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Author Topic: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor  (Read 4248 times)

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Offline Piston

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Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« on: September 17, 2011, 11:25:01 pm »
I'm looking for advice from anyone who has cleared property lines in preparation for a survey, or anyone who knows the expectations of a surveyor for said cleared property lines.

My surveyor has told me that I could save some money on the survey by clearing out the property boundaries before he goes in to survey.  I will be having approximately 25 acres surveyed of mostly wooded land.  I have a 45hp utility tractor with front end loader, front end grapple, rear box blade, and 5' brush cutter.  I also have a Stihl brushcutting saw and of course my chainsaws. 

Do any of you knowledgable fellas have any good advice for me regarding property boundaries?  I'm curious how wide of a path I should clear?  Also how high do I need to prune overhanging branches?  Do I need to make the property boundaries like groomed trails, or just good enough for the surveyors equipment to work? 

I figured before I ask him what I should do I would check with you guys first.  ;D

Any advice? 
-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline cowtipper

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 11:43:19 pm »
Piston,

I had a problem with a neighbor doing the same thing with a dozer, trying to clear the property line before the surveyor can in.  I asked him how did he know what to clear, since he did not know where it was.  I told him this is where I think it is, and he said no its over there.  Well long story short there was nothing I could do to stop him since I could not prove were it was.  In the end he ended up make a 8’ “path” 10 feet on to my land.   And to this day it will not clean any of the stumps and brush from his side of the line.  In short I would not be clearing any land until the survey is done, that’s why you have them come in.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2011, 11:48:18 pm »
Do you have a good idea where the lines are at? Don't want to be clearing lines on the neighbors property.

Use of brush hog sounds like there are gently rolling hills, and no steep slopes. Any fence wire?

Is it brush, or trees and brush?

No reason to make a wide-open trail, that I see. But it will depend on what it is like now, and what you want it to be like after the survey.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Piston

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2011, 11:59:51 pm »
I should have clarified, I do know where the property lines are, actually it's been surveyed before, back in the '80s I believe, and I am cutting out a 25 acre parcel from the original 50 acre parcel.  One of my property lines will be the stone wall, another will be a stream, then I will be creating my own property line where ever I want it, from the stream to the road, which will be the last property line. 
So the leg that will be created, is basically splitting this 50 acre parcel into 2 smaller parcels, and it is pretty much up to me where i want the property line to be, which is one of the reasons I want to go out there and clear it out. 

I was hoping I could just use the existing survey, and add a property line to the existing survey in order to create 2 lots, but they won't let me do that.  I have to have a full survey done of the 25 acres i want. 

It is gently sloping, partially level, and also steep in some places where I won't be able to use the tractor, but for the most part, it is very...tractorable (that's a technical term  ;D)

It is trees and brush.

There are no houses that abut my land, only older un-maintained lots.
-Matt
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Offline sjfarkas

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2011, 12:09:17 am »
From my experience they just need some line of site and to be able to walk through it without a machette.  The line of site doesn't have to be the whole line but the farther you can get them in one shot the quicker it should be.

Always try it twice, the first time could've been a fluke.

Offline whiskers

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2011, 12:54:20 am »
The last surveyor may be your least expensive choice. His previous notes and research should be on file and much of that will be reusable. You can locate and mark the existing irons which will save time. My last survey and scaled plat are digitized. The surveyor can plot a line on the puter referencing any existing iron, power pole or structure corner in moments and create new drawings without ever leaving the office. Keep us posted of any new technology they employ.........
many irons in the fire..........

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2011, 06:49:46 am »
The neighbor had his land surveyed that borders mine. I knew where the line was,but they sold it and someone needed it surveyed. I did not gain any land this time.  ;D They did not clear really much at all. In fact in a few years I won't be able to tell anything was done if I don't clear out the line. The land owner kinda came through with a few markers,that I asked about,that was way off and I think he trimmed more than the surveyor did. What ever you clear will have to be right in length. What I mean to say what ever size you want. You will have to measure if you want it straight and true to start with. Hard to walk through the walks in a straight line and come out at a set point.
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Offline Holmes

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2011, 12:58:41 pm »
If you know the bound locations, clear around them. When you know where the rear bounds are you should flag a path between those 2 bounds. I did this with a compass, heading in the direction of the other bound and putting an orange ribbon on a tree every 100', then I walked back and forth adjusting the ribbons until I had a straight line {1350' apart}. If you have some help, you could each start at a bound ,yell to each other and place ribbons while walking toward each other until you have visual contact.  Pick the points where you want to split the land and do the same thing. Put up the ribbons then you can start clearing for your surveyor.  Holmes
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Offline Piston

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2011, 02:56:52 pm »
Some good suggestions guys. 

I did try to contact the original surveyor but he is retired and no longer doing surveys.  So unfortunately, I'm starting from scratch.  I do think it will help a lot though that 3 of the boundaries are either stonewalls, a stream, or a road, so at least there are some markings to go off of. 
I'm trying to keep the cost of the survey to a minimum, I'm really surprised how much it is costing me.  I got multiple quotes and all were right in the same ball park.  The guy I will be using said that instead of hiring a helper for him, I could help him when he does it, and that would save me some money, also it will be nice because it will be an opportunity for me to learn a bit about surveying.
-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline beenthere

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2011, 03:13:40 pm »
How much of this surveying can be done now with GPS and the satelites?

Road, stone wall, and stream seem general boundaries, but how do they pick a point to set up over? Are there any corners, or benchmarks available from which to start?
In your area, the surveys are by "meets and bounds", or something like that if I remember right. Not sure how the surveyor will start unless there are some monuments (steel bar, brass marker) from previous surveys.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 08:42:31 pm »
We never clear or mark any boundaries until the survey has been done by a registered surveyor and we have received a copy of the Certificate of Survey.
~Ron

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 05:56:33 am »
The way it's done here is you brush a short distance for the surveyor when he is with you, so he can keep you on a straight line with the theodolite. That being said, my surveyor has used GPS on all my surveys on the farm, and it was done in springtime before the leaves came out. Didn't have to brush much of anything. His axeman just tied ribbons where the line trees where, I came behind and blazed and painted. So some of the farm, I imagine by now, the tree marks are all healed over and paint gone. Most landowners around here are lazy when it comes to keeping lines up. I clean up and paint mine every 3-5 years. Some never enter their woods very often unless wheels are under their but.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline doghunter

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 08:54:14 pm »
check with the register-of-deeds or tax department to see if the old survey was recorded with them a lot of good info there if it was

Offline Piston

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2011, 11:30:38 pm »
I spoke with the surveyor, and he basically said that I don't need to clear exactly along the property boundary, but rather on the inside of the boundary.  So he explained it like this:

the traverse line does not have to run along the boundary but inside the boundary. Each control station that we set is along that traverse line. We then turn angles and distances to monuments that we wish to locate. So what I am saying is the you don't want to clear on the stone wall you want to have a clear site distance adjacent to the wall and this will be a continual figure. Each traverse point has to see a back site and a foresight with no branches in line. As for the brook location the  traverse is on the dry ground and the brook is located from those points. Same as when you to to your lot corners it does not need to be a completely straight  line you can zig zag around trees, the line will be from re-bar to re-bar by computer calculations.

So from what I gather, I can create a series of open 'lanes' so he can get multiple ranges and bearings, and then plug all those ranges and bearings into his fancy computer and come up with a single range and bearing for each line.  This will make it much easier for me, rather than clearing an exact straight line so he can see corner to corner, since in some cases that is impossible for me to do.
-Matt
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Offline Black_Bear

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2011, 02:14:39 pm »
Sounds about right. Make 100% sure you can see the corner monuments from the traverse points. Hang flagging directly over the monument, or better yet have someone else stand over the monument while you choose the travers point. I've had a couple of green interns "stitch" us behind a tree so we could not see a monument, or some other feature we needed to locate.

Also, long backsights and short foresights is good procedure. In other words try to get the traverse point as close to the monument as possible, but not too close, 10 feet is about as close as you want to get. Better yet, if it's feasible, use the monument as a traverse point. Just make sure the instrument operator has room to move and the monument is stable. Try to stretch your control points as long as possible, without compromising the ability to efficiently locate monuments and other features.  

Offline Piston

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2011, 02:33:34 pm »
Sounds about right. Make 100% sure you can see the corner monuments from the traverse points. Hang flagging directly over the monument, or better yet have someone else stand over the monument while you choose the travers point. I've had a couple of green interns "stitch" us behind a tree so we could not see a monument, or some other feature we needed to locate.

Also, long backsights and short foresights is good procedure. In other words try to get the traverse point as close to the monument as possible, but not too close, 10 feet is about as close as you want to get. Better yet, if it's feasible, use the monument as a traverse point. Just make sure the instrument operator has room to move and the monument is stable. Try to stretch your control points as long as possible, without compromising the ability to efficiently locate monuments and other features.  

Black Bear,
Could you explain a little more what you mean by traverse points and control points? 

I'm a bit confused.  I've never been accused of being too smart you know  :D
-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline Black_Bear

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2011, 04:09:36 pm »
Black Bear,
Could you explain a little more what you mean by traverse points and control points? 

I'm a bit confused.  I've never been accused of being too smart you know  :D

My bad on the confusion - I didn't realize I used both terms. A control point = a traverse point. They are the same thing.

Offline Piston

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2011, 06:18:07 pm »
Thanks Black Bear,
So in other words, one of my property lines is about 2,000' long, and there are some obstructions along the way of the direct course between iron pins, which are set at each corner.  So instead of me trying to make one long visible 'lane', I can make a series of 'lanes' that stitch the two corners (monuments) together?  This way, the surveyor will take say 4 measurements along these lanes, and then put them all into the computer, and come up with a single line.  Am I saying this right?
-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline Woodchuck53

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2011, 08:39:19 pm »
With all that has been said is it neccessary to contact the interested parties that you are surveying the right of way? Do you have a copy of the 1980 plat as prepared by the lasy surveyor? Can you put your hand on all existing markers? There is a family dispute here in our area involving just these fine points. The parent had passed and not worried about the division to his kids. Big problem. With GPS as said it might be earier for you there. Either way line of site is all the surveyor needs. Good luck. Chuck
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Offline Piston

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Re: Clearing property boundaries in preparation for surveyor
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2011, 09:37:53 pm »
Yes I do have a copy of the last survey, in fact it is a very detailed survey that lists exact locations of the boundaries clearly.  (in fact, I don't believe it is necessary to do another survey, but they are making me so there is nothing I can do about it)
The 2 neighboring lots have been there under the same owners since long before the last survey was done, and one of them had a survey done about 8 yrs ago or so.  I'm not worried about the boundaries being off or inaccurate or anything like that.  I also have a copy of the deed which explains the boundaries as the survey shows.  I've also looked up (gotta love internet) copies of the neighbors deeds and they all seem to agree.  Although I'm by no means a surveyor.  I know terrestrial navigation very well and understand distances and bearings much more than I need to.  It's the equipment a surveyor uses that I don't understand, because I've never been exposed to it.  I'm used to super accurate differential GPS and using acoustics for navigation, never used infrared before. I've had my fun with the good ole' compass as well. 
I'm very confident there won't be any issues with many of the horror stories we've all heard.  However, just because I'm confident doesn't mean I don't realize there is a possibility.   ;D
-Matt
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