We often get comments and questions about GIS, Geographical Information Systems, and GPS, Global Positioning Systems, and their use in surveying. When surveying property lines in the forest a good sharp bush axe, a “gun”, and an experienced surveyor are much more important than GIS or GPS.
The “gun” is also known as a total station. A total station is a theodolite integrated with an EDM. The theodolite measures horizontal and vertical angles. The EDM, electronic distance meter, measures distances. Mark Shumate, with Precision Land Surveying, is shown running the gun while surveying a property line for a client in Yadkin County.
A survey crew starts off by researching the land records in the local courthouse for the property they are surveying and the surrounding properties. They then go out and traverse around their property. Traversing involves setting up stations around the property and using the “gun” to turn the angles and measure the distances to each station.
The crew has to be able to see between each station. Micah Sidden, owner of Precision Land Surveying, is chopping line to the next station.
That’s where the sharp bush axe comes in. The crew will also locate all of the property line evidence; corners, marked trees, etc… as they go. After the field data is collected the surveyor analyzes the written records and the field data and makes the decisions on where the property corners, if any are missing, are to be set. The crew will then go back out and set the missing corners. On surveys for forest land it is also a very good idea to have the crew mark the property lines. Often corners are thousands of feet apart and landowners don’t really know where their property is even after having the property corners set.