WelcomeMonday, January 30th, 2023
Hello, I am a land owner with some property both in Arizona and New Hampshire. I have a reasonable working knowledge of basics like bearing and distance, drawing plot maps etc. I am looking to a purchasing some equipment to help me with things like locating existing pins, planning fence lines etc. I understand that anything legally sensitive needs to be done by a licensed pro. I am willing to spend up to $1,000. I see used items like "Trimble geo xh pocket PC 2005" for very low prices and newer items like "Reach RS2', but I don't really understand GPS surveying well enough to know what actually works in the real world and or what may need an additional expensive RTK base station or can be cheaply tied into TRIPs type setup. I would love sub meter accuracy in the field and sub foot post processing back at home. Is this just silly or does something fit into this? I'm probably just showing my ignorance but I would appreciate any ideas.
Thank you very much in advance.
Let me clarify things here.
I am not trying to survey anything and I don't have any issues with neighbors and I have/do/will hire a professional when it is appropriate. All I want to do is what I have done many times before with a tape/compass/handheld GPS and back in the day an old dumpy level. Just more accurately. Totally just for my own planning purposes and general edification. I have an anal retentive side that does not like the 20' or so accuracy of hand help GPS. If I'm looking at locating something well within the boundaries of my own property I just like to know exactly where it is and be able to draft it on my plot plan accurately. I have before pulled a tape and angles from pins 100's of feet away just to satisfy my own sense of wanting to know, but that is a pain. So with that in mind would the above mentioned equipment be of help? Would you recommend something else that can be purchased used for under a grand or is what I want just not possible?
PS: When I talk about finding pins and corners I literally mean physically finding the pins, not surveying them. I have before drawn a property line plot into my drafting program then gone to the location and found a pin, updated the map in my laptop and then used a handheld GPS to find a distant corner 1,000 plus feet away, but spending and hour or two finding it because the hand held is not accurate enough. It would be nice to look in a smaller circle. Not worth hiring a pro if I'm just looking at the property.
Being blunt here but would suggest a better use of your money would be in hiring a licensed land surveyor. To many pitfalls for a laymen.
To many pitfalls for a laymen.
Actually, that's a kind of understatement.
Think only of ONE of the components. The bearings system. What is it referenced to?
True North, Grid North, Assumed north, Magnetic North?
This question is not about what a given direction is. It is about what BACKSITE is to be used for all the lines. That's an expression in laymens terms.
Maybe hire a surveyor, who is sympathetic with your budding desire to be involved.
Learn enough know the coordinate system he used.
know the brgs used on the survey.
At this point, you can see what direction you wish to go. It's a bit like milking a cow. Those who do it, know all their cows, and their temperaments. Those who don't, don't realize what they are getting into.
I don't think GPS would be in that budget. I did sell an older Leica conventional total station for $800 to a contractor who wanted to use it for some basic stuff. I think it was a Leica TCR805 model. You could use that without a data collector and only need to buy a couple of tripods and a prism.
we get called out to do 'fence surveys' often - just need to survey one line. After asking why, the response is 'my neighbor'. Generally, there is a boundary line dispute or the boundary is not marked.
So, if all you want to do is locate your existing corners and fence your property, then your plat/map with your deed and/or County/City GIS if they have same, together with an iPhone or Android device can put you in the general location to search (+/- 15') using L1 GPS. It is not the coordinates a sub-meter instrument will give you but your physical property corners and the line between them that is important.
Just fyi, a string works good between 2 found points. Problem is to check if those points are the same as those described in the deed - something a licensed professional would probably do.
Want to learn what we do and what not to do, purchase some L1 equipment and expect it to give you survey grade results.
Hope this helps and you are not alone in wanting to do what you propose,
I'll second James comment.
if you need anything legal real or reliable hire a surveyor.
use the county gis to locate reasonable places
Ask yourself this...
If you could afford a cheap dental drill would you drill your own teeth?
Same for medical procedures.....
How about buying your own plane with no license or education to fly...
edit for my jumping the gun...
This professional arena is so much more than just " Pins in the ground" and I hope you get the help you need.
The internet and realtors have degraded this profession into what they see to value it at, but thankfully the title companies have to rely on surveyors and the courts too.
for now anyway
Yes, you are of course absolutely correct for anything with a legal bearing as I stated. Before actually building/cutting altering anything even relatively near a property line/corner pin/stream/easement etc I will/would have it property surveyed and marked by a competent professional. We are talking about doing things for my own planning and edification. I do understand the ideas of back bearings/bench marks and reference grids. A lot of what I am doing is planning from 2,500 miles away and when I have a week or to to go out to a lot I don't like spend half my time trying to establish a reference point and I am not satisfied with the very low accuracy of most handheld GPS's . So rather then spend $600 on a Garmin that can never get as close as I would like, I would rather purchase something used, that is significantly more accurate. I would like to have things pretty close and then only hire a professional once, not every time my ideas change.
Thank you for your input. I appreciate it.
GPS is the wrong tool for your job. If you are sure there are iron pins in place, the best tools would be a tape, compass, and metal detector (maybe rent a magnetic locator instead of using a treasure finder). If the found pins match the plat distances as close as you can measure, then you might be okay to build fence. Talking to your adjoiners before building would also be a good idea, to see if they agree with the location.
Bad example...I did buy a plane before getting a license. LOL Worked out great.
Ok I guess I phrased things poorly in my initial post. I am not trying to survey my own property and I do/will hire a professional whenever it is needed. All I want to do is what I have done many times before with a tape/compass and or cheap hand held GPS. Just more accurately and hopefully faster. Just for my own planning purposes and general edification. My anal retentive side hates 20' close enough idea (even though it is generally close enough) and pulling a tape from a pin 600' away is no fun.
If you can find your true corner monuments ("pins" ?) which *should* be called out in your deeds' legal description, then you can *fairly confidently* set a fenceline... with string and some buddies... you can see already why people are advising a legal survey.
But if that's all you're looking for, almost any commercial GPS will get you within 20' or so, which many times will get you there if you add in a a shovel, good eye and/or metal detector. Using just GPS though will require you to be able to identify a precise *location* of said corners prior to hunting (or "staking them out"). This takes finding how your corners were last identified and literally translating that location to a precise (sixth decimal place) lat/long.
But even free smartphone apps like XTopo or even better, Regrid, which already has your county GIS property boundaries loaded into it (also lending itself to even greater possibility of discrepancy) *may* get you close.
Remember that the property lines on a county GIS map may be anywhere from right-on to 10's of feet off. They are just to identify parcels, and are rarely tied to actual surveyed points for the parcels.
If you have an iphone you already have a device that will locate you around ±10 feet or so. I don't believe that (another) $1000 will buy you anything better.
If you want to find your property corner pins yourself spend money on a hand compass, machete, shovel, and 100 ft. tape measure. Then spend your time researching the maps and deeds. You can get a metal detector (aka "pin finder") from the rent it center.
Everybody places their own value on the blood, toil, tears, and sweat that follows.
If you don’t use apple, on ox hunt can help you find stuff.