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how to read a survey map with a compass

For example, a small circle on the survey might refer to a manhole cover. Use ‘back bearings’ to identify where you are from two or more distant known objects. Once land is surveyed using a given system, the description remains with that parcel forever. Land surveys use a different system to determine the location of land. So, we have asked Ordnance Survey to put together a quick a simple guide on how to read a map and use a compass. The first thing we’ll start with is identifying the various parts on a compass. 4, T39N, R23W. Now rotate the compass housing so that the orienting arrow lines up with grid north, and the horizontal lines inside the compass line up with the horizontal grid lines, or are parallel with the blue grid lines if they are not near to one. This is the most widely used Metes and Bounds system. Travel to the point identified and repeat the process when you get there. To figure out which way you need to go to reach your destination, you will need to know where you are and where that is on the map. Contour lines are orange or brown squiggly lines, with numbers next to them. You’re not familiar with the region. It may be a magnetic bearing or a grid bearing, depending upon the local convention. Your email address will not be published. The compass often includes the written four cardinal directions—north, south, east and west—or as degrees—the direction of north designated as 0/360 degrees, east as 90 degrees, south as 180 degrees and west as 270 degrees. The survey identifies the boundaries of the property. of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. This reads "North, 63 degrees East." Your email address will not be published. You also need to know what the symbols on the survey represent, and what scale is used. We've collected some of our top map reading resources all in one place to get you started in this vital outdoor skill. Maps are shown in different scales (for example 1:25k or 1:50k). the angle traversed from point C to point B passing through point H, or the angle at point D that is defined by points C and H. CHB may also refer to a particular type of soil in the designated area. Place the edge of the compass base plate along the line connecting A. where you are and B. your destination. Copyright © 2018 Berghaus Limited. With the information on this page, we aim to show you how to correctly use a compass. We shared with our Fb readers at homesteadlady.com. Find the quarter-quarter section. For example, between N (North) and NE (Northeast), there are three compass points: NxE, NNE, NExN. We were not drawing a line in the sand to say “this line on the ground IS the property line”, rather, we were looking for a direction to help us find a missing pin. How to Read a Survey Plat. Michigan State University Extension: Michigan Forests Forever Teachers Guide, San Francisco Estuary Institute: Projections and Survey Systems, Direct Line Software: Metes and Bounds Surveys, Geospatial Training and Analysis Cooperative: Introduction to Topographic Maps. By dropping in, you agree on our use of cookies. It is #NationalMapReadingWeek! The lines represent the contours of the land, and the numbers tell you the height each line is above sea level. Once the grid is separated into townships, it can be further divided into sections that are one square mile. To read a land parcel map that was surveyed using this system, you need to understand how to read the compass headings. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Compass housing or wheel, degrees covering 360 degrees, and N-S-E-W or cardinal points for North, South, East and West. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved. It’s best to line your compass up with something in the distance and head towards that. 4, NW1/4 SE1/4. Carolyn Enright began working as a professional writer in corporate communications in 1992. Index line – the beginning of the direction of travel arrow. Not taking magnetic variation into account – Make sure you check for magnetic variation and take it into account when lining up your compass. To understand it, consider that the right-most column of sections in a township numbered in descending order would be: 1, 12, 13, 24, 25, and 36. Your land survey plan may look daunting at first glance, but understanding it is very important. In fact, we walk right up to it, despite all of the imperfections in the method we used. Using a compass in the outdoors is central to a lot of activities from hill walking, cycling and camping. CHB and CDH on a survey may refer to angles between points marked on the plan, i.e. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. If magnetic north is to the right of true north, subtract the MN value from the true north value. SN 243 637 = 6 Compass readings set the direction from one property corner to another. Would you Sign Up for our Newsletter? This article has been viewed 101,831 times. The legend will explain which symbols, colours and shapes represent roads, footpaths, woods, buildings, rivers, streams, and much more. The longer your trip the greater the variance between the two. Survey plans are prepared by professional land surveyors, who identify and record each and every feature and measurement that contributes to the definition of a property. This value should not change as you travel to your destination. To work out a 4-figure grid reference, always give the eastings number first and northing second. Ben Robertson on the life saving benefits …, GORDON DAVISON, CO-FOUNDER OF BERGHAUS, 30.11.34 – …. Ruler(s): Used with your map’s scale to determine distances. They are given as coordinates, made from horizontal lines, with the equator referring to 0 latitude, and vertical lines, with the line passing through the prime meridian referring to 0 longitude. Be sure to add on this magnetic variation by rotating the compass housing. What are the minutes and seconds on a land survey? This is particularly useful if no noticeable property boundary, such as a fence or stone wall, is present. To educate yourself, you first use the PLSS map to pin down the precise location of the land. The San Francisco Estuary Institute provides a sample legal description under this system: "Commencing from a point one-half mile upstream from Smith Bridge on Jones Creek, proceed northeast 500 feet to Spring Hill, then northwest to the large oak tree, then southwest to the large rock in the middle of Jones Creek, then along Jones Creek to the origin." Check out this Wikipedia file on Magnetic Declination for help determining any adjustments you might need to make. This article has been viewed 101,831 times. Classroom is the educational resource for people of all ages. of Agriculture, Food and Marine, GIS and Dept. The center of the direction of travel arrow, or the compass needle, should be directly over the line drawn. To understand why you might need these details, assume that you are considering buying land in another state. The larger the map scale, the more detail that will be shown on the page, and the smaller the scale, the less detail will be shown. I know this method is imprecise and so forth, but it is precise enough to help you find another location that  has already been legally surveyed. Each section is then divided into 16 forty-acre plots, referred to as "forties.". You need to adjust your compass for magnetic variation. Reading a compass allows you to determine the bearing, or direction, location and how to get to a specific destination on a topographic map—a map which describes the shape of the land. This article was co-authored by Carla Toebe. An example heading might be N63E. Her work includes executive speeches, annual reports, newspaper and magazine articles, newsletters and online training modules. This impacts the location of your property. References. Flip the legal description so it reads backwards, from right to left, from the smallest to the largest unit. The compass itself consists of a magnetic needle, regulated by a magnetic force, with a … If it says the same direction again, then trust it – it’s usually right, and your sense of direction wrong. The letter "x" represents the word "by." Place the survey illustration on a large flat surface, as property surveys can be quite large. Magnetic north is different to map grid north because magnetic north (where the compass needle points) changes in different places of the world and changes over time. We’ll help you understand the basics of a survey plan and how to use it. The grid is segregated into squares that are 24 miles on each side. © 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. The only way to be protected over property boundary disputes is to purchase an extended title insurance policy and get a land survey. You could pick a tree or a house, but don’t pick anything like an animal as these are likely to move! Photo by J&J. Now that we know which way to go we adjusted the bezel ring on our compass so that 216 degrees was pointing “forward”. With the understanding that we are not on a perfect course, we can proceed the direction we need to go knowing we will be very close to our destination. Early American land records were characterized by descriptions that often sounded like this 1812 excerpt from Connecticut: Unlock this expert answer by supporting wikiHow, http://porch.com/advice/hire-surveyor-diy/, http://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/a_plss.html, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/legend, http://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/a_plss.html#three, https://www.maptools.com/tutorials/lat_lon/definitions, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestmanagement/documents/plsstutorial.pdf, http://geology.isu.edu/geostac/Field_Exercise/topomaps/plss.htm, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Jasmine Knight began writing in 2007. Property disputes almost always require review of a survey plat. The illustration is basically a map of the area surveyed. Move your compass over the line that you drew with your pencil. Point Of Beginning. It should look something like this example from Michigan State University Extension: T39N, R23W, Sec. Longitude and latitude are precise measurements used for navigation. However, many land parcels in America also were surveyed using a Metes and Bounds system that describes land boundaries using landmarks and compass readings.

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