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Does anyone know how to read a property Survey?

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  • May 23rd, 2019 11:43 am
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place

Does anyone know how to read a property Survey?

I just bought this place, and I want to build a Garage on the land.

I have the survey, see the attached Document.
plan_26R1979.TIF


I would like to ultimately convert the map locations to GPS Coordinates, but I have been struggling for weeks to understand the survey, and more specifically, where to start?

I understand bits of it now that I have read so much of it is still confusing.
23 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
11877 posts
8133 upvotes
Edmonton
menglor wrote: I just bought this place, and I want to build a Garage on the land.

I have the survey, see the attached Document.

plan_26R1979.TIF



I would like to ultimately convert the map locations to GPS Coordinates, but I have been struggling for weeks to understand the survey, and more specifically, where to start?

I understand bits of it now that I have read so much of it is still confusing.
Why GPS co-ordinates? How is that going to help you build a garage?

Typically, you start from a known point (a marker) and measure out relative from that.

C
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2007
2266 posts
1617 upvotes
SW Ontario
Unless you have a very high end GPS unit in the thousands of dollars, I doubt you will ever get the accuracy of the survey measures listed to mean anything.

I spent many years dealing with surveys, especially for the Federal Governement both manually and GPS.

You are much further ahead to spend the time learning how to read and interprete the survey measures.
I'd rather be outdoors camping, kayaking, and mountain biking ...
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
ok, so I need to be 6 meters out from the property line and 23 feet from the front of the property line.

I have the survey, but where the pins MIGHT be is not clear, and even less clear with the numbers on the survey of where to start, how to read it ....

if you dont know where to start, how do I know were to go out 23 feet from? If I knew where the markers were I wouldn't be asking for the coordinates.

With GPS coordinates, I can plot out where i want to build.

The example I would give, If I was to bake a cake, if you dont know how to read the ingredients list, 1lbs of Salt or 1Kg of salt will have huge difference in flavor.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
Maybe I should re ask the question.

I need to find the markers on my property:

- Assuming the pin's are no longer available,
- Assuming I dont want to spend 2000$ hiring a survey company because I have the survey.
- How do you read the Survey, you know where the first marker is?
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9634 posts
5033 upvotes
Paris
menglor wrote: The example I would give, If I was to bake a cake, if you dont know how to read the ingredients list, 1lbs of Salt or 1Kg of salt will have huge difference in flavor.
I think what they are saying about civilian GPS, relative to your example, is that all bags come in 25 kg sizes, you have no additional measuring device, and all bags are unlabelled.

The accuracy just isnt there. For farmers that use GPS for planting there are additional towers set up by the dealer to give them sub-inch accuracy. Without those towers, I think the best you can do right now with civilian GPS is 3 meters.

Is there a structure on an adjacent property you could start from?
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
I am in the middle of very heavily tree'ed street and nothing that would constitute a point of reference.

one thing that is confusing to me is, I look at the Survey, I see 4 distinctive points. and Coordinates with bearings and distance. so it should make sense that if you know where to start, you just follow the bearing and distance, but I have no clue where to start.

I would also be happy with a 3 meter variance at this point.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1285 posts
978 upvotes
HAMILTON
Where did you get the survey ??? Did it come with the house or ???? Being dated 1985 it is quite old,

If there is a house on the property, there should be a more recent survey as it would be required to build the house.

Firstly, if the survey company is still in business, they will have a copy of the survey and most are more than willing to give you some help or just explain it to you. If they are not around anymore, find another survey company and see if they will help you understand the survey you have. Many are cooperative as they like to share their knowledge.

Also, instead of a full survey, ask them to come out and make the pegs again for you. They could do so for a few hundred $ but worth it in the end. Once you have the pegs, placement of the garage is a push over.

Now this is an old ( really old ) survey since it does not show any houses. There is usually a survey for house placement relating to property lines. Go to the nearest Land Registry office and you can look up more surveys by your address. The staff their are helpful but cannot do it for you. Just push you in the correct direction. Will only cost a few $

You can look up your neighbors address and see their survey ( if house on it ). Will give distances from property line so just start working from there.

Since you have been flogging at it for a bit, I would just find the originating surveyor or another and ask them to just explain it. For future use, I would also see it they would locate the corner pins.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
11877 posts
8133 upvotes
Edmonton
Well, your picture is too fuzzy to get many details from it.

The advice luckystrike1 gives is good. One more option (and you should probably do this anyway if there's any possibility of existing utilities) is to request a utilities locate.

You could also try this:
https://www.wikihow.com/Read-a-Property-Survey


Googling "reading property survey" turns up plenty of links.

C
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
House was purchased last week. So that's the survey everyone is using.

I will try a few of your suggestions. Bought a metal detector do go fishing. But I was hoping for a starting point y
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4804 posts
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You bought a house with a survey that's 35 years old?
Let's hug it out
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
Sure 2 acres of land. And I am never going to use it all. Nearest neighbour is 150 feet.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 19, 2008
6581 posts
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GTA
menglor wrote: ok, so I need to be 6 meters out from the property line and 23 feet from the front of the property line.

I have the survey, but where the pins MIGHT be is not clear, and even less clear with the numbers on the survey of where to start, how to read it ....

if you dont know where to start, how do I know were to go out 23 feet from? If I knew where the markers were I wouldn't be asking for the coordinates.
Your pic isn't very clear but the rear property line survey pins should be easiest to find. Survey is old but at one time there was a "rail fence" on the property line on bottom of the survey, it almost intersects with a Bell line close to a corner survey marker. Find one marker at the rear and you can use it to find the other as you have a measurement and compass line.
Use those rear survey markers to find the others with a compass & measurements. There is less chance the rear markers were disturbed unless a fence builder did so.
Watch some Youtube vids on throwing a property line with a compass.

6 metres out from side property line sounds high, double check that.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1285 posts
978 upvotes
HAMILTON
Now truthfully, I would get a new survey and this is the reason why.

Bought a place with 2.5 acres. Property was 135' across the front and 1000' deep. Had a survey but an older one ( not as old as yours ). Showed my place and the neighbors house, etc. I knew where all the pins were and marked them out myself with 2" of white PVC pipe over them.

House next door went thru a few owners and was vacant. Decided to put up a 6' board fence, 100' long along that side starting equal the the back on my house and along the property line but 1" in. Friends and I did the fence and all was good. I placed the fence exactly 4' from the closest corner of the other property to mine..... right on the fence line.

House next door sold again ( probably 4th or 5th time ( had basement water issues ) but I didn't as not my problem. Few weeks before closing on the property next door I got a call from my lawyer. Apparently, my survey was not exactly accurate. The very 1st owner had put on an addition that crossed the property line ( right where my fence was ) and was not shown on the survey.
Screw up on the part of a lawyer and a survey company. Primarily lawyer. Choice was either make them tear down the addition, since it infringed on my property or sell them a small chunk of my property.

Money sometimes talks so I sold a small piece on my property that began at the began where my fence started to where my fence ended and still 1" off the new property. So, instead of that side having a straight property line, it had a jut in it. Really didn't impact on me as that is where my fence was anyways. Part of the deal was to survey my whole property AND the selling property and supply both surveys to me. Worked out because a subsequent owner started to build a barn on his property but too close to the property line. I was able to prove to him and it solved that problem.
I am a firm believer in having a current property survey done............. stops neighbors from putting sheds, barns and whatever to close to the property line and lets me build what I need within the lines. Saves grief........
A survey is what I consider money well spent.

Moved and bought another country property, larger property, with the condition of a recent survey provided before closing.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 19, 2008
6581 posts
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GTA
Agree getting a new survey would be best, and researching bylaw on the side setback as I mentioned. That said, its hard to see on the pic but it does show 2 solid survey markers where the corners of Part 3 sit on Part 1 property line. Legend (seems to) list as Denotes Found?......if so the surveyor in 1984 found those 2 pins. You should be able to find those 2 markers and the 2 at Part 1 rear lot line.....as soon as you find 1 marker its fairly easy to measure and locate other pins
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
3459 posts
1219 upvotes
Ottawa
We had a garage torn down and rebuilt, and ended up paying $$$ to get the pins marked. Don't think any company will do it for only a few hundred. We had used a metal detector unsuccessfully.

Assume you are getting a permit? The city/township will want confirmation about setbacks.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
my lawyer , said it would cost me about 3500$ maybe more.

I understand that I need to find the first pin. I know what once I find the pin it shouldnt be too rough to find the others.

but the underlying question of this thread has been "How do you find the first one from reading the survey map" nothing here says to me, "this is the Starting point"

Sure, there are 4 points on the map, and I could go bottom Right point on the map, since its the logical place to start. but how does one know to go to that spot in the dirt, and not some other place 30 miles down the road?
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
going to try an attempt to link the picture, so that the forums doesnt shrink it.


drive.google.com/open?id=1o8z3aVG2rgIjq9tMY3CLOa5JJi0Rka_p
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2303 posts
1281 upvotes
Alliston, ON
You should be able to use the hydro poles and wire fence (if still there) to help you find the location of one of the pins. Use the scale of the map (1" =60') as a guide, if you have the original sized prints
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 25, 2013
30 posts
Carleton Place
ahh thanks, thats an interesting thought

never considered that one.

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