What You Should Know About Land Surveyors and Their Services


What is a land surveyor, and what services do New York licensed land surveyors offer?

A New York licensed land surveyor (LS) is a professional who uses applied mathematics and other technical and research skills to measure and plot:

  • the dimensions of any portion of the earth’s surface (including natural and other structures);
  • the lengths and directions of boundary lines; and
  • the contour of the earth’s surface.

When would I use the services of a land surveyor?

You might employ a licensed LS to:

  • perform a boundary survey to verify that a house, additions, and visible water and sewerage systems are on the property as described in the deed;
  • determine if one property encroaches on another;
  • ensure that a house or addition is within property lines prior to construction or purchase; and
  • lay out the individual building lots in a subdivision.

Land surveyors also perform topographic surveys, surveys of bodies of water (hydrographic surveys), and construction layout surveys for buildings and roads.

What if my neighbor’s property survey shows that their property line appears to be on my property?

First, verify that the location of your property lines are based upon a survey performed for you by a licensed land surveyor – and not one done for a former owner of the land. If it is one done for a former owner, you should have a survey made. If there is a discrepancy in the surveys over the location of property lines, have your surveyor contact the surveyor of the adjoining property to see if they can resolve the discrepancy.

If agreement still cannot be reached, discuss it with your neighbor to see if you can reach a compromise on the location of the common boundary (such as splitting the overlapping property). Even if a common boundary is agreed upon, you should still contact your attorney to find out if any legal work is needed to formalize the agreement.

If no agreement can be reached, you may wish to settle the matter through the legal system.

When must I employ a licensed land surveyor?

Generally, you will need the services of an LS any time you need a government official’s approval of survey plans (e.g., the approval of a subdivision). An LS is also required to prepare boundary surveys for property conveyances when filed with public officials. These officials can only accept surveying plans stamped and signed by a land surveyor. Check with local government officials such as the county clerk’s office or the planning department to determine what you are required to submit.

Source: www.op.nysed.gov