[Solved] What does N 31˚ 30’ 55” W refer to?
I have a plat map and would like to use it to find my property boundaries before landscaping. See attached file. I found the surveyor's pin (marked P.O.B. on the map) and on the map is the designation N 31˚ 30’ 55” W. Does that refer to a POINT or to a LINE? If it refers to a line, is there an iPhone app I can use to walk me along that line to the next corner?
Thanks for any help.
That refers to the direction of a line. In this case it is telling you to go 31 degrees 30 minutes and 55 seconds (approx. 31½ degrees) west of north. You could potentially use a compass to help guide you in this direction but your accuracy would be partially determined by what reference to north your map is using and your ability to use that in your search. If you could visibly see some features of one of the map lines (eg. centerline of a road or direct sight between two other corners) that could help you orient your compass to your site.
Just a cautionary tale. I was asked by an acquaintance to check some corners he'd assumed were his on the common back lot line. Originally he built a fence to the line he thought was his, just a wood fence and some ornamental plants. No big deal. Several years later he put in a garage under the assumption his fence was on the line. The neighbor was selling and had an as-built done and it showed this garage 7' onto his lot. Now this guy wasn't a surveyor, he didn't have a way of accurately checking the bearings and distances to realize something wasn't quite right. It wasn't his corner that he had found and it cost him tens of thousands to have a new pad constructed and the garage lifted and moved. Meanwhile the neighbor selling had trouble finding a bank that would finance the sale because of the encroachment. Then there's another acquaintance who was certain they knew where there line was and drilled a $30,000 water well 25' onto the adjacent property. So I would just say, use good judgement.
Monuments are for the land owner, too, not just for other surveyors. If he finds monuments (rebars?) at distances that match the plat within his taping measurement tolerance, the risk is low, especially for landscaping.
If the original monuments are intact, the original surveyor it might charge a few $hundreds or more (depending on the region) to verify all the monuments and mark line. If he was building a new house, yes, $1000 to several $1000 to get it fully re-surveyed could be a worthwhile investment, but probably not to plant some bushes.
dms330 gave a good answer. I'll add that a compass doesn't point at the geographic north pole, but at a magnetic pole, so you need a "declination" correction that depends on approximately where you are.
His suggestion of comparing to a road, etc. is good. I can't see your photo on my phone to tell if there is such a reference.
Here's a photo of the part of the map I'm referring to...in case it clarifies the case. Thanks dms and Bill.
OK, so a couple things here.
The bearings look like they're labeled clockwise as you walk around the property which I think is standard practice in most areas. If you're planning to walk it counter-clockwise then you'll want to reverse (180°) all of the directions. So, in your compass app punch in S 31° 30' 55" E, and then do the same thing for the other sides.
Also, I'm not entirely sure how the compass apps work but if they don't use degrees, minutes, seconds then you'll have to convert the values on your map to an azimuth.
Lastly, depending on the size of the property I don't think which north is used will matter. Do you have a metal detector or some other tool to help zero in on the monuments?
Following any of the above suggestions may lead you to harm yourself or your neighbor. Please contact the surveyor that prepared your plat and have him come out and mark the lines for you. Litigation is costly.
I don't think there is a reliable app you could use for your phone other than the compass to orient yourself. If you get it wrong and determine the limits of your property incorrectly it could end up much more costly than the expense of just having a surveyor mark it out on the ground for you.