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[Solved] surveyors records

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JEFLS
(@jefls)
50+ posts Member

Answered...

1-When a survey is conducted and completed, who owns the records of the survey. The surveyor or client?

2-Is the survey and files about the survey private information between a client and surveyor?

Thank you all for the insight.

This topic was modified 6 days ago by JEFLS
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Topic starter Posted : January 15, 2022 6:19 am
Bill93
(@bill93)
5,000+ posts Member

Ownership can probably be spelled out in the contract, subject to your jurisdiction's recording laws.

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Posted : January 15, 2022 6:34 am
jacavell
(@jacavell)
10+ posts Member

While of course deferring to any local legal definitions, and contractual agreements, I believe the typical boundary survey results in evidence on the ground, a written (drawn) plat/report of the findings, and the information/data upon which the resulting opinion depends.

It seems logical that the:

!) Observations, measurements, and field notes belong to the surveyor.

2) The boundary markers belong to the public that relies on physical claims to define ownership and limits of rights; hence the need to be notarized.

3) The plat/report delivered belongs to the client in the same way a book belongs to a buyer at a bookstore, with obvious right to use it or copies for appropriate uses (registry, sale, engineering, &c.).

4) The copyright to the plat/report belongs to the surveyor.

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Posted : January 15, 2022 3:55 pm

FL/GA
(@flga-2-2)
5,000+ posts Supporter

From an old geezer being succinct.... 😎 

1) both

2) yes

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Posted : January 15, 2022 4:20 pm
MightyMoe
(@mightymoe)
5,000+ posts Supporter

Filed plats, maps, descriptions and many letters and emails are public. Some survey records can be given to a client. My shredder owns everything else.

This post was modified 1 week ago by MightyMoe
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Posted : January 15, 2022 4:38 pm
Mark Mayer
(@mark-mayer)
1,000+ posts Member

@jacavell 

Tony Cavell puts it very well. The surveyor owns the data. The clients gets use of it, typically in the form of a map.

 

  

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Posted : January 15, 2022 6:19 pm

aliquot
(@aliquot)
1,000+ posts Member

The "survey" should be public if it is a boundary survey, unless your state allows for secrete boundaries (in which case the price should be discounted substantially). If it is not a boundary survey it belongs to the client with some rights being retained by the surveyor. In either case the data and files  belong to the surveyor unless the client and surveyor agree otherwise beforehand. 

 

This post was modified 1 week ago 3 times by aliquot
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Posted : January 15, 2022 6:57 pm
Marine2844
(@marine2844)
FNG Member
Posted by: @jacavell

4) The copyright to the plat/report belongs to the surveyor.

Yes, no and sometimes not only....  Not meaning to be nick-picky but if you use a 3rd party drafting service they also have a copywrite to the drawing.  Unless it's specifily stated otherwise in the contract.

Not that it matters much.  But being a drafting service it gives me the ability to use it as a portfolio without your permission. I suppose I could even sell it, though I don't see much a market in it. Albeit without your seal and signature.  Once it is signed, I still have copyright, but am limited by laws covering use of your seal.  However, that said I do get an Ok from my clients ahead of time.  Have not had anyone say no yet. Just a courtesy. 

Not meant to start an argument, more to inform. When the creator is not a direct employee, you have to have it in the contract.

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Posted : January 16, 2022 12:59 am
BushAxe
(@bushaxe)
500+ posts Member

@jacavell 

The NCBELS Attorney stated to me personally that there is no Copyright on survey maps in NC. Some Surveyors in NC state on their maps that they are copyrighted, but legally they are not. 

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Posted : January 16, 2022 4:32 am

Jitterboogie
(@jitterboogie)
1,000+ posts Supporter

@mark-mayer 

How about the case of City or County or State Cadastral surveyor?

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Posted : January 16, 2022 6:19 am
jacavell
(@jacavell)
10+ posts Member

@bushaxe Are the copyright laws national or state laws?

Many attorneys like nothing to be copyrighted (except for their clients' materials) in part because they copy and use practically everything they use, and don't want to be accountable.

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Posted : January 16, 2022 8:47 am
JPH liked
jacavell
(@jacavell)
10+ posts Member

@jitterboogie As a public official, I assume all their work documents are public actions as a public agent and therefore belong to the public.

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Posted : January 16, 2022 8:50 am

Rundatline
(@rundatline)
200+ posts Member

@bushaxe 

See the latest bulletin. They've changed their stance on this.

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Posted : January 16, 2022 10:02 am
ashton
(@ashton)
200+ posts Member

@jacavell Generally, works created by employees of the United States are not eligible for copyright protection; they are in the public domain. This is not the case for state, county, or local government employees. Depending on their employment contracts, and perhaps state laws, the copyright rights for the works of these employees would belong either to the employee or the employing unit of government. These days state and local governments make a great deal of information freely available on the internet, but they don't necessarily have to.

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Posted : January 16, 2022 12:00 pm
Mark Mayer
(@mark-mayer)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @jitterboogie

How about the case of City or County or State Cadastral surveyor?

Do you mean the work of a government agency surveyor, or work done by a consultant for a government agency?

When I say that the surveyor owns the data, I mean that the entity the surveyor works for owns it.  I now work for a city, so the city owns the data, and the city is a public thing. So I'd be glad to share any and all data with any fellow professional who asks for it. But I've never been asked. Nevertheless, the city has an obligation to protect the public from certain other members of the public who have antisocial tendencies. So I might filter any such request through legal. The first question they will ask is who wants it, the second is what do they need it for? I imagine that a FOIA request would force matters. 

In Oregon certain boundary survey maps must be recorded and made public record. And there is a law that says that if public funds are expended establishing geodetic control a report of said work must be recorded in county surveyor records. Which adds a layer of complexity to such publication.  Is survey control on a datum projection "geodetic control"? I'll have to ask the County Surveyor what he thinks. He has the hammer in this state. Washington would be different in that respect.

As far as the work of consultants I assume that the data is theirs to keep and reuse as they see fit. Including reselling it to the city later. If the city wants copies of said data it must contract for it.  

I've always worked for others, so I do not own the data myself. Since I am responsible for my work for those others I've never been timid about keeping personal copies of digital files to be used in the event questions come up later-after I was no longer employed there. Using said data to usurp the interests of the employer it was developed for would be shady.  

 

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Posted : January 16, 2022 12:34 pm

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