We provide a full range of survey and mapping services including ALTA Land Title Surveys, legal descriptions and plats, subdivision mapping, condominium plats, topographic surveying, construction staking, and boundary surveying. Our work processes emphasize communication, efficiency, and consistency to meet the needs of the project and client.
We realize the users of surveys are not professional land surveyors themselves and, therefore, such plats and maps need to depict physical and recorded features explicitly and simply so that anyone can read them without ambiguity or assumptions.
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This is one of the most common types of surveys due to its wide range of uses. A boundary survey is used to establish the boundaries of a parcel using its legal description and physical evidence on the property. This typically involves the setting or restoration of monuments or markers at the corners or along the lines of the parcel, often in the form of iron rods, pipes, or concrete monuments in the ground, or nails set in concrete or asphalt. A map or plat is then drafted from the field data to provide a representation of the parcel surveyed. A boundary survey can be used by anyone from a homeowner to corporations for a wide range of purposes including, but not limited to: determining property line locations, for municipal and county requirements for building structures, locating easements and to resolve property disputes.
Plat of Survey / Property Survey
Similar to the boundary survey, a plat of survey will include all the elements of a boundary survey and will also depict and/or locate other items of interest to the client. Examples of items of interest include, but are not limited to: edge of tree canopies, any structures on the property like wells or concrete pads, visible evidence of utilities, easements and topography.
An ALTA/ACSM survey is made for a title company and/or Lender to provide survey data that is used in issuing title or mortgage insurance. The ALTA requirements specify the survey data to be shown on the survey and this includes, but not limited to: boundary lines, location of the main building including improvements, location of ancillary buildings, the identification of easements (access rights by service companies such as water, gas, telephone, railways, utilities) and other conditions affecting the property. ALTA/ACSM stands for American Land Title Association / American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Developers and owners of commercial real estate properties such as shopping centers, retail stores, office buildings and complexes, industrial buildings and apartment complexes typically use ALTA/ACSM surveys.
The residential mortgage survey is a scaled down version of the ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey, which depicts the house, garage and property boundaries. This survey is made for the purpose of the title insurer, the buyer, and/or lender to close upon a residential property with confidence that there are no major conflicts and/or encroachments that would be revealed by a land survey. Mortgage surveys are typically used for residential properties.
Topographic Survey / Topographic Map
A topographic survey or map is the determination of the configuration, relief or elevations of a portion of the earth's surface, including the location of natural and/or man made features thereon. A Topographic Survey is necessary in order to prepare an accurate topographic map and requires the expert skill of a Registered Professional Land Surveyor well versed in maintaining accuracy and precision in mapping. A Topographic Survey is not intended as a boundary survey, although some boundaries and locations may necessarily be defined; however, in some cases, at the request of the client, a Topographic Survey may be incorporated with one of the above mentioned boundary surveys.
The purpose of the Topographic Survey is to gather relevant information that will be represented on a topographic map. The topographic map is used by a variety of interested parties, such as land owners, engineers, architects, planners, developers, landscape architects and governmental agencies for numerous uses, ranging from land use or development, to flood control.
The cost of the Topographic Survey will vary greatly depending on size of project, accuracy requirements, and intended use. It is imperative that the Surveyor is made aware of the intended use of the topographic information, which will enable the Surveyor to complete the project in the most timely and cost effective manner possible.
Also known as a "Subdivision Plat", it is the subdivision of a tract of land into smaller parcels, showing monumentation and mathematical survey data on a map, conforming to local Government (usually City, County and State) ordinances and state laws. In Wisconsin, there are two types of subdivisions: basic subdivisions (or final plats) and minor subdivisions (or Certified Survey Maps).
Certified Survey Map (CSM)
A Certified Survey Map or CSM is a minor subdivision defined as a subdivision of not more than four parcels of land. A Certified Survey Map is sometimes preferable to a Final Plat due to typically fewer government agencies reviewing the CSM for approval, such as the Department of Transportation and the Department of Administration (Plat Review). This means a CSM may be completed in less time and for less cost than a final plat.
A Certified Survey Map can be used to divide land into several parcels and also can be used to combine several parcels of land together. Some municipalities' ordinances require a CSM or final plat in order to make any kind of change in a land parcel's boundaries. Certified Survey Maps are typically used by landowners who need to alter their land parcel's boundaries. This includes creating new parcels, combining several parcels together and reconfiguring several parcels' boundaries.
Preliminary Plat / Final Plat
A final plat is a subdivision of five or more parcels of land. Due to the numerous parcels of land being created, land for public roads or right-of-way are also typically dedicated and appropriate easements created on the face of the plat.
In addition to the local agencies (usually municipalities & counties), the Department of Administration (Plat Review) and possibly the Department of Transportation will review the preliminary plat and final plat for approval. Typically, a preliminary plat is created for review by the approving agencies prior to the final plat. Residential developers most commonly employ land surveyors to create preliminary and final plats.
A condominium is a form of ownership whereby a person has both separate ownership of a portion (unit) within the development, and also an interest in the common areas of the development shared with other owners. A condominium plat is drafted and submitted to the appropriate authorities along with the declaration of the condominium. The condominium plat and the declaration of the condominium are recorded together to create the condominium. A condominium plat may be used for sites such as duplex buildings or an apartment complex.
Construction Staking / Construction Survey / House Stake-out Survey
Construction staking and a construction survey are the critical first steps in any construction, as it provides horizontal and vertical definition of any new development. It is performed when a land surveyor takes the data from the approved plans and applies it to the building site. The surveyor will mark the site usually with construction stakes to indicate what is to be done at each location.
House Stake-out Surveys are a specialized construction survey with the specific purpose of staking the exterior dimensions of a new home or addition and providing a map of the stake-out for building permitting purposes.
Elevation Certificate (Flood Elevation Certificate)
The Elevation Certificate is performed for the purpose of rating the cost of flood insurance. It reports the elevation above or below a base flood elevation from a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
Typically, it can be ascertained whether a particular piece of property lies within a special flood hazard area by scaling from the FIRM; however, when a particular tract or piece of property scales close to or within a flood hazard area, an Elevation Certificate is needed to determine if the residence, building, or other improvements are above the base flood elevation.
A survey performed to obtain horizontal and or vertical dimensional data so that a constructed facility may be delineated (i.e. foundation survey, or as-built of improvement). Specifically, an As-Built Survey is a survey to physically locate structures and improvements on a parcel of land, generally for mortgage purposes.
Tree Survey / Tree Inventory
A tree survey is not a land survey and does not need to be performed by a professional land surveyor, but an individual with knowledge of tree species or a forester.
A tree inventory or tree survey is a detailed accounting of all trees within a specified area (usually a parcel of land). Information such as size, condition, species, maintenance, tree health needs, and even site information such as the existence of overhead lines or if the tree is causing sidewalk damage can be included in an inventory. Municipalities will often require a tree survey before trees can be removed from a lot. Please check your local ordinances before cutting down a wooded area.
Tree inventories allow a community to determine the value of individual trees or the entire community forest. They aid in planting plans, engineering, help in identifying planting spaces, and allow us to diversify the species of trees growing in the community.
Legal Description Writing (Consultation)
A Legal Description of the property identifies the properties location, boundaries, and contents. This includes, but not limited to, legal descriptions of a property or portions of property, easements, rezoning, quitclaims and anything else that would require a legal description. Typically, these legal descriptions are described by metes and bounds. Often, an attorney will need a legal description when drafting a legal document.
Expert Witness for Land Surveying Court Cases (Consultation)
This includes analysis of various legal descriptions and survey maps; field locating of record, existing monuments, and physical features; and mapping showing this information for the purpose of presenting a visual exhibit to be used in a courtroom.