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Surveying Services

  • Topographic Maps
  • ALTA Surveys
  • Boundary & Easement Surveys
  • Parcel Maps
  • Record of Survey
  • Tentative Maps
  • Court Exhibits
  • Research Services
  • Expert Witness Testimony
  • Construction Staking
  • Subdivision Maps
  • FEMA Certificates (flood zone)
  • Certificates of Compliance
  • Corner Records
  • Elevation Certificates
  • Legal Description Preparation
  • Application Processing

Selecting a Surveyor

Professional Photo

A Land Surveyor is a part of a professional team comprised of attorneys, engineers, architects, planners and landscape architects. Choose a reputable, Professional Land Surveyor whose skill and judgment you trust. A Surveyor should not be selected by price.


Competency is of first importance. Your selection should be made after you are sure that they have all of the facts and are completely aware of your needs and of the requirements of the governing body. Land Surveyors, like other professionals, vary in knowledge, ability, and competence. It is important that you select the best.


Only a Professional Land Surveyor or a Civil Engineer authorized to practice land surveying are legally permitted to survey in the State of California.

Types of Surveys

Boundary Photo

A survey for the express purpose of locating the corners and boundary lines of a given parcel of land. Easement lines may also be located and/or established with this type of survey.


A survey locating topographic features- natural and man made - such as buildings, fences, trees, streams, contours of the land, etc. to be used by engineers and/or architects for the design of improvements on a site.

Aerial Control

Precise location, both for horizontal position and elevation of points for use in mapping of aerial photographs, construction staking, environmental monitoring and GIS (Geographic Information Systems).

How much will a survey cost?

The time it takes to complete your survey is directly related to the cost. The following variables may effect the time:

Type of Survey Photo

Costs may increase as the level of precision and comprehensiveness required for the survey increases.

Record Research

This necessary step is complicated by the casualness with which land has been transferred in the past, resulting in many vague, incomplete, and often contradictory legal descriptions. Cost varies depending on a) the number of parcels involved b) the number of past transactions. We have found many times that the answer to boundary problems are in the research of past transfers.

Size and Shape of Property

An irregularly shaped parcel has more corners and a longer boundary than a regular shaped parcel containing the same area.

Government Section Retracement

This normally requires the survey of the entire Section (being a square with sides one mile long) in which the land being surveyed lies, regardless of the area of the parcel. In some cases, a survey of more than one Section is required, depending on the location of the parcel in question.


A flat field is easier to survey than a mountain.


Branches, brush, and trees must be trimmed to afford clear sights for the Land Surveyor.


The time varies with the distance to the job, and the difficulty in reaching the corners, once on the site.

Amount of Existing Evidence on the Property

Existing evidence such as iron pins, stone monuments, old fences, witness trees, etc., aid the Surveyor. Their absence may compound difficulties involved in retracing the original survey.

Local Knowledge of Property

Someone pointing out lines, monumentation, and access is a considerable aid to the Surveyor.


When neighbors are cooperative, an otherwise difficult or impossible boundary line location may be established by agreement.

Time of Year

In summer, foliage presents a problem. In winter, weather slows travel, and sometimes conceals field evidence.

Title Company Requirements

Title Insurance Companies may require considerably more documentation than is normally provided to the average owner.

Mapping Requirements

California law requires a map or document to be filed with the County Recorder or County Surveyor when boundary lines are determined or when monuments are set or re-set.

Q&A for surveying Photo

Q: Will a Land Surveyor tell me what I own?
A: No. It is your responsibility to furnish the Surveyor with a legal description or Title Report of what you want surveyed. They will then locate the deed lines on the ground, mark the corners with physical monuments (if requested), and provide you with a map showing the results of the survey and also record the map if monuments are set or material discrepancies with record documents are found.

Q: Will I be shown if there are any encroachments on my property?
A: Yes, if this is your concern and part of the contract.

Q: How will I be shown what has been surveyed?
A: The corners of the property will be marked with iron pipes or other monuments, if required, and the Surveyor will point out these corners on the ground, if requested.

Q: Why are there conflicting boundaries?
A: Typically, boundary disputes are a result of legal descriptions that were originally written and recorded without the benefit of the services of a Professional Land Surveyor. It is important to have these lines properly surveyed when land is being segregated or divided.

Q: What about local government requirements?
A: The reputable and competent Professional Land Surveyor has knowledge of laws and regulations regarding land use within his areas of practice. They can advise you regarding steps to take when contemplating development of your property or refer you to other consultants when necessary.

Global Positioning Systems

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of satellites in the earth's orbit that constantly broadcasts information that is then monitored and interpreted by ground-based receivers.

When a GPS receiver reports and records a position, it shows the latitude, longitude and elevation of that point in space, relative to a globally accepted model of the earth.

Using GPS helps avoid typical linear and angular surveying errors.

Why Use GPS?

Measurement accuracy is paramount when it comes to surveying. Imagine investing in a construction project only to discover it is built partially on your neighbor's lot. Or selling parcels of land and realizing later that your property boundaries extended farther than you thought or the parcel had more acreage. Ray Carlson & Associates invested in Global Position System (GPS) so we could provide our clients with the most accurate surveying measurement, (.025/foot or 1 centimeter is possible!) Many surveys, previously considered uneconomical because of terrain or size, are now within economical reach with the use of GPS.

Large parcels of land involving multiple government sections can be surveyed more quickly than conventional ground measurements. Remote boundary corners, unseen for decades, can be located by using the navigational capabilities on board our state-of-the-art GPS equipment.