What is Territorial Survey? Equipment Used During a Territorial Survey

What is Territorial Survey? Equipment Used During a Territorial Survey

What is Territorial Survey?

A territorial survey is a sort of survey that investigates the area’s physical features, size, shape, topographical features, atmosphere, contours, soil types, and water supplies.

The purpose of the territorial survey is to provide a legal description of land for the purpose of land ownership, taxation, and other legal matters.

A territorial survey is also conducted to collect data on properties that is used by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other state agencies to assist in the assessment, management, development and protection of natural resources.

The data collected assists in addressing habitat needs for a wide variety of biotic communities such as backyards.

This survey can also be considered an appraisal. An appraisal is conducted during a property sale transaction to accurately determine the true market value of the property being sold.

Territorial Survey Background

In 1879, the United States Bureau of Land Management was formed as a part of the Department of Interior. The chief purpose was to classify and document public land for legislative purposes.

Today, there are over 200 million acres in this country (about half of the total land surface) that are subject to various land use and ownership issues.

In the last 50 years, Congress has passed numerous laws that have led to the creation of multiple new agencies in the federal government. New laws have also been passed that transfer ownership or management control over natural resources.

Territorial surveys are also required for land transfers such as home sales or purchases for commercial or industrial use. The land is transferred and sold daily in the United States, including access rights to the public.

The data collected and recorded by a territory surveyor is used by state agencies to maintain environmental quality, resource management, and community health.

The survey process itself has been designed to provide correct and accurate information regarding property boundaries, topography, wildlife, wildlife habitats, and land use. The results of the survey are then documented on maps for reference purposes after the process is completed.

A typical territorial survey takes about two weeks to complete.

Equipment used during a territorial survey

The main surveying equipment includes;

  1. Theodolite– Theodolites are instruments that measure horizontal and vertical angles. The data collected is used to create a topographical map. A factor surveyor will use the theodolite in order to determine slope, elevation and precise position of property lines. The surveyor will determine how steep or gradual the land is by using a compass and clinometer.
  2. Field Notes- Field notes are used to keep track of locations, land forms, soil types and potential uses for the property being surveyed.
  3. Total Station- This is used in Territorial Survey to measure elevation and calculate the angles that make up a property.
  4. Horizon level- It is used to measure heights and distances in relation to a horizontal plane.
  5. GPS- is used to survey land boundaries. The technology of GPS is new, but the accuracy has improved greatly over the last decade. Most surveyors today use a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) unit.

This device uses satellites orbiting the earth to determine latitude and longitude. Digital cameras are also used to capture exact property lines and conveyance information such as township and lot number.

  1. 3D Scanners- This is used in territorial Survey to measure and create digital data from video footage.
  2. Lidar units – can be used to create high-resolution digital maps. The lidar units are an alternative to traditional surveying equipment.
  3. A compass – This is used to determine the location of points, and use of a compass additionally allows the surveyor to measure angles from points on the ground.
  4. Level and Rod- These simple tools help surveyors control the angle of their measuring devices and ensure that accurate heights are being measured.

Procedure of Territorial Survey

A territorial survey usually begins with an appraisal. The purpose for an appraisal is to determine the value of a property or to see if the property needs repairs or maintenance before it can be sold.

A report from this kind of survey can also be used to sell a home or office buildings.

Although the appraisal is somewhat easy to complete, most buyers forget to ask and thus you may need a realtor who can help you sell your home or other property.

The process is:

First, the surveyor must be familiar with a standard set of planks that provide precise surveyor’s marks and angles. The planks are used to determine the exact location of property boundaries.

Secondly, the surveyor has to understand the principle of triangulation through which a survey is completed. This involves accurately measuring coordinates in order to create a map that shows every piece of property within a certain area. The map is then used to show the exact shape of each piece of property within the survey area.

Lastly, after conducting this process, the data must be compiled into documents that are shared with DNR staff and other agencies for review and use.

The need for standardization of the survey procedure

“According to the DNR’s Rules for Surveying, a certified surveyor should be performed by an individual who is trained in a four-year degree program followed by two years intern experience under licensure.”

At present there is no clearly established and universally accepted protocol for carrying out territorial surveys. This makes it difficult to make comparisons or use the data in one region covered by different methods. To overcome this problem, we need consistency in our surveying procedures.

Territorial Survey Application

In Tax assessment

The importance of territorial survey is in determining the true market value of property. Thus, accurate data is important for effective tax assessments.

If you are lucky, you will only need to hire a certified surveyor for your tax assessment, but most states require that you hire a licensed land surveyor to complete the process.

In Designing and Construction of Buildings

Saleable property values depend on how much it would cost to build a new property. However, the cost to build a new property is dependent on the terrain and other factors. Thus, obtaining accurate data on property boundaries is necessary for paying for the construction of new buildings.

In Road Construction and Maintenance

The purpose of road surveys is to make sure that the roads are aligned in a way that would disturb as little as possible along with those that need to be built. Also, it allows for general planning and decision-making.

In Utility Extension

Territorial surveys are used to determine the boundaries of an area that has the right to be connected to utility services.

In Land Transfer

Land surveys are usually done in conjunction with a real estate transaction in order to determine if the property is correctly identified. In addition, it could also be used to determine if any improvements need to be made on a piece of property before transferring ownership.

Before you buy any land or building you need a surveyor who can define the boundaries and check for any possible encroachments. In addition, the surveyor will assess the value of any improvements.

In land-use planning is sometimes necessary to determine if an encroachment has happened or not. Encroachments may occur for a number of reasons, but one thing that is certain is that these are usually trespasses committed by someone else.

In Surveyors Tips

Territorial surveys are used to create maps that show property boundaries. Surveyors have over 200 years of experience in site-specific mapping, and this set of skills is used to draw boundary lines on a map. The accuracy of these maps is vital to ensure that property is not encroached upon.

Territorial Survey Advantages

They are as follows:

  • Increases integrity of data
  • It reduces the time required for plan checking and approval
  • It allows for better utilization of government resources
  • It creates an environment where users have access to more reliable information

Territorial Survey Disadvantage

They include:

  • There are some hidden costs involved like if the property is located on steep terrain, it might take longer to complete the survey. Also, inconsiderate neighbors decide to build fences or other structures that would want to be removed they can add extra work.

In addition, the costs of removal of any structures would depend on the type of materials used and the amount that has been built.

  • If you are in a remote location, there is no way to access a good surveyor. If a neighbor wants to seek damages, then it would be very hard.
  • It is a lengthy process because you have to involve involves many others such as local government officials, property owners, neighbors and others.
  • They are not easy to use as it depends on the location of the land, terrain and other factors
  • Not all properties fall into one or two categories so you would have to create maps for each category. This is a time taking process that can lead to errors in the map making process.

Territorial Surveyor Challenges

Challenges of territorial surveyor include:

  • They have to be able to cooperate with different government agencies
  • They need constant communication with the communities that they serve
  • They need to liaise with different local government agencies.
  • They also have to have good interpersonal skills so that they can motivate and help others who may not be familiar with the process.
  • They also have to be physically fit as they will have to carry out their duties in different terrain which may require them to walk long distances.

Territorial Surveyor Requirements

To become a territorial surveyor, you will need to satisfy several requirements including:

  • You must have an associate degree in Surveying Technology
  • You must have a GIS certificate or a bachelor’s degree in Geospatial Technologies or Spatial Sciences or a master’s degree in GIS Technology.
  • You must also have three years of survey experience in the last five years.
  • You must have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • In addition, you will need to pass the Fundamentals of Surveying exam by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).

According to statistics there are over 200,000 employers that regularly need territorial survey services. In addition, they will be increasing because of technological advancements and advancements in GIS technology.


What is preliminary survey?

A territorial survey is a survey or mapping process within the legal boundaries of land. It is the first step in determining the value of properties that are located within those boundaries. The purpose of this process is to check for any possible encroachments to determine if it falls in one category or another.

What is a surveyor?

A surveyor is a professional that uses surveying instruments to establish the position of natural and man-made features.

What to Look for in a surveyor?

You need a territorial surveyor who has the right education and experience and who also has been professional as well as ethical in their work. Some qualities that are looked for include:

  • A good territorial surveyor needs to be open minded, organized, result oriented, detail oriented and time conscious.
  • They need to be self-motivated so that they can follow up on their duties and complete it in time.
  • They also should have a good knowledge of surveying laws and regulations as this will help them to understand the surveys that they are carrying out.
  • Territorial surveyors should have a firm understanding of surveying principles and practices. In addition, they should have a high level of integrity installed within them so that they can achieve the goals that they have set for themselves.

What topics are covered in civic survey?

A study of this type should encompass, at a minimum, the geology, geography, climate, economic life, and social institutions of the city and region.

What is the importance Territorial Survey?

Territorial surveys are used to create the maps that show property boundaries. Surveyors have over 200 years of experience in site-specific mapping, and this set of skills are used to draw boundary lines on a map. The accuracy of these maps is vital to ensure that property is not encroached upon.

What is functional survey?

For a patient treated in primary care, the Functional Status Questionnaire can be utilized as a self-administered functional evaluation.

It describes the patient’s physical, psychological, social, and role functions. It can be used to screen for difficulties at the outset as well as to track the patient’s progress over time.

What is a preliminary survey?

A preliminary survey is done in order to adjust the boundary lines as per the law and regulations. This process involves three steps:

  1. The preliminary surveyor will mark two parallel lines on the irregular boundaries to determine which sides are the property boundary of both sides
  2. It’s necessary that these two lines find where they cross with the legal boundary so that you can establish a new legal boundary line. This can be either above or below depending on what government policy that is in force around this area
  3. A legal survey will then be done to create the final or official map. It is important to note that when you are a territorial surveyor, you must always refer to the civil code which makes certain that you are following the legal process.

What is a Spatial Information System (GIS)?

A GIS is a set of computer programs used for creating, storing, and displaying geographic information. In addition, they are used for managing geographic data and maps.

Why should you choose a professional territorial surveyor?

The role of a territorial surveyor is to draw, draft, and read maps as well as to calculate and measure the boundaries of the property. This can lead to disputes between both parties and it is therefore important that you have a professional who has supervised the survey.

A territorial surveyor will also use aerial photography or satellite images in order to provide a detailed picture of the land that needs drafting so that no mistakes are made.

What is the preliminary survey?

The preliminary survey serves as the basis upon which the remainder of the project is built. The preliminary survey comprises acquiring geographic data regarding the anticipated route as well as the project’s data output needs.

What is the advantage of a territorial survey?

The advantage of territorial survey is that it makes the job easier. The lines that are drawn can be used on a regular basis and there will not be any mistakes made.

Additionally, a territorial surveyor ensures that all the existing structures within the area are identified and documented so that they can be compensated for.

What is the disadvantage of a territorial survey?

The disadvantage of territorial survey is that it is a very time-consuming process. In addition, it can require a huge investment. You can also use different technology to carry out the same job so in this situation you are left with a choice of which one you will use.

What is survey in town planning?

The town planning is the system that allows the development of a city or town. It also provides guidelines on how to use land, including where to build and how big buildings need to be.

The survey in town planning also measures the existing structures and documents them so they can be compensated for.


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