Surveying is the technique and science of determining three-dimensional positions of points on the Earth’s surface and the distances and angles between the points. Surveyors must comply with state-required reporting formats and individual elements. Florida statutes establish minimum standards for surveys, and professional surveyors find that American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys not only meet those standards by showing correct boundary lines and all structures existing on the property, but do so in great detail.
To perform a survey, the surveyor visits the property and records all applicable information, such as improvements on the land. In addition to reviewing records and plats on file at the county recorder’s office, the surveyor makes an independent determination about the land and its boundaries by using Global Positioning Systems (GPS),Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), Robotic Survey Systems (RSS), and Laser Scanning. The surveyor then prepares related reports, maps, and plots for clients and government agencies as needed.
Surveys provide data for engineering industries, construction projects, and map making. Among other uses, they are used to
- define legally recognized property boundaries and resolve property line disputes, as well as prepare for improvements that may be close to a neighboring property’s boundary line
- verify the descriptions and locations of improvements on the land, such as buildings, fencing, and driveways, and the distance between improvements and boundary lines
- identify discrepancies between recorded instruments and the ground itself
- identify elevations on the land; Florida government agencies, including city building departments, often require a specific survey before granting building permits and allowing construction to begin
- verify that certain features, such as a creek or tree, are within the property’s boundaries
- locate all utilities on the property, including underground drains, sewer systems, power cables, and above-ground utility poles and wiring; Florida has specific requirements for the placement of residential utilities because of the state’s unique environmental characteristics.
- locate obvious and hidden easements and paths of access to the easements
- locate boundary line encroachments and rights of way
- identify setback requirements
- identify specific zoning, such as a flood zone