Boundary Survey - A survey for the express purpose of locating the exact boundaries and corners of a given parcel of land. This involves record and field research, field measurements and computations with the findings usually being shown on a survey plat that is given to the land owner. A description may also be required for purposes of recording a new deed.
Location Drawings - A location drawing includes Physical Improvement Surveys, House Locations and Mortgage Loan Inspections. The purpose of a location drawing is to locate, describe and represent the positions of building(s) or other visible improvements or both, affecting the inspected property. Location drawings are not Boundary Surveys and should not be used to establish boundary lines.
Topographic Survey - A survey locating features, natural and man-made, such as elevations, contours of the land, streams, buildings, fences, etc. A combination of boundary and topographic surveying is used for design and development of roads, subdivisions, industrial construction and land use studies.
Subdivision Survey - A survey for the division of any tract of land into smaller lots, with monumentation and subdivision plan conforming to the governing ordinances, and with boundary descriptions for new deeds as required.
Control Survey - Precise location both horizontally and vertically of diverse points for mapping and orientation of aerial photographs.
Court Exhibit Survey - Analysis of various descriptions, monuments and physical features for the purpose of visual display in the courtroom.
Construction Survey - Layout for control of construction of roads, buildings, pipelines, etc.
BEFORE title in land is transferred without being clearly defined by a plat and description, and located on the surface of the earth.
BEFORE land is subdivided by deed, will, or by the court.
BEFORE land is developed by the construction of buildings, roads, fences, etc.
BEFORE a boundary dispute arises or when you believe someone is encroaching upon your land.
BEFORE timber is to be cut and removed.
The class of work and degree of accuracy often determine the method most appropriate; each offering certain limitations as to cost and need.
Compass and Tape:
Surveys with a magnetic compass and steel tape or chain. This equipment was primarily used prior to 1950. Many metes and bounds descriptions in deeds are still based on surveys performed with this equipment.
Transit and tape:
Angles are measured with the transit and distances measured with a steel tape giving an accuracy significantly greater than the methods previously listed. This permits the more precise control necessary in land subdivision planning, construction surveying, and nearly all boundary or land title surveys. This method is used for most work at this time.
Theodolite and Electronic Distance Measuring:
With this method, angles and distances are measured with a high degree of precision, and is particularly good for control surveys and large boundary surveys. The equipment is being constantly refined and its use on smaller surveys is becoming more practical all the time.
Topographic mapping may be done from aerial photographs and is particularly useful for large areas. Usually the photography is made precisely for the project involved. Accurate ground survey work must be used to establish measurements, both horizontally and vertically, to photo-identifiable points to insure scale and accuracy of the photo model.
Surveys performed using survey grade GPS (Global Positioning Systems) equipment are giving positional accuracies to +/- 1 cm. This method used in open terrain allows the surveyor to establish coordinates on the features he wishes to locate. This data is then downloaded to a computer for processing.
The cost of a land survey depends on many things, including the type of survey needed and the method used. Some variables which affect the cost of a land survey are:
It is usually impractical to pre-determine exact costs because of the many variables. However, the PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYOR or PROPERTY LINE SURVEYOR can usually furnish an approximate estimate of cost.
A good survey that meets your need and legal requirements, based on careful research, and complete and accurate field and office work, may well prove to be the least expensive in the end. In essence, you get what you pay for.
You will probably require the services of a Professional Land Surveyor or Property Line Surveyor only once or twice in your lifetime. Most generally the need arises when you buy a home or parcel of land. Since this transaction represents a large and important investment to you and your family, Howard County Department of Public Works has reprinted (in part) this pamphlet is presented as a public service.
The Professional Land Surveyor and Property Line Surveyor renders a highly technical, complex service.
Depending on the need required, he may render a complete service or be a part of a professional team comprised of the surveyor, attorney, title or Mortgage Company, engineer or architect.
In times of litigation, the Profession Land Surveyor or Property Line Surveyor is often called upon to appear in court as an expert witness because his testimony is accepted as professional evidence.
No one other than the Professional Land Surveyor or Property Line Surveyor can assume the responsibility for the correctness and accuracy of his work. A licensed Engineer or Architect cannot perform boundary or property surveys in the State of Maryland.
It is very important that your surveyor communicate with you on any conditions that may change the scope of work. It is always a good idea to ask your surveyor to keep you informed on the progress of the survey.
For a surveyor to practice or to offer to practice surveying in the State of Maryland, he must be licensed and registered under the laws of the State of Maryland as a Surveyor and possess evidence of his current license.
Only a licensed Professional Land Surveyor or Property Line Surveyor may perform boundary surveys, land title surveys and topographic surveys in the State of Maryland. A Professional Land Surveyor or Property Line Surveyor who practices in accordance with his Society’s Code of Ethics is a credit to his community, his profession, his client or employer and to himself.
Most Professional Land Surveyors or Property Line Surveyors are listed in the “Yellow Pages” or you may consult The Maryland Society of Surveyors for a list of Professional Land Surveyors or Property Line Surveyors active in your area.
In Maryland, all surveyors must follow the “Minimum Standards of Practice” as specified in Title 09; Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Subtitle 13 Board for Professional Land Surveyors; Chapter 06 Minimum Standards of Practice. A copy of this can be picked up at the Howard County Survey Division Offices, located at 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia, MD 21045, telephone 410-313-2417.
7125 Riverwood Drive, Suite B
Columbia, MD 21046
Email the Survey Division