Sub-Dividing Your Land? What To Know About The Land Survey Process

Posted on: 2 April 2021

When planning to divide a large tract of land for the purpose of creating a residential subdivision, a land survey is one of the first tasks that will be needed. Creating this type of subdivision allows property owners to more easily specialize the usage of a property and work toward improving its overall value.

While subdividing is often used in reference to residential property, it can also refer to land that will be used for commercial, industrial, recreational, or special use purposes. 

Understanding the basic process

Before the use of technology, land surveying was done through a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that required the use of measuring and leveling instruments to gather information. Once the basic information was gathered, land surveyors used complicated geometric calculations to compute the size and dimensions of each property. 

Today, many land surveyors utilize technology to improve the accuracy of their work, including global positioning systems (GPS), digital tools, aerial drones, and computer software. In addition to making the survey process easier, utilization of this advanced technology allows for the use of online databases that serve a wide range of needs, including the establishment of public records and usage by taxing authorities and legal entities. 

Providing an accurate legal description

One of the most important functions of a land survey is the creation of the property's unique legal description. This document details the exact location of the land, along with its dimensions and other descriptive information that is used to prove ownership, secure a mortgage, determine taxation, and offer ownership proof for other important property-related needs. 

Assisting with development

In addition to the creation of a legal description, the land survey process is critically important in assisting with the development of the property. In addition to establishing or confirming legal boundary lines for the property, property owners can also have a more detailed survey created, called a plat. 

Subdivision plats provide a great deal of information that will be necessary during the construction phases of the development and whenever any lots in the subdivision are bought or sold. Important information that can be garnered from a subdivision plat includes: 

  • transportation information, such as street locations, names, and established right of way in the area 
  • planning and zoning information, such as building line setbacks, utility easements, and the location of existing infrastructure or improvements
  • individual lot information, including size, dimensions, and the exact location within the surrounding subdivision

To learn more about the land surveying process, including how the legal description and plat are created, property owners should take time to discuss their project with a reputable land surveying company in their area.