Land Surveying FAQ

What is a Land Surveyor?

Land Surveyor is the title given to an individual that has met the requirements of the licensing board of the state.  Those requirements include education, experience, and successfully passing tests administered by the state.

What is a property line?

A property line, or the property boundary to a Land Surveyor, is the perimeter of the land described in your deed.

Why does it seem to take the surveyor so long to locate my property boundary?

The Land Surveyor collects evidence necessary to be confident that he is retracing the property boundary.  Sometimes that evidence is hard to find or missing. The Land Surveyor also collects evidence of the surrounding properties to see how it all "fits" together.

What is a Retracement Survey?

A Retracement Survey is completed by a Land Surveyor to find original property boundaries.  We call this "following the footsteps" of the original surveyor for the property.

Why should I have a Retracement Survey done?

You should have a Retracement Survey done to verify and monument your existing property boundary.  This is particularly important if you are placing a fence or structure on your property.

What is a plat?

A plat is a surveyor's drawing that shows the information related to the property survey.

When does a Land Surveyor have to create a plat?

State law requires that a plat be drawn for every property survey.

What is a subdivision plat?

A subdivision plat is created when a tract of land is subdivided and/or required by the government.  A subdivision plat has a name attached to it and shows how the land was subdivided.

Where can I find a copy of my subdivision plat?

A copy of your subdivision plat can be obtained at the Recorder's Office in the county where you live.

What is a Section Corner?

A Section Corner is a part of the U.S. Land Survey System.  Here in Iowa the original government surveyors established a system of rectangular surveys in the 1830's to the 1860's.  They monumented the location of each Section Corner and Quarter Section Corner along the outside of each section.  Throughout the years Land Surveyors have tried to perpetuate that same location.

What is a Section Corner certificate?

The Section Corner certificate is a surveyor's drawing that shows other Land Surveyors how to find a particular Section Corner.  A Section Corner certificate is required by the State for every Section Corner used by a Land Surveyor.



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