How It Works
Have you spent some time trying to find property lines and locate survey corners before you found our website? It can certainly be a time consuming and frustrating experience. Perhaps one or more of the issues addressed below helps to explain why you are having a hard time. Our proprietary software that produces your approximate property corner coordinates addresses each of these issues.
Bearings on a survey are often not based on true northA very common mistake is to assume that the bearings on a survey are based on true north. It is also usually wrong to assume that the bearings on a survey are based on magnetic north. For example, over half of the states are part of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). Land in these states was surveyed into "sections" in the late 1800's. When a modern survey is done in these states it is common for the surveyor to find a section corner and quarter corner and then to define the direction between those two points as 'north'. All other bearings on that survey are based on that assumed 'north'. However, the real bearing between those two points can easily be several degrees or more away from true north. As a result, if you try to find property corners by simply following the bearings on a survey, you could easily be going in the wrong direction!
For more information on the PLSS see http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/boundaries/a_plss.html
If your property was surveyed based on an assumed direction for 'north', then as part of the process of producing your approximate corner coordinates our software will rotate your property boundary to very closely match the artificial direction of 'north' that the surveyor used.
Many "sections" of land not squareThe prior section mentioned that over helf of the states were surveyed into sections. While a perfect section is a square containing 640 acres, a great many sections are not remotely square. For example, the following link uses our free GISsurfer software to display a particular section 13 in Missouri. Obviously this section is not square.
Let's say you need to find the approximate property lines or locate the survey stakes for the following legal description in this section 13:
E 1/2 of SW 1/4 of SE 1/4
Our system for producing GPS coordinates can handle sections of all different shapes. This next link displays a data file we produced that contains the approximate latitude longitude coordinates for this 20 acre parcel.
Section 13 with approximate property lines.
To see the corner coordinates click any corner.
To see the property lines on the Google aerial click "t4 Topo High" in the upper right corner and select Satellite.
All of the online map links produced by our service are displayed by the Gmap4 enhanced Google map viewer and can be displayed in the browser on your cell phone, iPad, desktop, etc. We provide simple instructions for using the map we produce on your mobile device even if your land does not have cell coverage. For more information about how Gmap4 works with our service, please see the Property Line Maps FAQ. There is information about Gmap4 in several different places in the FAQ.
Government lots can have various sizes and shapesSome sections in PLSS states were further divided into "government lots". These lots are found around lakes and along rivers. You might be surprised to learn that government lots are also found along the north and west side of many townships where there are no lakes or rivers. This type of government lot is often called a "correctional 40" and its size can vary from a few acres to over 80 acres.
If your property is in a PLSS state, then when necessary we will obtain a copy of the original government survey and analyze that map as part of the process of producing the approximate corner coordinates for your property.
Additional software tools needed to map some propertySome property requires pre-processing before we can do further work on it with our own software. One third-party tool we use is Net Deed Plotter. This software reads the distances and bearings from a legal description and produces a highly accurate map. However, that map just shows the property boundary on a blank piece of paper since the Net Deed Plotter software does not produce GPS coordinates.
We feed that map into our own software along with the other information about your property and use all of that data to produce approximate corner coordinates for your land.