What a Land Surveyor Wants You to Know
Updated: Dec 13, 2018
G. Scott Carter, Director of Commercial Survey at Clint Elliott Survey, is a Professional Land Surveyor (also known as PLS . . . also called an RLS). These terms don't find themselves in normal, casual conversations. You don't hear an upcoming high school graduate say "I want to be a land surveyor." However, the profession is one of the oldest since human civilization began. So, how and why did Carter, licensed for 13 years now, decide this was the path he would choose for his life?
I asked him a few questions, which I will share with you.
So, first of all, what IS a professional land surveyor? Basically, we are expert measurers, and the only professionals qualified to take a recorded written legal description of real property and determine its location on the ground. We use the techniques, profession and the science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of "points" and the distances and angles between them. These points help us produce land maps, develop and establish roadways, new buildings, and utility locations.
What makes you a "professional"? Land Surveyors must meet the required qualifications set forth by the State and are licensed thru the State of Tennessee. We are governed by a code of ethics set forth by the Tennessee Board of Examiners for Land Surveyors. Professional Land Surveyors also must know and understand boundary law although we do not practice law.
When does a person need a land survey? Probably one of the most common reasons for needing a land surveyor is in the identification and location of property boundaries when buying and selling real estate -a house or land. Other applications where are services are crucial are new construction layout, acquiring topographic information, land planning, commercial developments, bank loan requirements, utilities, as-builts, and high definition laser scans.
I have a small lot. Do I really need a survey? That is really up to the you, your needs and plans. In my opinion, no matter what "size" your property is, real-estate does not come cheap. It makes total sense to have a clear understanding of the limits of what may possibly be the largest or one of the largest investments a person may make.
If you could tell the public one thing about your profession and what you do, what would it be? Despite what you may see while driving down the road, land surveying is a white collar profession. What one really pays for is the surveyor's professional opinion, their knowledge of the law (state and local), and specialized expertise in measuring, locating and identifying real property. Do not trust the work or information of an unlicensed person that offers "land surveying" services.
And, finally, what is the most challenging part of your job? Sitting at my desk in front of a computer! (Carter says as he laughs) For a guy who enjoys the outdoors so much, a day in the office is just not the same. Perhaps tomorrow!