet of the surveyed property. Without expressing a legal opinion as to the ownership or nature of the potential encroachment, the dimensions of all encroaching utility pole crossmembers or overhangs; and

                        ·           Utility company installations on the surveyed property.

                        Note to the client, insurer, and lender – With regard to Table A, item 11, source information from plans and markings will be combined with observed evidence of utilities pursuant to Section 5.E.iv. to develop a view of the underground utilities.  However, lacking excavation, the exact location of underground features cannot be accurately, completely, and reliably depicted.  In addition, in some jurisdictions, 811 or other similar utility locate requests from surveyors may be ignored or result in an incomplete response, in which case the surveyor shall note on the plat or map how this affected the surveyor’s assessment of the location of the utilities. Where additional or more detailed information is required, the client is advised that excavation and/or a private utility locate request may be necessary.

12.        _____   As specified by the client, Governmental Agency survey-related requirements (e.g., HUD surveys, surveys for leases on Bureau of Land Management managed lands).

13.        _____   Names of adjoining owners according to current tax records.  If more than one owner, identify the first owner’s name listed in the tax records followed by “et al.”

14.        _____   As specified by the client, distance to the nearest intersecting street.

15.        _____   Rectified orthophotography, photogrammetric mapping, remote sensing, airborne/mobile laser scanning and other similar products, tools or technologies as the basis for the showing the location of certain features (excluding boundaries) where ground measurements are not otherwise necessary to locate those features to an appropriate and acceptable accuracy relative to a nearby boundary.  The surveyor shall (a) discuss the ramifications of such methodologies (e.g., the potential precision and completeness of the data gathered thereby) with the insurer, lender, and client prior to the performance of the survey, and (b) place a note on the face of the survey explaining the source, date, precision, and other relevant qualifications of any such data.

16.        _____   Evidence of recent earth moving work, building construction, or building additions observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

17.        _____   Proposed changes in street right of way lines, if such information is made available to the surveyor by the controlling jurisdiction. Evidence of recent street or sidewalk construction or repairs observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

18.        _____   If there has been a field delineation of wetlands conducted by a qualified specialist hired by the client, the surveyor shall locate any delineation markers observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork and show them on the face of the plat or map. If no markers were observed, the surveyor shall so state.

19.        _____   Include any plottable offsite (i.e., appurtenant) easements or servitudes disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor as a part of the survey pursuant to Sections 5 and 6 (and applicable selected Table A items) (client to obtain necessary permissions).

20.        _____   Professional Liability Insurance policy obtained by the surveyor in the minimum amount of $____________ to be in effect throughout the contract term. Certificate of Insurance to be furnished upon request, but this item shall not be addressed on the face of the plat or map.

21.        _____   ___________________________________________________________________

Adopted by the Board of Governors, American Land Title Association, on October 8, 2015.

American Land Title Association, 1800 M St., N.W., Suite 300S, Washington, D.C. 20036-5828.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, National Society of Professional Surveyors, on October 9, 2015.

National Society of Professional Surveyors, Inc., 5119 Pegasus Court, Suite Q, Frederick, MD 21704.


There are many land survey types. Each with there different role to play, they provide great information to a given piece of land or property. To learn more about our services, be sure to visit our land surveyor main web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *