People have been conducting land surveys for centuries. Determining property boundaries is important because it tells property owners where their responsibilities and benefits begin and end. Property owners have often argued and fought complicated legal battles over ownership of water, trees, and underground resources like oil. It is a land surveyor's job to determine where property lines are drawn and who has ownership of the land in certain areas.
Until recently, surveying land was done almost entirely by people with measuring equipment like tape and chains which were stretched across property. Calculations were then made, and a map of the property was drawn. Now surveyors use GPS signals from satellites to tell them where property lines begin and end. Here are some benefits to surveys conducted through GPS.
While traditional surveying techniques can only estimate land boundaries depending on the type of land being surveyed, boundaries determined by satellites can map land boundaries down to the centimeter.
Disputes about property ownership and rights to land based on property boundaries can now be easily solved using information obtained by a satellite. Property owners can have maps of farms, ranches and open spaces that are almost perfectly accurate.
Surveying land through a satellite system is much easier than walking the property and physically mapping the boundaries. Surveyors carry satellite antennas on tripods that can be folded into a backpack. They place these antennas at certain points on the property and then monitor the satellite information which is then used to calculate boundaries.
Professional surveyors can also make use of something called CORS or Continually Operating Reference Stations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains that this is a network of GPS antennas that have been installed at more than 1000 locations throughout North America, South America and several other countries. CORS uses GPS receivers that are permanently placed and constantly gathering information. Surveyors can connect to CORS to get up to date satellite information on the location of their surveys. They then use an online computer program called OPUS, or Online Positioning User Service that can turn information gathered through satellites into survey maps of properties.
With this new technology surveys can actually do most or all of their land surveying work online and may not have to have access to the physical location at all.
A land survey can be completed using satellites regardless of the area being surveyed. Before satellites, accurate surveys were difficult to obtain when surveyors could not access the entire area on foot or when chains or tape could not be stretched across the area. Now it doesn't matter if your property contains a dense wooded area, a desert landscape or even mountain terrain. All of those types of landscapes can be easily mapped using satellites.
Using the CORS satellites and other technology, surveyors can even map your property if it is in a place that is not accessible to humans.
Using satellites to determine land boundaries means less time spent walking through property taking measurements and making calculations. This involves fewer people and far fewer man hours, meaning that costs drop dramatically. When surveying companies spend less time and money mapping your property, you pay less for the service.
Satellite technology has completely changed the process and end results of land surveying. Property owners can now have maps that pinpoint the boundaries of their land, making it easier to determine which space is their responsibility and giving them proof of property ownership in the case of a legal issues involving their rights to the land. Surveyors themselves can do their jobs more efficiently and quickly without having to traverse landscapes that are difficult to access. Surveying land by satellite is good for everyone involved.