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Questions after a survey disagreement

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Hi, We have purchased a 5 acre lot inside a professional and recorded subdivision from 1984. All neighbors gathered and compared each corner to have a rough draft of an idea where each lot was situated prior to an ordered survey. We all understood this would be a rough draft only and can vary within reason. 

After the survey was completed we found that 2 pins didn't move and 2 others moved significantly changing not only the lot I purchased, but it changed the whole sub division diagonally cutting each parcel about 125 feet. I've included a pic for reference.  

The surveyor states that he used True North vs Magnetic. 

Found several pieces of metal that they ( felt ) would be a starting point for a corner pin on stream side of land.

Could not produce coordinates and or degrees of angle or formula to show how they came to the position of pins with the exception of the starting point that matches perfectly.

We as the lot owners will be challenging the surveyors findings based on no explanation of how they found each pin, coordinates, degree, and should have been done using magnetic with declination. 

Can anyone recommend a tool or hand held electronic device to use in the field that would help with magnetic and degree of angle vs just using a compass? Looking to use tool that wont be quickly dismissed and holds some clout. We have used 6 different location apps from IPhone, Android, and GPS and all fall in line perfectly to the sub division map. 

Also, if anyone can give advise on what questions I can use to challenge without sounding like a moron... 

Thank you in advance for the help!  Jason


Posted : January 13, 2023 7:32 am
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Is there a basis of bearing shown on the subdivision plat?

Posted : January 13, 2023 10:31 am
Norman Oklahoma
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The basis of bearings being true or magnetic is really unlikely to be a source of your problem. The bearings given are really just a manner of annotating the angles between the various lines. Those angles are far more relevant than the particular bearings. 

Of paramount importance is the position of the monuments that were set in 1984. Those will trump any mapped dimensions. But it looks like your orange lines are connecting diagonally across the intended parcel. I'm not sure what's up there. It could be there are more monuments that need to be found. 

Posted : January 13, 2023 10:45 am
FL/GA and JPH reacted

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I guess I'm confused at how you know this.  Who drew the orange lines on that plot?  You and your neighbors, or a surveyor you hired? 

Did you have it surveyed?  Your 2nd paragraph begins, "After the survey was completed...".  If you did hire a surveyor, did he produce a plan or worksheet of his findings? 

Posted : January 13, 2023 10:48 am
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Appears magnetic north has been confused with true north which is what the subdivision most likely references.

You can calculate the magnetic declination for your area in 1984 and today here

Simply apply this correction angle to your compass to get true north and I think you will most likely find that things line up. 

At the end of the day, it's the monuments that will have the final say in where the lines are on the ground. 

Good luck!

Posted : January 13, 2023 11:24 am
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The basis of bearings can't change the angles, as mentioned above.  The orange box does not have the same angles as the plat. I can see no way the surveyor could justify that.  I think the orange box uses 2 pins from one end of the lot and one pin from the other end, with a pin from the adjacent lot.

Posted : January 13, 2023 11:33 am

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Maine requires a contract be in place prior to the commencement of a survey.  What was the scope of services described in the contract?  Were you to be provided with a report of survey or a plat (map showing boundaries)?

Surveys are a professional opinion and are not immediately binding. Landowners always have the ability to agree on the location of shared boundaries, so don't get into a panic.

PLSs are very busy right now, so it might be the case that yours just did not have, or make, the time to explain what is likely a complicated issue.

Myself and others on this board are licensed in Maine.  The more factual documents you can provide, the better we can help.


Posted : January 13, 2023 11:43 am
Dave Karoly
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Magnetic Declination in Maine is roughly 15° west.

I have no idea how things are done in Maine but nothing from the 1980s would be referenced to magnetic north out here. In fact I don’t think magnetic north was ever widely used.

If the map bearings are magnetic but they were run out as true the orange lines are roughly what would happen. I doubt that is the case though.

Only the Surveyor that did the recent work can explain their findings; it can only be presumed that they are correct because they are an expert and you are not. Hilly and brushy terrain can make things look significantly off when they aren’t.

Posted : January 13, 2023 11:49 am
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We can't really say anything about the survey without seeing it. Erase or blur the firm's name and the surveyor's stamp, etc.. and post it up here please.

Posted : January 13, 2023 12:07 pm

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I don't work in Maine, but can tell you that magnetic north is used throughout VT, NH, and rural MA

Posted : January 13, 2023 12:21 pm
GMPLS and ashton reacted
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If those are found irons/pins/pipes, in orange.  Why is the assumption that they're the rear corners of Lot 9, and not rear corners of Lot 10 instead?

Posted : January 13, 2023 12:25 pm
oldpacer and Bill93 reacted
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Maine is really tough to find anything. Maybe someone else knows how to get the subdivision plat map, but I can't seem to find it.

Carrabassett Stream Subdivision; Somerset County, Anson, Maine

Southwest corner of the 2015 tax map:

Is it normal on a final subdivision plat in ME to show the lot dimensions as "220' +/-"?

Posted : January 13, 2023 1:18 pm
Dave Karoly reacted

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I wonder if some meander corners were set along that stream and that's what they found.  

Posted : January 13, 2023 1:20 pm
JPH and Rover83 reacted
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You will lose.  You need to find an opinion of another surveyor that disagrees.  I have no idea what's going on without actually surveying it.

Posted : January 13, 2023 1:55 pm
RADAR reacted
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Wow, that’s quite the shift in lot lines. I’m kind of curious what that does for the lots on each end? I agree that the angle should be the same regardless what you call north. You could set your survey to zero azimuth facing east, west, south, etc. and it would still come out the same angles relative to each other and look the same on paper just different rotation as a whole. 

Posted : January 13, 2023 3:59 pm

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