238.2 Land Surveying
From Engineering Policy Guide
238.2.1 Location Surveys and Definitions
Surveys that are the responsibility of a project surveyor (Registered Survey Party Chief) are generally described as Location Surveys. They are used to locate the right of way corridor, used to locate public and private lands, used to locate tracts described by metes and bounds, or used to locate any property associated to a right or interest. Location Surveys performed by MoDOT project surveyors fall into four basic categories;
- Right of way surveys,
- Right of way resurveys,
- Department parcel surveys, and
- Public land surveys.
To ensure proper accounting for each of the various surveying tasks involved with land surveys, the correct coding must always be used.
238.2.2 Right of Way surveys
Right of way surveys are performed for the purpose of locating, monumenting and describing newly acquired lands to be used for development of a highway corridor, creating a new parcel defined by the right of way limits. A right of way survey is an original survey of the corridor parcel made at the time the parcel is created. The right of way survey is not made to ascertain existing boundaries. It is made to create the new right of way. Right of way surveys are conducted as part of the larger highway project. The right of way survey will occur as part of the design stage of the project. In general terms, right of way procedures will be performed during the preliminary design phase and the final design phase.
238.2.3 Right of Way Resurveys
Right of way resurveys are performed for the purpose of remarking, reestablishing, restoring or delineating the right of way line or breaks of a previously created corridor. These surveys are to restore the original right of way lines in the same position as they were originally marked. They are called for in instances of right of way encroachment, location disputes, excess right of way, etc.
238.2.4 Parcel Surveys
Department parcel surveys are standard boundary surveys performed for the locating, monumenting and describing of parcels that are acquired by the department for the purpose of facilities management. These surveys, not associated to any right of way, create a new parcel out of a larger parent tract, for the purpose of conveying the new parcel.
238.2.5 Public land surveys
Public land surveys are performed for the resurvey of the lands of the United States Public Land Survey System. These surveys will be performed during the conduct of all location surveys. Ties to the public land survey system are necessary for locating rights of way and parcels. Public land surveys will also be performed for the purpose of perpetuating the public corners that are affected by corridor development and highway construction.
238.2.6 Survey Supervision
The district land survey manager, land survey supervisior, or land surveyor is required to provide "immediate personal supervision" of the following activities:
- the location survey,
- the location survey plan preparation,
- writing of the land descriptions,
- and the marking of all MoDOT's land boundaries or rights in real property.
These duties shall be completed by or under the direction of the professional land surveyor (PLS). "Immediate personal supervision" is defined as complete oversight and reponsibility of the work products defined in this article and not necessarily management supervision of the individuals performing the work.
Supervision of the survey will entail:
- 1. Acquisition of all necessary records and data.
- 2. Investigation of the selection of the ground control (such as section corners, block corners, survey corners or other corners or monuments found) as a result of the field survey to be used to position the survey on the ground.
- 3. Reviewing the execution of the survey, the survey computations and the preparation of the drawing.
Supervision of the location survey plan and land description:
- 1. Supervise each step of the preparation of the plats, maps, survey plans, drawings, reports, description, surveys or other documents and have input into their preparation prior to their completion.
- 2. Review the final plats, maps, survey plans, drawings, reports, descriptions, surveys or other documents and makes necessary and appropriate changes.
Supervision of setting and reestablishing right of way:
- 1. During design and construction activities, the need to locate right of way can occur at any time throughout our process. Best management practice establishes all of the right of way monuments before construction. This addresses most, if not all, construction marking issues. This approach may require resource reallocation to allow for adequate PLS involvement prior to the project award. These duties can be completed by or under the direction (oversight and responsibility) of the PLS.
- 2. During utility construction activities, the construction surveyor can mark utility locations or utility corridors anywhere within MoDOT’s marked property boundaries. Should the right of way boundary need to be marked, the work can be completed by or under the direction (oversight and responsibility) of the PLS.
- 3. When granting a permit for a driveway, the improvement is intended to extend to MoDOT’s right of way line. If monuments are in place, they may be used to detect the location of MoDOT’s right of way at the permit location. If there are no monuments in place, the work can be completed by or under the direction (oversight and responsibility) of the PLS.
- 4. The practice of showing landowners where to build a fence has always been a common activity for MoDOT personnel. If there are no existing right of way markers, the landowner can choose to have a survey done by a private surveyor or MoDOT surveyors could complete the necessary survey for the landowner depending on the availability of resources and the anticipated completion date.
238.2.7 Contacts with property owners
Prior to a request for a survey the designer sends a letter to property owners located along the proposed roadway improvement. The district Right of Way office will supply the designer with a list of property owners and their addresses. The survey party chief will contact property owners and/or occupants, if conveniently possible, prior to entering a property as a matter of respect and to promote good public relations. The survey party chief explains in general the proposed improvement, explains in layman terms how the survey will proceed, and requests the consent of the owner and/or occupant to proceed with the survey. Should the owner and/or occupant refuse to allow the survey party chief to enter the property the project development engineer is immediately advised of the situation. They will handle the case beyond this point. The survey party will not enter any property when consent to enter has been refused until further advised by the project development engineer. The survey party chief will advise the owner and/or occupant that the survey is made a step at a time and the party will be passing through the property several times to complete the work. These numerous visits are not an indication that mistakes have been made. If the survey is a photogrammetric survey the owner and/or occupant must understand the placement and purpose of ground control targets. The public is never given questionable information by the survey party. It is much better to say, "I do not know" than to impart false information. A letter may be sent to property owners in lieu of other means of contact
238.2.8 Survey Property Damage
During the process of making surveys, it may become necessary to trim crops or trees; or be involved in other circumstances that may involve property damage related to obtaining survey information. When property damage does result, it is the responsibility of the survey party chief to complete the Property Damage Release and Report Form A-472, and obtain the necessary signature if possible. It may also be necessary to complete a Crop Damage Compensation Agreement and Release (RW11). If circumstances of the property damage are questionable, a letter of explanation will be sent to the Design Division prior to submitting the property damage release and report form to fiscal services. The property owner must be contacted prior to the cutting of crops or trees. The survey party chief must inform the property owner of the need for, and the extent of, the required damage.
238.2.9 Traffic safety
Survey parties are to utilize the equipment and procedures available to provide the maximum level of safety for their personnel and the traveling public. When working on the road, appropriate signing is used as a minimum guide for traffic safety. When working on the outside shoulder one "Survey Crew" sign is placed on that shoulder, preceding the work by 200 ft. in urban areas and 500 ft. in rural areas. When working in the median, "Survey Crew" signs are used facing both directions. When working outside the outside shoulder line signing is not normally used. The major factors bearing on the protection to be used in each situation are:
- Volume of traffic
- Highway geometrics
- Duration of operation
- Exposure to hazards
- Weather (or road conditions)
Warning signs are placed at appropriate minimum distances. Field conditions will control the actual placement of signs and channelizers. The individual in charge of the survey party has the responsibility to see that the necessary safety precautions are taken. Safety vests are to be worn by all members of the survey party while working on the right of way. Where signs are used they are to be placed prior to beginning work and at locations having adequate approach visibility. Channelizers are to be used as needed. Personnel using stop-slow paddles are positioned as needed to provide the best direction of traffic and safety for working personnel. Personnel must be instructed concerning the importance of staying alert, being courteous to motorists, and the fact that the responsibility for the lives of the party and traveling public are in their hands. The department publication Safety Rules and Regulations gives additional traffic control information. Trucks with top mounted flashers may be used to provide additional protection for personnel by blocking the lane or parking on the shoulder. Two-way radios may be used to handle traffic where two-way operation over a single lane is maintained without visible contact between personnel.
The required degree of accuracy for conventional surveys is shown in the following table. The survey party is responsible for obtaining at least this degree of accuracy, through the proper adjustment and care of instruments and equipment and the method of making measurements.
|Levels||0.05 ft. x Sq. Root Dist.(miles)|
238.2.11 Recording accuracy
Single measurements are recorded to the accuracy shown in the following table.
|SURVEY RECORDING ACCURACY|
|Levels||0.01 ft. Bench Levels, Turns, etc. 0.01 ft. on Concrete 0.1ft. All Others|
238.2.12 Subdivision or lot ties
The survey includes ties between the survey tangent line, and the legal land survey corner monuments that may be recorded subdivision or lot corner monuments. At least two ties are required in each subdivision or lot. The best ties are to the subdivision corner monuments nearest the highway survey line. The ties are measured and recorded in bound notebooks, similar to the requirements for land survey corner monuments. The ties include a complete and definite description of the monument being tied. The project development engineer is advised early in the survey concerning the corner monuments that need to be re-established or witnessed, so that this work can be completed and the information added to the plans prior to submittal of the plans to Right of Way.
238.2.13 Reestablishing corner monuments
The county surveyor or a registered land surveyor may witness or reestablish survey corner monuments. Establishment of reference monuments for corners that MoDOT might destroy will require the submittal of “temporary” corner forms to the Department of Natural Resources. These monuments are considered a reference monument set for the purpose of reestablishment of a permanent monument in the previous corner position when the project is complete. Corners that are in or near roadways or in other unsafe areas like medians will require establishment of permanent reference monuments in a suitable area on the right of way between the ditch slope and the utility easement. Standard monuments for replacing corners are to be used.
238.2.14 Monumenting Right of Way
To reduce the need for multiple staking of the right of way line, permanent markers will normally be set by the design survey party prior to or at the time of condemnation for conventional surveys. Specific types of marker and markings are used for conventional surveys. In location surveys, monuments must be set according to the following guidelines and the Missouri Minimum Standards for Land Surveys.
Permanent monuments are set prior to the recording of the location survey plan if they will not be moved or destroyed by construction activities within six months of their installation. Until the right of way acquisition is completed, semi permanent monuments may be used. If the required permanent monuments will be disturbed by utility adjustment or construction activity, semi permanent monuments can remain until 12 months after the location survey plan is recorded. In any event, permanent monuments must be installed within 12 months after the plan has been recorded.
The monumentation of right of way can only be performed under the supervision of a department project surveyor or consultant land surveyor, and only as part of a survey. Right of way monumentation by unauthorized department personal is not allowed. This not only applies to compliant monumentation, but also to any marking placed along the highway corridor near or on the right of way lines with the intention of representing either the precise or approximate location of right of way.
22.214.171.124 Monuments to be set on Highway Corridors
Highway corridors will be monumented with devices complying with criteria set forth in state statutes. The devices are set at the location of right of way breaks, which represent the “called to” locations of the land description of the highway corridor.
While variation may be necessary due to terrain, the setting of the monument must comply with permanent monument standards. The standard department monument consists of a 5/8 in. steel rod 24 in. long. This rod will have a permanently attached 2 in. diameter aluminum cap. The name of the department, as well as the license number of the project surveyor will be stamped on the cap. Cap installation details are shown on Standard Plan 602.00.
The monument must be accompanied by a witness post offset from the monument itself by 1 ft. along the right of way line. The witness post is a white carsonite post 6 ft. long. A department informational decal is attached to the “highway” side of the post. Post installation details are shown on Standard Plan 602.00.
126.96.36.199 Monuments to be set on Permanent Easements
Permanent easements will be monumented with devices complying with criteria set forth in state statutes. The standard department monument for permanent easements consist of a steel or aluminum rod marker not less than one-half inch (1/2") in diameter and not less than eighteen inches (18") in length and having a plastic or aluminum cap.
188.8.131.52 Monumenting Landowner's Property Lines When Requested
MoDOT project surveyors, when requested by Right of Way and provided with a existing survey of the property owners land, will monument the Land owners new property pins at the intersection of the new MoDOT boundary line and the owners side lines in compliance with applicable rules for surveys administered by the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors defined in 20 CSR 2030 and pertinent laws from Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 60, Chapter 226 and Chapter 327.
238.2.15 Right of Way Description
The right of way description must be written to describe and locate the right of way corridor as a unique parcel of land (for additional information, refer to 236.4 Description Writing and Titles). This description will:
- Be based on the location survey
- Be concise
- Contain title identity
- Contain measured dimensions and highway stationing in ground units
- Contain measurement data that describes the geometric area of the corridor and closes mathematically
- Contains information that does not lend to alternate interpretations and
- Be written to facilitate the relocation of the corridor by a professional land surveyor.
The right of way description will be by referral, making calls to the location survey plan. The description must also contain calls to the right of way monuments and their station values. Written to locate the highway centerline relative to nearby, measured corners of the public survey system, the description will follow the form of a strip conveyance, metes and bounds or a combination of the two.
238.2.16 Location surveys
Location surveys are performed to provide the department a clear and accurate record and marking of the highway corridor right of way lines and breaks. Location surveys include the execution of a survey compliant with the Missouri Minimum Standards for Property Boundary Surveys (20 CSR 2030-16.010 through 20 CSR 2030-16.110) and the development of a Location Survey Plan that serves as the recordable survey plat. Associated to the survey and plan is a land description of the highway right of way containing two basic elements
- Description of the interest being conveyed
- Description of the land itself.
The description will be in the manner of a description by referral, making reference calls to the right of way survey plan, as well as calls to the survey and all right of way monumentation.
238.2.17 Professional Land Surveyor Review
Legal descriptions attached to a recordable document for both the acquisition and conveyance of property rights (negotiated and condemned), which affect the location of the properties boundary lines are required to have a Professional Land Surveyors (PLS) signature and seal.
The PLS assigned to a project will verify that the property descriptions written for acquisition of property rights (negotiated and condemned) and conveyance of property rights, are based on a legal survey tied to the PLS system and meets all requirements of the Engineering Policy Guide. Review may be skipped if project surveyor writes the descriptions.
Prior to any right of way being negotiated, the PLS will review all descriptions if written by others to ensure these descriptions meet the following criteria:
- 1) A Professional Land Surveyor surveyed any description of property ties to the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) used in deeds. This would include the description of the centerline if used to tie the property to the PLSS or direct traverse ties to monuments in the PLSS.
- 2) Descriptions written follow guidance as described in the Engineering Policy Guide.
Once satisfied with the review, the PLS will sign and affix the PLS's seal to the property description attached to the recordable document known as Exhibit A.
In situations where multiple recordable documents are prepared to release all outstanding interest in properties being acquired, it is not necessary to obtain multiple original exhibits. A copy of Exhibit A signed and sealed by a PLS may be attached to the recordable document.
The signature and seal of the PLS on legal descriptions is not required in the following situations because the locations of the boundary lines are not affected:
- When the only property right being acquired or conveyed is access rights.
- When the only property right being acquired is a temporary easement.
- When the entire property is being acquired, and the legal description is being copied from the last deed of record.
- When an access parcel is being conveyed exactly as it was acquired.
238.2.18 Location Survey Plan
Location surveys are planned and performed according to the following procedures as well as in compliance with applicable rules for surveys administered by the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors defined in 20 CSR 2030 and pertinent laws from Missouri Revised Statutes chapters 60, 226 and 327. All survey work will be done in English units. There may be special circumstances where the project surveyor cannot comply with some provisions of the minimum standards. If the survey deviates from these minimum standards, it should be documented, justified and archived by the project surveyor. Minimum standards require that such deviation be shown, described, and justified on the right of way survey plan. Where conditions require the use of procedures not covered in the minimum standards, the Design Division may be consulted to establish criteria and procedures for those conditions.
The essential purpose of the location survey plan is to:
- represent the correct size and shape of the corridor to scale,
- to define by dimension this size and shape,
- to locate the right of way corridor within the United States Public Land Survey System,
- to specify locative points such as physical monuments, planimetric features, accessories, etc.,
- show title identity and
- show data that lends authority to the plan, including date, surveyor’s name, certificate of accuracy and surveyor’s stamp and signature.
The right of way survey plan should be developed on nominal size (22 in. x34 in.) sheets. An example location survey plan sheet is available. The specifications for the location survey plan should conform to all of the following provisions, where applicable:
- The location survey plan should be a drawing made to a convenient scale on the type of material consistent with the purpose and permanency required. The project surveyor will also archive the plan in digital format. The project surveyor will sign and seal the location survey plan. The plan should be the official plat and should take precedence over the digital data.
- The location plan should show the department’s name and the date of certification.
- The plan should bear the signature and seal of the project surveyor in responsible charge. Whenever more than one (1) sheet must be used to accurately portray the survey, each sheet should bear the signature and seal of the project surveyor.
- Lettering on the location survey plan presented to the recorder should be no smaller than eight-hundredths in. (0.08 in.) tall. All characters should be open, well-rounded and of uniform width.
- The direction of boundary lines on the plan should be shown by direct angles between established lines or by azimuths or bearings based upon the Missouri Coordinate System of 1983. The direction reference system should be clearly described on the plat and must be retraceable for future surveys.
- A prominent north arrow should be drawn on every sheet.
- Complete dimensions (distances, directions, and curve data) of the right of way corridor.
- All dimensions should be shown in feet and decimal parts thereof. All plan dimensions or highway stations should be given as horizontal distances at the ground surface. A written scale should be noted on all plans.
- All vertical dimensions should be shown by elevations above an established or assumed datum.
- Measurements and calculated areas will be shown on the plan to a number of significant figures representative of the actual precision of the measurements.
- Curved lines should show at least two (2) elements of the curve and preferably these three (3): radius, central angle and length of arc. When not tangent to the preceding and or succeeding course, the bearing or angle of either the initial tangent, radial line or long chord should be shown. Pertinent information on compound curves should be shown.
- The survey should show sufficient data (distances and directions) to positively locate the right-of-way surveyed within the United States Public Land Survey. If the survey cannot be located by either of the previously mentioned provisions, it must be referenced to other lines and points sufficiently established by record.
- All controlling corners accepted or restored should be shown or noted on the plat.
- All controlling corner physical monuments either found or set should be shown and described on the plan. A note or symbol should show which were found and which were set.
- The class of property should be noted on the plan.
- Any material variation between measured and record dimensions should be noted on the plan.
Surveys, plans and descriptions should be standardized to the greatest extent throughout the department to promote efficiency, uniformity and ease of data analysis. Standardization includes the use of standard sheets, forms, procedures, monuments, archiving and procedures. A checklist for review of survey plats for compliance with Missouri Minimum Standards for property boundary surveys should be completed for every Location Survey Plat made for the department. A sample generic checklist for plat review, provided by the State Land Surveyor’s office, is shown in Form 184.108.40.206 Plat Review Checklist.
220.127.116.11 Project Responsibility
When a location survey is needed, the district design engineer will appoint a project surveyor and assign a survey party and design technicians to the project for execution of the survey and the preparation of plans. The district right of way manager will assign specialists from that division to the survey project for the purpose of research and description writing. The project surveyor will supervise members of the project team. In the case of a right of way survey that is called for as part of a larger highway project, the project surveyor is an active participant on the project development team and works in partnership with the project manager to provide direction. The project surveyor is responsible for and in charge of all phases of the survey, the plan preparation, and description writing. Project phases fall in the general order of:
- title evidence research consisting of the written evidence found in deeds, abstracts, title policies and plats,
- evidence research of county records of surveys, field books, notes, maps, General Land Office (GLO) survey records, county surveyor records, records from the State Land Surveyor’s office,
- inspect the parcels and search for existing monuments,
- take and evaluate testimony evidence, particularly that associated to existing monuments,
- make measurements to existing monuments and public corners,
- perform calculations and analyze the results,
- make conclusions in accordance with the priorities of evidence,
- make measurements to set new monuments based on conclusions,
- prepare survey plans and write descriptions and
- ensure Location Survey Plans are recorded at the county courthouse.
18.104.22.168 Project Chronology
While each survey project is unique and may pose its own particular adjustments to procedures, the following is provided as a general guideline for orderly project conduct and execution.
Collecting and compiling available records containing pertinent information associated to the lands of the survey project area.
- Compile copies of assessor’s maps and aerial photomaps.
- Acquire names and addresses of possible affected parties.
- Acquire deeds and plats for affected properties.
- Acquire title records and abstracts (may include deeds of record, title certification, etc.).
- Compile evidence from recorded surveys.
- Gather highway plans in the affected area.
- Field books from previous surveys in the area.
- Gather right of way deeds.
- Search records for available survey control.
- Attain copies of USGS quad maps for the project area.
- Acquire copies of aerial photography for the area.
- Attain corner certification records.
- Acquire descriptions, plats and notes from original government surveys.
- Attain copies of survey plats and notes that have been made by county surveyors and private surveyors over the time frame from the original surveys to current date.
- Acquire geodetic control data for the project area. Evidence may have to be expanded to include other resources and other data such as unrecorded devices that may be provided from affected parties, private surveys that have been performed in the area, title policies for affected lands, limits of incorporation, etc.
Preliminary Field Survey
The field survey work to inspect the project location and affected parcels. Physical evidence may be recovered as well as initial measurements made.
- Prior to the preliminary field survey, contact letters are to be sent to all possible affected parties.
- During field reconnaissance and contacts with affected parties, witness evidence may be taken and locations of existing monuments and evidence of possession may be recovered.
- Search and recover monuments called for in written conveyances acquired from title research. Locate accessories where monument evidence may not be found.
- Locate cultural features and activities that may serve as evidence of possession.
- Search for and recover public land corners.
- Perform control survey throughout the project area. Establish control stations within the project that will facilitate accurate measurements to recovered evidence and public corners.
- Make measurements and records of recovered evidence and public corners.
Evidence and Survey Analysis
The compilation and analysis of gathered evidence and results of field measurements includes the following:
- Perform mathematical checks of control survey traverses. Check all measurement and observation data.
- Execute appropriate data adjustments. Perform additional measurements if necessary.
- Confirm compliance with the survey tolerances found in minimum standards.
- Perform computations for any necessary public land corner reestablishment.
- Prepare public corner certification documents.
- Execute field survey needed for any public corner reestablishment.
- File the certification documents with the State Land Surveyor.
Final Field Survey
The measuring and placing of the right of way monuments and the development of the location survey plan includes the folowing.
- Check layout computations for point locations of right of way corridor breaks.
- Review prior documents, measurements and check computations. Prepare the location survey plan and record.
- Perform a staking survey prior to acquisition in the area of each parcel. Staking survey should include placing permanent monuments at locations of right of way breaks and permanent easements as well as temporary monuments at the corners of temporary easements.
- Place a witness post at Location Survey monument locations on right of way. It is not necessary to place witness posts on any easement point unless it is at a Location Survey monument.
- Confirm land descriptions are written by referral, with calls to the right of way survey plan, the monuments and the survey.
22.214.171.124 Use of the Project Surveyor’s Seal
Department project surveyors should certify location surveys they perform. Certification of the survey is by their signature and application of seal to the right of way survey plan or department parcel plats. Application of the certification must conform to the rules for use of the seal, with particular attention given to the following rule: "The signing and sealing of plats, surveys, drawings, documents, specifications, estimates, reports and other documents or instruments not prepared by the registered land surveyor or under his/her immediate personal supervision is prohibited." Survey project assignments must be organized in such manner the project surveyor is placed in a position of responsibility and authority of the work to which the surveyor signs and seals. To file or record any map, plat, or survey, requires the personal seal and signature of the professional land surveyor by whom or under whose authority and supervision the map, plat or survey was prepared.
126.96.36.199 Recording the Location Survey Plan
It is the district's responsibility to ensure the location survey plan is recorded prior to the project being finalized in construction. Recording of the survey plan has been added to the Final Plans Checklist. This addition ensures that survey plans are recorded in a timely manner. Once the Location Survey Plan is completed and sealed by the Project Surveyor, it should be delivered to the District Right of Way Manager for filing.
After filing with the county recorders office, notification of the filing book and page as provided by the county recorder should be sent to the project Resident Engineer so that completion of this step can be verified for the final plans checklist.