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Tips for a Successful Topographic Survey

If you decide to move forward on your land development project with a Professional Civil Engineer, one of the first steps in the site design process is having a Topographic Survey performed. As your Civil Engineer, DeMarr Engineering will perform this Topographic Survey service for you. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the arrival of our survey crew.

forest topographic survey
forest topographic survey

(Pictures of a DeMarr topographic survey crew working on a forested lot.)

Property Owner Tips on Preparing for Topographic Survey:

  1. Property Cleanup – Mow overgrown grass and pickup yard debris.

Unkempt properties make it difficult for our survey crews to collect accurate data and place survey markings. This will reduce the quality of services you are paying for and can result in repeat site visits costing you more money or it will leave portions of your site unsurveyed. A cleanup of your property will go a long way in allowing our surveyors to measure your land as precisely as possible. This can be as simple as using a lawn mower to cut your grass, or hiring a professional landscaper to remove fallen tree debris and cut thicker overgrowth with a heavy duty brush mower. It is important to note to not get carried away with clearing too much or exposing any bare soil underneath the existing vegetation. You do not want a yard maintenance activity to turn into a land clearing activity at this time. More extensive clearing will be done later in the site development process after permits are obtained. Property cleanup at this phase should be limited to mowing and mulching overgrown grass and brush.

Performing a topographic survey on a property with overgrown vegetation
(Picture of a DeMarr survey crew navigating through overgrown vegetation.)

Overgrown vegetation slows down our surveys and limits the detail of our topographic surveys.

house in need of a property cleanup before topographic survey
(Picture of a house in need of a property cleanup.)

Although this house will be demolished to make room for a new house, it is still recommended to keep the property maintained so that our surveyors do not miss anything that may be covered with debris.

Field mowed and prepped before topographic survey
(Picture of a field mowed prior to placing survey markings.)

As you can see the difference between the overgrown grass to the left and mowed field to the right. The mowed field is much easier for inspectors and contractors to see the septic field stakes our surveyors placed.

2. Search your closing documents for a House Location Survey

If you bought your property recently, there is a good chance a house location survey was performed. Ask your bank, title company, or real estate agent for a copy of any survey documents they have on file. Even if the survey was performed years ago, it will still be helpful for our topographic survey crew in finding existing property corners to align with the survey. Since a topographic survey does not include a formal Boundary Survey, this additional survey may be required if the property corners haven’t been located.

House Location Survey Plat aiding in the location of a property corner pipe.
(Example of a House Location Survey Plat aiding in the location of a property corner pipe.)

3. Notify any property tenants or sellers of land prior to our arrival.

Our survey crew(s) will not only need permission from you to work on your property, but we will also need permission from any existing tenants or sellers of land (if you are under contract with either party).

Notifying neighbors is optional, but may be necessary if our crews need to locate off-site property corners that trace back to your property.

We will email you a calendar invite for when we schedule our survey crew to work on your property. Read more about the first steps in our land development process on our blog.

Completing these tasks above will help ensure you obtain the best quality topographic survey possible.

If you are ready to start on your next Land Development project, please contact us for a quote.

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