We Get Letters

We receive a fair amount of correspondence, often from people who think we do surveying. I explain that we are a magazine not an actual surveying company and steer them to their state society to find a surveyor. We recently received this letter, which serves to illustrate what I’ve been saying about threats:

I am writing to you in light of a property boundary dispute with my neighbor. I live in X, where the requirement of a property boundary survey is not mandated by the city to construct a fence; the only legal prerequisite is a building permit.

Recently, my neighbor expressed his intent to build a new fence. However, I am of the belief that there may be a misunderstanding on his part about the exact location of our property boundary. I have collected data through public record requests and utilized my knowledge of AI and GIS mapping to better understand the property lines. From my research, it appears that when the existing fence was constructed in the 1970s, a property survey was not conducted.

Based on my collected data, it appears that I own approximately 2.875 feet more land than previously thought. To confirm this, I am interested in having a property boundary survey conducted as soon as possible. This survey is crucial as it may predicate a civil suit against my neighbor, contingent on the outcome.

Additionally, I am fascinated by advancements in surveying technology, specifically lidar and drone imaging. I have a background in working with aerial photography, and I am keen to see how these modern methods could bring more accuracy and precision to our situation. I would appreciate it if you could explain more about how you may employ these technologies in the proposed survey.

Please feel free to reach me at your earliest convenience to discuss the next steps, possible costs, and any necessary information you might need from me.

I shared the letter with Carl De Baca, and he immediately replied:

2.875 feet, huh? Wow.

“My neighbor has a misunderstanding of the exact location of our boundary.”

It’s like an early locust sighting. Uh, oh—here they come…

One would wonder how he got his distance to the nearest thousandth of a foot. The website techdator.net/land-surveying-apps/ provides more do it yourself goodness.

New Issue

We have more great content in the new issue, including two Guinness World Records, a look at monument preservation after natural disasters, court cases regarding threats to licensing, the long-awaited revision to the Elevation Certificate, celebrations of our profession, and much more. Of particular note is an article by Dick Elgin about his project to gather survey pricing information. This is not an attempt to fix prices, but rather to detect pricing trends. The anonymous questionnaire can be completed online. To give us enough data, we hope you will participate.


Apologies to Dave Doyle for leaving his name off the Gannett letter to the editor in the last issue. Mea culpa. Many of you know Dave from the seminar circuit as he spent many years as a geodesist for NGS. I credit Dave with originating the term Ronco GPS, as something you could rent from Home Depot to do your own surveying. Nah, no threat there.

About the Author

Marc Cheves, PS

Marc Cheves is editor emeritus of the magazine. He has been a surveyor since 1963 and is licensed in five states. Since 1995 he has been a surveying magazine editor.