Professional Surveyors and Real Property Descriptions: Composition, Construction, and Comprehension / Edition 1

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The only modern guide to interpreting and writing real property descriptions for surveyors

Technical land information is no longer the exclusive domain of professional surveyors. The Internet now houses a multitude of resources that nontechnical professionals—such as attorneys and realtors—access and implement on a daily basis. However, these professionals are trained in aspects of law and commerce that do not provide the proper education and experience to interpret and evaluate their land boundary information discoveries correctly. As a result, their analysis is often erroneous and the data misapplied—ultimately leading to confusion and costly litigation.

Professional Surveyors and Real Property Descriptions attempts to bridge the ever-widening gap between the users of land boundary information and the land surveyors who produce it. An expert team of authors integrates the historic and legal background of real property interests with fundamental concepts of the surveying profession in a manner accessible for average readers. These provide the basics for both properly comprehending older descriptions and competently constructing complete and modern real property descriptions that foster better communication. Highlights in this book include:

  • An in-depth exploration of historic descriptions and how to read them
  • Coverage of the widely accepted ALTA/ACSM Land Boundary Survey standards and associated property descriptions
  • A diverse collection of examples and practice scenarios
  • An overview of the latest issues related to the use of GPS and GIS

Written in easy-to-understand language, this practical resource assists nontechnical professionals in understanding exactly what a surveyor does and does not do, and serves as a valuable tool for obtaining the most satisfactory, accurate, and complete real property descriptions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470542590
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 457,549
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen V. Estopinal, PLS, PE, is the Surveying Division Manager at SJB Group, a land surveying, civil engineering, real estate services, and program management service company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has been in the practice of land surveying for more than forty years. Author of A Guide to Understanding Land Surveys, Third Edition (Wiley) and columnist for Professional Surveyor Magazine, he is a frequent lecturer on surveying matters and regularly serves as an expert witness.

Wendy Lathrop PLS, CFM, President of Cadastral Consulting, LLC, is a professional land surveyor, planner, and Certified Floodplain Manager, involved since 1974 in projects ranging from construction to boundary to environmental land use disputes. She has been presenting seminars for her colleagues across the country since 1986 and is a contributing editor for The American Surveyor magazine. She is a past president of the National Society of Professional Surveyors.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction.


1.2 Title and Interests in Real Property.

1.3 Transfers of Title and Interests.

1.4 Deeds.

Chapter 2. Land Record Systems.

2.1 Overview.

2.2 Metes and Bounds.

2.3 United States Public Lands.

2.4 Platted Subdivisions.



2.5 Combined Record System Descriptions.

Chapter 3. Directions.

3.1 Angles.

3.2 Meridians.

3.3 Bearings.

3.4 Curved Lines.

3.5 Azimuths.

3.6 Compass Directions and Headings.

Chapter 4. Map Projections.

4.1 General.

4.2 Projection-less Maps.

4.3 Conformal Plane Projection.

4.4 Application.

Chapter 5. Platting to Describe.

5.1 General.

5.2 Original Surveys.

5.3 Retracement Surveys.

5.4 Preserving the evidence in words: a case study.

5.5 Reference to Plats in Descriptions.

Chapter 6. Composing, Comprehending Descriptions.

6.1 General.

6.2 Hierarchy of Calls.

6.3 Caption.

6.4 Body.

6.5 Elements of the Description.

6.6 Punctuation.

6.7 Deed discrepancies – Conflicts.

Chapter 7. ALTA/ACSM Surveys.

7.1 Land Title Insurance.

7.2 ALTA/ACSM Survey Standards.

7.3 Accuracy Standards.

7.4 Informational Options.

7.5 The description for an ALTA/ACSM survey.

7.6 The Surveyor Is In Charge.

Chapter 8. Situational Awareness.

8.1 Deed discrepancies – conflicts.

8.2 Professional Responsibilities.

8.3 Regional Lexicon and Local Practice.

8.4 Introducing uniform language.

8.5 Breaking old habits. 

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