There are many parts involved in the area of land surveying and it takes years of training and experience to learn about it all.
The following are eight common terms that are used land surveying.
1) Base plan
2) Stake-out survey
3) As-built survey
4) Legal description
5) Boundary survey
1. Base plan
The base plan is the existing conditions plan that is created from the initial full topographic survey of a property. This plan would include existing buildings, walls, waterways, trees, and contours along with the boundary information for the site.
It is this plan that a civil engineer would use as the base for planning and designing a new land development project.
2. Stake-out survey
A stake-out survey is the surveying of what is proposed for construction which could include building corners, paving edges, and stormwater management basins. This survey allows for a project to be built according to an approved plan.
3. As-built survey
After a project is constructed, an as-built plan might be required by the reviewing municipality to show that what was built matches what was on the approved plan. An as-built survey is the surveying of a site after construction that is used to create the as-built plan.
4. Legal description
A legal description is a written document that describes in detail the property boundary lines or easements by the lengths, orientations, and areas of those boundaries or easements.
A land surveyor might have to read legal descriptions that have to be accounted for in a base plan. A surveyor might also have to create new legal descriptions for proposed property boundaries and easements.
5. Boundary survey
A boundary survey is the survey of and marking of either existing or proposed property boundaries. Existing or proposed legal descriptions would be used to survey the boundary lines before verifying the existence of existing monuments, pins, or other property markers or before placing new property markers.
A benchmark is a reference point within the surveyed site with a measured elevation. The reason for having a established benchmark is so that anyone else who does survey work for this particular site has a way to verify the accuracy of the new survey or to be able to adjust the new survey to match the original survey.
The datum used for a land survey is the coordinate system used for the survey. Any plan involving a land survey should have a note regarding which horizontal datum and vertical datum were used for the survey.
A monument is a concrete structure that is buried into the ground usually at a property corner. A land surveyor might have to either locate existing monuments on a site or place new monuments. The new monuments could be for existing property corners that do not already have a monument or for proposed property corners.
Why You Should Leave Land Surveying to the Professionals
Land surveying is something to be left to a professional because of all of the various components of the work involved. Some reviewing municipalities might even require that you hire the services of a licensed surveyor.
Related: The Land Surveying Process (In 8 Steps)