Tips and Tricks for Surveying a Plot of Land

If you're planning to build on a piece of land, you may need to start with surveying and potentially leveling the land. To get help with that process, take a look at this list of tips and ideas.

Sketch Before You Shoot

When you're surveying, you spend a fair amount of time measuring the vertical distances between different points and using an elevation shot to measure height based on the height of a known object. To save time, you may want to sketch out what you're doing before you start shooting. That gives you time to determine which existing elements you're going to use, and it helps to reduce the chance of errors.

Use Reflections

If you're surveying in a bushy area, it can be easy to lose track of your crew. Consider using light to keep tabs on each other. With a small mirror, you can catch the sunlight and help people to find you. For times where there isn't enough sunlight for this trick, you may want to invest in a small rear bicycle light. Then, attach this red light to your rod, set it to blinking mode, and hold it high.  

Bring Canned Air

If you dig into the ground and uncover a survey mark, it can be hard to see what it says. To avoid damaging it, use a can of compressed air to clean it off. This can also work if you uncover monuments, headstones or similar items while surveying.

Use a Shop Vac

In some cases, the dirt, debris and even water around a survey mark can be too much for canned air to handle. In these situations, you should use a shop vac. That can remove most of the dirt and water, and since you're only removing natural items, you can empty the shop vac as needed on the ground, throughout this process.

Try a Metal Detector

In some cases, it can be hard to even find survey marks, but a metal detector can help. You may want to use a plastic tent stake to mark your corners. Then, you can use the metal detector to search that area, while the tent pole helps to ensure you still in relatively the right spot.

Hire a Professional

Rather than tackling surveying on your own, you may want to hire a professional surveying survice. They have the tools so you don't have to buy them yourself. They also have the experience you need to ensure that your project goes smoothly.