Land Surveying Terms

Surveying is a legal description
completed by a surveyor of a piece
of property. This should include all
dimensions, headings, and any
recorded easements or right of
ways or encroachments.
Surveying Term  Legal Description is a method of describing a particular parcel of land in such a way that it uniquely
describes the particular parcel and no other. A legal description may be a simple reference to a lot as shown on a
subdivision plat, or be described by metes and bounds. To be adequate, it should be sufficient to locate the property
without oral testimony
Surveying Term   Property Line is the boundary of a piece property. It is normally noted on a survey with its directional
heading and length. When a surveyor comes out to stake out a piece of property, these stakes would determine the actual
property lines and boundaries.
Surveying Term  Monument is an object placed to mark the physical location of a position. A property corner monument
is often a length of iron rod driven vertically into the ground so that the top is at or below natural grade. A cap identifying
the registration number of the surveyor responsible for placing the monument may be placed atop the monument
Set back is the Surveying Term used to describe the distance a structure should be from the property lines. These are
usually the minimum distances. These distances are part of a city's zoning restrictions or recorded with a subdivisions plat,
property lines and boundaries.
Surveying Term  Flood Plane is a term used to describe the greatest height water has reached during a flood. These
heights are kept as matter of record by cities and counties. The recorded heights normally date back 50 to 100 years.
They are referred to as a 50 and 100 year flood plane.
Surveying Term  Recorded refers to the process of recording all legal information pertaining to description of a piece of
property. This information is a matter of public record and is kept on file in the county or city where it is located.
Surveying Term  Elevation usually pertains to height of a point above sea level. This point could be used to describe
the height of a piece of property above sea level or the main floor level of a new house.
Surveying Term  Hub and Tack is used to describe the process of a surveyor determining points by placing wood hubs.
Once the hub is driven in the ground, a metal tack is placed in the top of the hub to give a pinpoint location of a point.
Surveying Term  Site Plan is a plan showing all property lines, dimensions, and proposed or existing improvements.
Detailed site plans will show all information pertaining to utilities and site drainage
Foot Print is Surveying Term   used to refer to the outermost boundaries or perimeter walls of a building. This will
include all exterior walls and will help to determine correct placement of the house on the property.
Survey Terms
Surveying Term  Heading refers to magnetic direction of a property line as related to compass heading.
Survey Term  Utility Easement is the use of a portion of property for some stated purpose without compensation.
Easements are not estates in that they do not convey ownership, but rather the use of the property in so far as needed
for a stated purpose.
Land Survey Term  Topo is a map that present the horizontal and vertical positions of the features of the represented
piece of property. This type of map is very important in areas in a flood plane.
Survey Term  Contours define a line of equal elevation on a topo map or plat
Land Survey Term  Legal Description is a method of describing a particular parcel of land in such a way that it
uniquely describes the particular parcel and no other. A legal description may be a simple reference to a lot as shown on
a subdivision plat, or be described by metes and bounds. To be adequate, it should be sufficient to locate the property
without oral testimony
Survey Term  As Built survey is performed to obtain horizontal and/or vertical dimensional data so that constructed
improvements may be located and delineated
Land Survey Term  Tolerance is a mathematical term indicating the allowable variation from a standard or from
specified conditions. It is an indication of the accuracy and the precision of a measurement
Survey Term  Construction Survey are measurements made, while construction is in process, to control elevation, horizontal position and
dimensions, and configuration; to determine adequacy of completion; and to obtain essential dimensions for construction pay quantities.
Land Survey Term  Gunter's Chain is a historic land surveying measurement. It is much like the 10 yard long chain used in football games to
determine a first down. A Gunter’s Chain consists of 100 links and each link is 0.6 feet long. Therefore a Gunter’s Chain is sixty six (66) feet.
Survey Term  Chain is a unit of lineal measure equal to 66 feet
Survey Term  Station is a computed or surveyed point; normally by standard measurement intervals along a defined centerline.
Rod is a lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet
Survey Term  Toe refers to the lowest or bottom edge of a land bank or slope.
Invert refers to the flow line in a storm drain or sewer manhole. The invert forms a definite flow line that matches the flow of the storm drain or
sewer pipe
Survey Term  Mean Sea Level is the elevation that is measured and averaged over specific period of time
Survey Term  Transit is an instrument used by surveyors to determine the location, heading, and dimensions of a piece of property. From
existing benchmarks, surveyors can locate the latitude and longitude location. They can determine the magnetic heading of each property line
with its associated length.
Land Surveying Term Easement is a recorded right of way to be used for utilities or any other purpose. This easement could be used for
present or future use.
Surveying Term  Acre is an area measurement of land. An acre measures 43,560 square feet.
Benchmark is a mark on a permanent object indicating elevation and serving as a reference in topographic surveys and tidal observations
Right Of Way is a recorded right to use or travel over a specified area or strip of land. Most commonly it refers to land on which a street,
sidewalk or railroad is located. It can also be occupied by utilities, transmission lines, oil or gas pipelines, drainage ways or similar facilities,
although pathways for these facilities are more commonly referred to as easements.
Surveying Term  Covenants are rules and regulations recorded as part of a sub-division. These could regulate the style and size of
homes to be built. Also, they could regulate fences, sheds, property use, etc.
Survey Term  Plat is a print of lot or subdivision showing buildings, roads, and any present or future improvements
Surveying Term  Hub is a term used to describe wood stake used to give reference to an elevation or to place a tack for pinpoint location.
Surveying Term  Zoning refers to areas of a city or county can be divided into zones for a particular use. These zones are recorded and a
matter of public record. A zoning committee normally governs the rules and regulations of these zones. Zones pertain to commercial,
residential, industrial, etc.
Survey Term  Lot is a specific piece of land and is normally a part of recorded sub-division.
Surveying Term  Laser is an instrument used to set up points of the same level for a foundation. The level can also be used to determine
differences in elevation of points in order to possibly determine slope.
Zero Lot Line is a term used to describe subdivisions that require no side yard setback.
Surveying Term  Encroachment means that a structure has been built inside the normal setback or easement.
Surveying Term  Variance gives the right to do something that is normally not allowed. This could pertain to a building setback or a particular
use of property.
Category Construction Glossary