Help us help you. Please read this PropertyLineMaps FAQ before placing your order.
Q: I saw a different website that looks similar to this one. Can you explain?
A: The website you are presently looking at is PropertyLineMaps.com and is formatted for desktops, laptops and large tablets. We also have a second website at FindPropertyLines.com. This second website is meant for mobile devices and uses "responsive" web design techniques which change the position of the content to best fit the size of screen you are using. You can use this other website with any size screen and the content will look good and the site will be easy to use. We are going to keep the original website since it has some additional content that is not on the second site.
General questions about our property line map service
Q: How much does this cost?
A: We will quote the base price of $74.98 for most inquiries. If your property has a long legal description or some other extra complexity, then more work is required and we will quote a higher price.
Q: What do land surveyors think about your business?
A: Some land surveyors agree that people can have legitimate reasons for wanting an online map that shows approximate property corners and lines. Other land surveyors intentionally misrepresent our service as providing exact coordinates for property corners. Those surveyors refuse to acknowledge that people can have legitimate reasons for wanting the approximate coordinates we provide. Reminder: If you need to locate your exact property corners and lines on the ground then please contact a licensed land surveyor.
Q: Where is your service available?
A: Our service is available for land everywhere in the USA. Our service is also available outside the USA if (1) you can provide a legible survey and (2) the google aerial that shows your land is reasonably high quality.
Q: I do not have a survey. Can you process my property?
A: Our system can process most property as long as we have good data. If you send us the legal description as it appears on your deed then we will tell you if we can process your land. There is no cost or obligation to you for having us review your information.
Q: Are there some properties where your system cannot produce approximate GPS coordinates?
A: Yes. It all depends on the information we have to work with. Less than 5% of the time we have to tell the client that there is some problem that prevents us from producing approximate coordinates for their land that meet our standards.
Q: Can you provide an example of a legal description for which you might not be able to provide approximate coordinates?
A: Consider the following legal description:
Beginning at a concrete monument on the west line of land owned by Kearse and then westerly for 600 feet more-or-less to the center of a stream and then northerly along the center of the stream to land owned by Sweeney and then easterly 325 feet more-or-less along the boundary line of the Sweeney land to the land owned by Kearse and then southerly and easterly along the edge of the Kearse land to the point of beginning.
It is impossible for us to make a decent map of this land if the only information available is this legal description. The property lines for the subject property are based on the location of land owned by Kearse and land owned by Sweeney. However, no information at all about these other parcels is disclosed. Also this legal description does not have a single actual compass bearing.
Q: If I place an order with you, what exactly do I get?
A: After your order is processed you get an email that includes a link you can click that displays an online map showing your approximate property lines. Instructions are included for areas that have spotty cell service or no cell service at all. Here is an example of what you get.
Q: When you say the land corner coordinates that your service produces are "approximate", what does that mean?
A: There will always be some error in the coordinates we produce but there is no practical way to put a number on that error amount. We will always do our best to produce the most accurate coordinates possible given the information that you provide plus any online research we perform. In general, a survey with lots of information in addition to the basic property boundary will help us produce more accurate coordinates. If your goal is to find 'lost' survey stakes, then our coordinates will get you close but you still may need to search a bit and might need to use a metal detector.
Q: Do you visit my property?
A: No. We do not visit your property. Instead, we can import a copy of your survey or legal description into our system. By processing your survey or legal description with our proprietary software we can produce approximate coordinates for your property corners.
Q: Can you provide an online map link showing the approximate boundary lines for remote property that is a long way from anywhere?
A: Yes. If for some reason we cannot produce coordinates for your property that meet our standards then we will tell you and there is no cost or obligation to you.
Q: There is no cell service on my land. Can your property maps work offline?
A: Yes, we can make a map that will work offline on both iOS and Android. The map will show your approximate property lines and include the geolocation feature.
Q: Can your service make a map for property that is 1,000 or more acres and that is spread over several sections?
A: Yes. Here is an example showing 1,401 acres in South Dakota.
Q: Can your service give me a online map link that will show the approximate property lines for a mining claim?
A: Yes. Send us as much of the information as possible that is listed on our order page. Any kind of survey is particularly useful.
Q: I own a lot in a subdivision. Can you produce an online map link for my property?
A: Yes. If at all possible, please send us a legible scanned copy of the entire survey for the subdivision. Alternatively, you can send us a legible photograph of the survey showing your lot and several of the adjoining lots. If you send us a photo, please tell us it is a photo and not a scan. We will do our evaluation and might request some additional information.
Q: What are your 'Terms of Service'?
A: Please see:
Comparing our custom maps to county GIS parcel line data
Q: What are some of the problems with county parcel line data?
A: Our system of making a custom map just for your property will almost always produce a more accurate and useful map than the county GIS parcel line data for the following reasons.
1. A custom map we produce for your property will show the location of all property pins. County GIS parcel line data does not show the location of survey markers. If there are survey pins along a straight section of one of your property lines or there is a survey pin where there is a slight bend in one of your property lines, then you will not see that detail in the county parcel line data or in the data sold by onX, etc.
The following link displays a map we produced for a client. There are multiple survey markers along the west and north property lines. If you only look at the county parcel line data then you will not even know that those survey markers exist let alone how to find them.
2. Our custom maps will have the correct shape of your property. This is because we use either a survey map that you send to us or we enter your legal description into the Net Deed Plotter software which then makes an accurate drawing similar to a survey map. County GIS parcel maps often distort property lines. Sometimes the distortion is small. Other times the distortion is large.
The following link displays a property line map we produced for a client with land in Pennsylvania. Our work produced the red property lines which show the correct shape of the property based on a survey the client provided. The green lines are the county GIS parcel line data. Note (1) how the county parcel line data has distorted the shape of the property and (2) does not show the location of the survey stakes along the east and west property lines.
3. Our custom maps will have the most accurate position for your property lines that is possible given the data we have available. County parcel line data can be offset from the correct location. The following link displays a property line map we produced for a client with land in California. Our work produced the red property lines based on the legal description shown on the client's deed. The other lines are the county GIS parcel line data. Note that the GIS parcel lines go through many homes in the neighborhood since they are offset from the correct location.
If you drag this map around then you will see many places where county parcel lines go through homes and obviously are offset from their correct location.
Here is another example of GIS parcel lines that are seriously wrong. The white lines are the GIS data. We produced the red lines from a survey the client provided.
Limitations of our service
Q: I have a property line dispute with my neighbor. Can your service help me?
A: Maybe. If there are survey stakes marking the property line then we can definitely help you find the stakes. No, the data we produce is not survey-grade, however for many purposes it is close enough. But if your property is not surveyed and you need to know exactly where your property corners and lines are located, then you need to contact a surveyor. While the online map links we produce are not surveys they can help you decide whether or not you need to hire a surveyor.
Q: My property has never been surveyed. Can I use the coordinates you provide to mark my property corners on the ground?
A: No. There are two reasons for this. First, the coordinates we provide are only approximate. Second, it might be a violation of state law for anyone, even the property owner, to mark their property corners on the ground unless they are a licensed surveyor. If your goal is to get your property corners accurately marked on the ground then you must hire a surveyor.
Q: Can I use your coordinates to determine if my neighbor's building or my neighbor's road is on my land?
A: No. The only way to know for certain whether anything like a building or road is on the wrong side of the property line is to know the exact location of the property line. The only way to know that exact location is to hire a surveyor.
Q: Do the approximate corner coordinates your service produces establish the corners for a piece of property that has not been surveyed?
A: No. In order to establish property corners on the ground you need to be a licensed surveyor.
Ordering GPS coordinates for your property corners
Q: Why can't I pay you at the same time that I send you all the information about the property?
A: There will always be some property where there simply is not enough information for us to be able to produce approximate corner coordinates that meet our standards. We want to review your information and tell you whether we can do the work before you pay us.
Q: How long does this take?
A: After you send us the information about your property we will respond within 24 hours and tell if we can provide you with approximate GPS coordinates for the property corners that meet our standards. If you have a gmail account our reply might be in your spam folder. In some cases we might ask you to first send us some additional information. After we have reviewed all the information and determined that we can process the property, then our goal is to send you the results the next day after we receive payment. Special order maps might take an extra day. When you make your payment, PayPal automatically sends us an email. We will then send you a short 'thank you' email and let you know when your map will be produced.
Q: I do not have a survey and am going to send you the legal description instead. Where can I find my property legal description?
A: The property deed is the best place to find the legal description. The second best place to find the legal description is the local property tax records. Sometimes tax records use an abbreviated form of the legal description that leaves out important information that appears on the deed.
Q: My property was surveyed but I do not have a copy of the survey map. Can you provide GPS corner coordinates?
A: Send us a copy of the legal description for the property. We will review that and let you know if we can process your property. Sometimes we will make a suggestion on where you might be able to find a copy of your survey.
Q: How can I tell if my property has been surveyed?
A: Look at your legal description. If you see a series of distances that are given to the nearest 1/100th of a foot (i.e. 251.78), then your property was surveyed. If you do not see distances like that, then you cannot make any conclusion about surveys.
Q: If I send you a copy of my survey, what do you do with it?
A: We use our proprietary software to make an approximate digital copy of your survey. Our internal processes then use that digital copy of your survey as part of the process to produce the approximate corner coordinates for your land.
Q: I can take a nice photograph of the survey and send you that picture. Why do you prefer a scanned copy of any survey?
A: If we have a scanned copy of a survey then we will import that file into our software where it is processed. We cannot do that with a photograph since no matter how careful you are it is impossible to take a photo of a survey without distorting the lines. The newer copy machines now let you save a PDF file on your own memory device that you plug into the copy machine.
Q: I am going to take a photograph of my survey for your initial review. Do you have any advice?
A: Please take one photograph per page. Include the entire page in the photo. Photograph all of the pages even those that only have text. Review the photos before you send them to us. If you cannot look at the photo and read the fine print on the survey then neither can we. If the survey is quite large you could take several overlapping photos.
Q: Why do you only accept payment through PayPal?
A: That is the easiest, most efficient and cheapest way for you to pay us. It costs you nothing. You do not need a PayPal account.
Q: If I pay you and for some reason you discover that you cannot do the work after all, do I get a refund?
A: Yes, you get a prompt 100% refund.
Q: Do you accept checks?
Q: Do you have a business license?
A: Yes. Our Washington State business registration number is 602959597 and our business name is Mapping Support.
Q: Are you required to collect Washington State sales tax?
A: No. The Washington State officials reviewed our business and determined that our services are exempt from the state sales tax.
Questions about the online map link
Q: Your homepage says that most online maps use something called "map-in-a-link". What does that mean?
A: The online map is displayed by the GISsurfer software we developed. We provide you with a link that you can open with your cell phone, tablet, laptop or PC. That link will start GISsurfer and display a map with your approximate property lines. The corner coordinates that help to produce that map are built right into the GISsurfer link that we deliver to you. This is what we mean by "map-in-a-link". A separate data file is *not* needed to hold your approximate coordinates. Below is an example showing you how a typical "map-in-a-link" looks.
https://mappingsupport.com/p2/gissurfer.php?data=//Not_a_survey___Coordinates_are_approximate|| description=plm2|| label=on|| line=on|| 44.569128,-85.134233^1|| 44.569105,-85.12916^2|| 44.565483,-85.129117^3|| 44.56551,-85.134168^4|| 44.569128,-85.134233
Q: Can a property line map display contour lines on top of the Google aerial?
A: Yes. Each map has two buttons in the lower right corner (mobile) or upper right corner (laptop/desktop). One button says "Menu" and the other button has the name of the current basemap.
- Touch/click the basemap button.
- Mobile user: Scroll down to the "Overlay" section. Non-mobile user: Look at the column labeled "Overlays".
- Tap or click both contour overlays. It might take a few seconds for that data to appear on the map.
Q: Can I use the GISsurfer software for other things besides viewing property line maps?
A: Yes. GISsurfer is a general purpose web map that anyone can use for any non-commercial purpose. If you would like to find out more about it, here is the homepage: https://gissurfer.com.
Q: I noticed that GISsurfer maps that are *not* displaying property lines have more basemaps available. Why is that?
A: Those additional basemaps are owned by the ESRI company and it would require a more expensive license to display those basemaps for a commercial purpose..
Q: What cell phones do you recommend to find approximate property lines and property corners?
A: An iPhone 4s or newer is fine. Most Android phones made in 2012 or more recently are also fine. The key feature is your phone (or tablet) must determine its location by using data from both the USA satellites ("GPS") and the Russian satellites ("GLONASS"). Mobile devices that use data from both the USA and Russian satellites often get an accuracy of around 15 feet.
Q: Is it OK to use an older cell phone (prior to iPhone 4s) that only gets data from the USA satellites ("GPS") but does not get data from the Russian satellites ("GLONASS")?
A: No. If your mobile device is relying only on data from the USA satellites then the best accuracy you get is likely around 50 feet.
Q: How does the location accuracy of a cell phone compare to the location accuracy of a dedicated GPS unit such as one of the Garmin models?
A: In general, cell phones and consumer grade GPS units (Garmin, etc) have about the same accuracy which usually is around 15 feet. And your cell phone displays a high resolution aerial photo plus is *much* easier to use.
Q: Do you have any tips for using a cell phone to find approximate property lines and property corners?
A: Yes, please see this pdf file: How to find property lines and corners with a cell phone.
It will show you how to get the best possible accuracy from your cell phone or other mobile device.
Finding 'lost' survey corners
Q: In addition to the right kind of cell phone what other tools are useful for finding survey corners?
A: Surveyors typically pound a length of iron rebar into the ground to mark a property corner. The top of the rebar often gets covered with a bit of dirt/grass/leaves/branches. After you get close to the property corner using the coordinates we provide, you might need to search for it with a metal detector (check the local rental shop) and then scrape away some dirt. Sometimes a garden trowel is all you need.
Q: I used the coordinates you provided and found survey markers close to each of those coordinates. Do those survey markers show my property corners?
A: Typically the rebar that the surveyor pounds into the ground has a plastic cap. That cap has the surveyor's identification number assigned by the state. If you find rebar close to all the approximate corner coordinates we provide and all that rebar is capped with the same identification number, then the odds are good that you have found your property corners. But keep in mind that corners on old surveys may have been marked with a stone or by some other means. And of course if you need to be 100% absolutely certain that the rebar or other markers you found are in fact your property corners then you need to hire a surveyor.
Q: If the survey corner I found is not my property corner, then what is it?
A: Maybe an adjoining parcel also has a corner nearby and both corners have survey markers. Which survey marker did you find? To help find out if there are other property corners near any of yours you should try to obtain a copy of the parcel map for your area. To find out if a parcel map is available, check with the county courthouse or the local tax assessor. If you found a survey marker next to a road, maybe that marker only shows the road right-of-way and not your corner. Maybe the marker you found is not really a survey marker but instead is something that was placed in the wrong location by a prior landowner.